No more excuses: Kaua‘i needs a drug treatment center

Kaua‘i residents and county leaders should approach Tuesday’s meeting on the controversial siting of an adolescent drug treatment center in Lihu‘e with a renewed commitment to collaborate and finalize a decision.

This will be the third public hearing in a series that started in February; the second was in March. We can’t afford to wait four months in between public meetings on this issue. The urgency to provide this long-overdue service to the community is too great.

We support all residents in voicing their concerns over the two proposed sites near Isenberg Tracts and Kaua‘i Gardens. However, we respectfully disagree with the opposition’s argument.

A drug treatment center simply must be sited. The proposed sites are centrally located and appropriate. No matter where the facility is built, it will be in the proximity of someone’s backyard.

We encourage residents to embrace the project and put faith in those running the center to prevent possible dangers from spilling out into the community. The fact remains that drug dealers and users are already in everyone’s neighborhood. Just because they’re not in a labeled facility doesn’t mean they’re not there.

The proposed center would provide an opportunity for some of those troubled souls to turn their lives around. As community members, we all need to support that effort; their rehabilitation benefits us all.

Throwing them in jail drains limited resources that could be put to better uses, like education initiatives and outpatient counseling. We need to give addicts the tools they need to recover and reintegrate into society ready to become productive members.

We hope the county picks up the pace with the discussion and decision-making. Naturally, we recognize the importance of having a dialog with residents on a proposed project of this nature.

But considering the facility would not be operational for at least four or five years from the time the siting is determined, we need to be more expeditious in the process.

The time for taking action was yesterday. No more excuses can be borne from either Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr.’s administration or the NIMBY crowd. Let’s make this a reality now. Kaua‘i needs a youth drug treatment center.

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