Supervisors to discuss opposition to establishment of addiction clinic

Published 4:00 pm Tuesday, April 17, 2018

The construction of a medicated assisted treatment facility in North Picayune has sparked concern from citizens and county officials. 

Concerns involve the belief that the facility will increase dependency on controlled substances rather than decrease their use.

The center is being constructed at the former location of the Swim Hutch just off of Sycamore Road by Robert Thigpen. Thigpen said he is renovating the building to give the company, known as Crossroads, a place to provide a necessary service during the ongoing opioid crisis.

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Pearl River County Board of Supervisors President and supervisor, Sandy Kane Smith is among those opposing the clinic.

Smith said he is against the idea because he does not see how providing drugs to a person addicted to controlled substances will fix the problem.

Smith also cites an ordinance established by the county in 1999 that states that the Pearl River County Board of Supervisors has the authority to prohibit the purchase, location, operation, maintenance or operation of halfway houses, correctional, rehabilitation, or other remedial businesses, Smith said.

“Good does not have to suffer for the bad,” Smith said. “I’m on the side of the citizens and don’t want it because of all that it brings along with it.”

Thigpen said there is a lot of misinformation about the project circulating within the community.

He said there is an ongoing problem with opioid addiction and the clinic will provide a voluntary service to those seeking help from addiction. The clinic would provide services to those who walk in, pay and seek counseling to overcome addiction. The patient will be required to undergo a series of tests that are observed by a medical professional at all times, Thigpen said. Any medication provided to the patient will be administered in-house, meaning no one will be able to exit the facility with drugs in hand, Thigpen said. Pearl River County Sheriff David Allison said he is also against establishment of the facility because he feels no one would benefit.

“They are trying to sell their idea of helping people with drug addictions in the county by trying to switch them to other drugs, “Allison said.

Last year, an initiative to build a similar clinic within the city limits of Picayune was rejected, Allison said. He said this facility will only lead to more crime and increase the existing drug problem, he said. A public hearing on the matter will take place at the Board of Supervisors meeting on April 18.