Sovereign Health announced today via press release that it will be launching an editorial series, “Not in my Backyard,” or “NIMBY.” NIMBY is the acronym of the phrase that is currently applied to the protest movement driven by residents of towns and cities across the United States.
Within the SUD treatment and housing context, such individuals are opposed to having sober living residences and mental health and addiction treatment facilities located in their communities.
The NIMBY series is proposed to provide analysis of the range of community concerns, state regulations, and state and federal laws that need to be taken into account by anyone looking to have an accurate and fair-minded understanding of the current NIMBY movement. The vast majority of press coverage to date has only focused on the fears of local residents and has failed to address the complexities of state regulations, state and federal laws governing behavioral health treatment providers and advocates who are fighting to provide treatment for people with physical and mental disabilities.
The first article in Sovereign Health’s NIMBY series, “Communities resist mental health and alcohol and drug treatment facilities,” is set to provide an analysis of the substance abuse and crime problems that currently exist in San Clemente, CA, and the concerns of residents. As noted in the piece, NIMBY resistance is fueled by residents’ unjustified fears and stereotypes that allowing these types of businesses to operate in their communities will reduce property values and bring in more drugs and crime to their neighborhoods.
Using publicly available law enforcement agency statistics, the series documents, that in fact, residents’ fears are almost completely unjustified. For the time period of 2009 to 2014, the vast majority of crime rates have actually gone down in San Clemente. This is common across the entire country.
Thomas Renfree, the Deputy Director of Substance Use Disorder Services at County Behavioral Health Directors Association California (CBHDA), stated in an interview with Sovereign Health, “It baffles me why communities think that it would be better to have people running around with untreated substance abuse rather than people who are actually in treatment programs. The community would seem like it would have a lot more to fear from untreated substance abuse rather than programs that are getting people into treatment.”
“One of the problems is that treatment programs get blamed as part of the problem, instead of credited as part of the solution,” Richard Pruss, the president of Samaritan Village, a residential drug treatment program, told The New York Times. “Drug abuse has far more of an effect on a neighborhood than a drug-treatment center.” In fact, studies have shown that individuals with SUDs who receive treatment are actually less likely to commit crimes. While the link between substance abuse and crime is clear, facilities that provide treatment to individuals with SUDs help to reduce the substantial impact of substance abuse and crime on communities.