Site named for drug treatment center

LIHUE — Kauai County officials say they are no longer considering an area near Isenberg Park as a potential site for an adolescent drug treatment center first envisioned nearly seven years ago by former Mayor Bryan Baptiste.

Instead, now Mayor Bernard Carvalho, Jr. said he and other county officials identified a site along Maalo Road in Kapaia and currently owned by Lihue-based Grove Farm Company as the best site for the facility.

“This has been a very difficult issue and I know many of you are concerned about where this center will be located, but there’s a consensus in this community and throughout this island that we need this type of facility,” Carvalho said at a public meeting Thursday night at the Lihue Neighborhood Center, where he unveiled plans compiled by an 11-member panel.

This facility, which would sit on about two- to five-acres of land, will fit up to 10 beds based upon what the community can tolerate and what the staffing pattern is going to be, said panel member Medical Dr. Gerald McKenna, medical director at Ke Ala Pono McKenna Recovery Center.

“You don’t want to make it too big and you don’t want to make it too small,” McKenna said. “There’s not just going to be 10 adolescents, but it’s going to be 10 adolescents with family involved from day one. Ten is a number that will allow us to have meaningful groups.”

Fellow panel member Kimberly Cummings, a certified substance abuse counselor and program director at Women in Need, said the facility would also serve both boys and girls to ensure all adolescents are given the treatment they need.

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