PORTSMOUTH – Portsmouth City Council has decided to move forward with its standard of care legislation concerning addiction treatment facilities within city limits.
“It is the Wild West in terms of treatment facilities,” said Mayor and 1st Ward Councilman Sean Dunne during Monday evening’s council meeting. “Good facilities are being lumped in with bad facilities. When someone goes into one of these facilities, we really don’t know the rules they are following. According to complaints from our constituents, some are not following the rules at all.”
Until 2012, the local Alcohol, Drug Addiction, and Mental Health Services Board (ADAMHS) regulated addiction treatment facilities in the City of Portsmouth. According to Mayor Dunne, that’s when things became problematic.
“When that decision was made, and power to regulate moved away from ADAMHS to the state, we had a lack of oversight in treatment facilities,” said Dunne. “It’s been extremely problematic for those individuals in those facilities and problematic for neighborhoods with residential units. It’s been a lack of oversight directly because of a lack of mandatory standards.”
Dunne has been in contact with the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Treatment Services (OHMAS) about their new standards of care.
“One thing we want to avoid is the requirement to get double certified on a city and state level…If a facility is certified in Portsmouth, we want them to also be certified with OHMAS,” Dunne said.
Within the legislation is a registration fee for all addiction treatment facilities. Inpatients would pay 1% of their gross annual income to the city, while outpatients would pay 2% for registration. The fees would help the city deal with what council deems is strained emergency services and code enforcement due to the influx of those seeking, graduating, or leaving treatment.
“This acknowledges the amount of cost the city experiences,” said Dunne. “From police, fire, to code enforcement…there is a strain on our departments. We really don’t know the number of facilities or the proportion of individuals treated from Scioto County, or even the surrounding region, as compared to other areas throughout Ohio. Portsmouth has been asked to take on quite a lot and our departments have told us this.”
Council voted 6-0 to bring the legislation forward to a first reading. Dunne said he is open to more comments from treatment facilities during the next six weeks as the ordinance moves forward.