Plan for NKY heroin treatment facility folds

Published: Nov. 3, 2014 at 8:52 AM EST|Updated: Nov. 3, 2014 at 2:45 PM EST
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COVINGTON, KENTUCKY (FOX19) - By Kendall Herold

A Northern Kentucky drug treatment facility's latest plan to fight the local heroin epidemic has folded.

Transitions, Inc. was in the process of purchasing the old St. Elizabeth North Hospital building in Covington. The Bellevue treatment facility said the building was the ideal space for a new 200-bed inpatient substance abuse treatment program that would nearly double the amount of the current bed capacity in Northern Kentucky. However, FOX19 NOW learned Monday the plan has fallen through.

Transitions, Inc. Assistant Executive Director Karen Hargett said the Covington building's current owners have decided to go with another buyer.

"We were hopeful that this property would be a fit for our uses (as were the owners)," stated Hargett.

"Due to the uncertainty and delay of funding and zoning it's my understanding the current owners have entered into a contract to purchase with another buyer."

Hargett said they will continue to search for another property to add more bed capacity for their heroin treatment programs.

According to Transitions, Inc. Executive Director Mac McArthur, more bed capacity is pertinent to fighting the heroin epidemic in Northern Kentucky but funding is an issue the non-profit organization has been facing for months. Right now, McArthur says the five-year overall cost to increase bed capacity, add more professional staff, and modernize treatment at Transitions, Inc. comes with a cost of $38 million. That's $3 million more than Transitions' current budget.

Transitions has started a capital campaign to raise the additional funds to continue to successfully fight heroin abuse.

The latest news in the effort to fight the heroin epidemic comes just days after St. Elizabeth Hospitals reportedly saw ten heroin overdoses, leading to two deaths, in just 48 hours. McArthur says on average, Northern Kentucky is seeing an average of three heroin overdose deaths per week.

"Boone, Kenton, and Campbell counties account for nearly 60% of the state's heroin prosecutions," said McArthur in a recent letter to donors.

McArthur stated Transitions is also seeing extremely longer waiting lists for its residential treatment programs.

"Four months at the men's center, five months at the Grateful Life Center, four months at the women's center. Often there is a 2 to 3 weeks wait at our Detox Center," wrote McArthur.

McArthur noted the time it takes to get treatment can be the difference between life and death for an addict.

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