Dozens protest location of Shrewsbury substance abuse center

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Toni Yates has the latest details.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was met by protests Thursday as he cut the ribbon at a drug rehab facility in Shrewsbury.

Residents say they aren't protesting the existence of the Seabrook House in their town, only that it is too close to a school.

Dozens of parents showed up outside the White Street facility, with the general message of "We understand the need for facilities like this, but why in a residential area along a street where there are children walk to and from school?"

"Not near a school! Not near a school," they chanted.

The demonstrators said they were given no notice of the facility relocating, right around the corner from an elementary school. And there were some tense moments as they clashed with supporters of the Seabrook House.

"If you've been around addicts, working on recovery, who have fallen off the wagon, they are erratic and desperate," one protester said. "And I think that, I don't know what the rate of people, I don't know the specifics of who is attending this facility, and I'm so grateful there is help for them, as I was grateful for my family member. But I am not grateful for the location."

Christie has made drug treatment one of his high-profile causes in a state where studies say heroin addiction is three times the national rate, and he defended the facility at the ribbon cutting.

"I will guarantee you that the same people who are screaming, if they came home tonight and found out that one of their children were addicted to opiates, they would be screaming for the type of treatment that will be provided right here inside the Seabrook House," he said.

Several people who were at the protest said there was never a town meeting called to voice their concerns, and that they actually found out the property was going to be a Seabrook House within the last 24 to 36 hours. They are asking local leaders and the governor for reconsideration. Mayor Don Burden, who said he himself only learned of the location a few days ago, said he will try to address their concerns.

"I support what they're doing here, though the location is questionable," he said.

The new sign has been hung at the location, but protesters are not yet ready to call it a lost cause.
Related Topics:
healthdrug treatmentalcoholdrug addictionNew Jersey
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