City Council plans to regulate drug treatment facilities in Portsmouth

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PORTSMOUTH, Ohio (WSAZ) – It’s an idea that was first introduced by Mayor Sean Dunne in April 2022. The mayor hopes to create a standard of care for addiction treatment centers that operate in the city of Portsmouth. In July, legislation that would establish mandatory care requirements for such facilities first appeared on the city council’s agenda.

“As a city, we have to figure out what we’re going to do for the regulations,” Dunne said.

Dunne’s legislation establishes a registration program with annual fees applied to drug treatment facilities. This registration comes with requirements on how to operate, and the city would enforce those requirements. The mayor believes this could improve success rates and lead people to safe rehabilitation.

Jay Hash is the CEO of Hopesource in Portsmouth. He is not against having a standard of care, but feels the city is overstepping its legislative authority with this legislation.

“We are held to a standard of care by the Ministry of Mental Health and Addiction Services, so we do not object to it. But for the city government to come in and say, well, that’s not enough, it’s not in response to complaints or founded issues,” Hash said.

At a city council meeting in July, Hash responded to the bill with a letter to council members. In the letter, Hash says the legislation is unconstitutional and beyond the city’s legislative authority. If the legislation passes as is, he will consider legal action against the city.

“And that’s the last thing we want to do,” Hash said. “But this legislation is unfair, it’s harmful, it’s unconstitutional, it’s discriminatory, and it duplicates what other people, like the State of Ohio, are here to watch over.”

At that same city council meeting, Dunne and other council members chose to table the bill to explore different language adjustment options.

“I think what we want to balance is, on the one hand, making sure people have the best possible treatment and the best chance of success, but also ensuring the people of Portsmouth that the facilities are regulated,” he said. said Dunne. “If there is an added burden on our police officers, firefighters and first responders, it puts financial stress on our city. It’s something we’re going to balance as we move forward.

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