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Op-Ed: Treatment Center in Campbell County is Needed

I wasn’t surprised when I heard some folks had initial concerns about the Brighton Center Recovery Center for Women locating where the former Campbell Lodge Boys Home previously resided. What has surprised me since, is the unwillingness of some to look at facts and acknowledge this simple truth: The heroin epidemic is impacting everyone in Northern Kentucky.

In the neighborhood adjacent to the proposed recovery center, there have been heroin overdoses.  

In my neighborhood there have been overdoses.  

And here’s a news flash: if you live in Northern Kentucky, there have been overdoses where you live, too, whether you know it or not.

Last month, Governor Matt Bevin said, “Nearly every community in Kentucky experienced a fatal drug overdose last year — if that’s not a wake-up call, I don’t know what is. We don’t have the luxury of pretending there isn’t a massive problem. The consequences of the opioid crisis are far-reaching, affecting every corner of our communities. We must stand united against the opioid scourge and work together to find solutions. Failure is not an option.”

Not only do we need this recovery center, we need a lot more of them.  

Why am I speaking out on this as a leader of a business organization? For several reasons:

Because in an economy that is growing, with a low unemployment rate, finding qualified workers is a struggle. The epidemic we are facing is impacting our workforce. We hear it every day from employers. We need solutions like this one.

Because the health of the workforce impacts our overall economy. It is clear we need to change attitudes toward health policies if we are going to continue to have a growing and thriving economy.  

Because we need to encourage good governance. Good governance starts with an agreement on what the facts are, and should end with leaders making informed decisions.  

The Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce was the first business group to take a public stance regarding the heroin problem and has consistently supported policy efforts to battle the epidemic. We are about finding solutions to problems using data and fact-based considerations.

The concerns raised about recovery centers (crime going up, increased traffic, and decreasing property values) are all contradicted by the facts.

You don’t have to go far to discover the truth for yourself. The Brighton Recovery Center (BRC) in Florence can quickly demonstrate that crime, traffic, and property values are all unaffected, and they’ve been there for years.

But here is the bottom line: since opening the BRC in 2008, Brighton Center has seen 180 women from Campbell County and there is a waiting list of 50 women currently at their Florence location.  

It typically takes 4 to 6 months to get in.  

Campbell County needs this as much as the rest of Northern Kentucky.

We’re encouraging leaders throughout the region to take a long, hard look at the data regarding the heroin epidemic, and engage on policy.

We need more treatment facilities throughout the entire Northern Kentucky region in order to combat this epidemic.

Written by Brent Cooper, interim president of the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce
Photo: Brighton Center president & CEO Tammy Weidinger speaks to Cold Spring residents at Campbell Co. Fiscal Court meeting in May (RCN file)