NHC Commissioners Select The Healing Place To Run Its Drug Treatment Facility

Aug 24, 2020


  At Monday's August 24th meeting, the County Commissioners approved a mask mandate for all county buildings and voted to purchase equipment for the County’s drug-testing lab. But as WHQR’s reports, the main order of business was the selection of The Healing Place as the operator for the County’s addiction treatment center.     

Early in 2019, the County applied for and received a special use permit for a 100-bed drug treatment facility for men, and later that summer, 100-beds were added for women. It was anticipated at that time that Coastal Horizons would operate the facility.

Commissioner Woody White believes their presence in the discussions helped convince the city to grant the permit.

“I think if Coastal Horizons have not of been there, it may not have passed.”  

Since then, Trillium, the regional agency that manages health, has changed their mind. They have designated The Healing Place of Louisville, Kentucky as the facility operator.

Commissioner Jonathan Barfield doesn’t approve. 

“To me, it seems like a bait and switch with Trillium. And to me, it smacks the credibility of New Hanover County government.” 

So why the change from Coastal Horizons to The Healing Place?  Commissioner White says it’s a matter of philosophy.

“It was the divergence between the efficacy of an abstinence-based program and a medically assisted based program.” 

While local non-profit Coastal Horizons offers medically assisted treatment, The Healing Place of Louisville does not condone these therapies like methadone.  

Ultimately, while the other Commissioners sympathized with Barfield, they voted 4-1 over his objection to move forward.

Chair Julia Olson-Boseman: ”Our citizens should have the option of whatever treatment they want. And we just need to get it open as quickly as possible.”    

The facility plans to break ground this fall and hopes open about a year later. 

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To view the County’s background on this issue, visit Monday’s agenda. The summary is on page 38. 

Here is the County’s message about the decision: 

“Commissioners discussed The Healing Place, a planned 200-bed residential, peer-led substance abuse treatment facility.

In a 4-1 vote, Commissioners directed county staff to execute a contract between the county and Trillium Health Resources, which will move this much-needed facility forward with The Healing Place Louisville as the operator. The groundbreaking could take place as soon as the end of this year & help fill a need in our community for abstinence-based recovery support.”