Monday, January 27, 2020     Volume: 20, Issue: 47
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Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on December 4th, 2019, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 20, Issue 40 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 20, Issue 40

Supervisor Hartmann urges Aegis clinic to seek new location

By William D'Urso

The proposal to locate a methadone treatment center in Vandenberg Village appears to be dead following sharp pressure from residents and local politicians.

Santa Barbara County Third District Supervisor Joan Hartmann, who has hosted meetings to discuss a proposed location for an Aegis Treatment Center, recently urged the company to look for another location. 

“Today, I met with representatives from Aegis, the company that proposed the clinic site in Vandenberg Village,” Hartmann said in a Nov. 27 press release. “In this meeting, as I have before, I raised the myriad of concerns that the community has described about the suitability of this site.”

The company had submitted a conditional use permit application for a location at 3769 Constellation Road, which, Hartmann’s office said, has since been withdrawn.

Hartmann’s chief of staff, Jefferson Litten, told the Sun that Hartmann had been in contact with Aegis during the process and had expressed her concerns. The company had been searching for other options for weeks. 

In the release, Hartmann said methadone clinics are effective resources for those suffering from addiction, but the site under consideration was not the right one.

Aegis is the largest outpatient treatment center in California, according to its website, treating more than 9,200 people for opioid addiction to heroin and painkillers. It has 31 clinics in the state, including one in Santa Maria, where it held an open house in early November to help educate the public on its treatment methods and benefits to the communities in which its clinics are located.

Opioid addiction has swept the nation on a rising tide of opioid prescriptions. In 2017, more than 47,000 people nationwide died from opioid overdose, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. But the number suffering from opioid abuse was much greater, reaching 1.7 million with more than 650,000 heroine users, according to the national institute.

The problem affects Santa Barbara County residents as well. According to a county report, opioid addiction increased between 2010 and 2015 with more than 1,200 adults identified at admission to hospitals and clinics.

Treatment centers, however, remain hotly debated among communities like Vandenberg Village. Litten said residents expressed concerns about the clinic’s being located near a new park and potentially lengthy wait times for people seeking treatment.

“Our office worked really hard for a new children’s playground, which would be right across the street,” Litten said. “The community has made it clear that it doesn’t want a methadone clinic here.”

—William D’Urso




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