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Louisville Council To Consider Asking Suburbs To Chip In On Drug Treatment Expansion

Matt Pardue

The  Louisville Metro Council will consider a measure on Thursday to call on suburban governments to chip in support for the planned expansion of a local drug treatment facility, The Healing Place.

"Every single elected official at every level of government has a responsibility to our society, whenever we are faced with any type of epidemic and that's exactly what we have," said council President David Yates, a Democrat from District 25.

Yates is sponsoring the resolution, along with fellow Democrat Marianne Butler of District 15 and Republican Angela Leet of District 7.

The Healing Place provides recovery services for residents struggling with drug and alcohol addiction. Presently, the facility must turn away about 300 people each month due to a lack of space, said Doug Scott, major gift officer for The Healing Place.

To address the lack of space, The Healing Place is looking to raise $24 million to fund an expansion of its downtown campus, Scott said. Once they reach the $8 million mark, certain funding incentives will allow for the expansion project to begin.

The plan would double the Healing Place's capacity.

To date, about $6.5 million has been raised, he said.

Butler is also proposing a measure that would send about $500,000 in projected surplus budget funds to The Healing Place's capital fundraising effort.

Yates said government officials in and around Metro Louisville at times encourage their residents struggling with addiction to seek help at The Healing Place, and should partner with the city in helping fund the needed expansion.

"I believe their constituents will want them to do something to help, they're asking them to help, and this gives them the opportunity," he said.

Yates said suburban officials will be able to "look their constituents in the eye and say we've done everything we can" to address addiction issues if they heed the call for support from the council.

Scott, with The Healing Place, said addiction is a city-wide issue.

"There isn't a family, a business or any civic arm of this community that isn't negatively effected by drug and alcohol addiction," he said. "An investment in the healing place now is an investment in every corner of our community."

He said the fastest growing  population of people admitting themselves in to The Healing Place are from "the South End and East End of Louisville."

Here's a map showing where clients of The Healing Place came from in 2015.

The Healing Place also serves people in surrounding counties and from southern Indiana, Scott said.

In 2015, 21 Shelbyville residents sought service from The Healing Place, as well as 21 people from Shepherdsville, 21 from Jeffersonville, 12 from Clarksville, 14 from New Albany, 10 from Taylorsville, 10 from Crestwood and seven people from LaGrange, according to information provided by The Healing Place.

Council member Angela Leet, Republican District 7, said the issue of addiction is a regional problem that needs to be met "head on" with support from surrounding areas.

Hurstbourne City Manager Jim Leidgen said any decision to pledge financial support to The Healing Place expansion would need approval from that city's council.

"Whatever Metro proposes, we're going to take a hard look at," he said. "It has to be something that's going to be a benefit first to the residents, commercial residents and taxpayers of the city of Hurstbourne."

John McGarvey, city attorney for Anchorage, said that city's council would need to decide whether they'd add to the fundraising effort of The Healing Place.

"I know for a fact that The Healing Place has benefited one or more residents of Anchorage, and I'm sure the city would take a very close look. And as long as they can do something within the bounds of statutory law in Kentucky I'm sure they would consider it," he said.

Officials from Middletown, Jeffersontown, Shively, West Buechel and St. Matthews did not return a request for comment.

Jacob Ryan is the managing editor of the Kentucky Center for Investigative reporting. He's an award-winning investigative reporter who joined LPM in 2014. Email Jacob at jryan@lpm.org.

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