Thursday, August 11, 2005

Kauai officials support
new anti-drug facility

LIHUE » Plans for an adolescent treatment facility on Kauai received county officials' support yesterday at a public hearing by the Planning Commission for a special-use permit.

A number of supporters, including Kauai Mayor Bryan Baptiste and county anti-drug coordinator Roy Nishida, spoke before the commission on behalf of the project, which would be Kauai's first inpatient treatment facility since 1992.

"Substance abuse doesn't care who you are or where you live -- it affects people all over Kauai," the mayor said in a statement released after he testified. "We, as a community, need to recognize that and be prepared to be part of the solution."

The treatment center, which would be on the former grounds of the humane society in Hanapepe, has already completed its final environmental assessment, and "the report indicates the facility would have no significant impact on the environment," Nishida said.

The special-use permit, to be voted on in 90 days after the Planning Commission closed the hearing yesterday, would be one of the final approvals for the project prior to construction.

If everything goes as scheduled, the 16-bed, $1.2 million adolescent treatment facility should be completed in early 2007.

Currently, about a dozen Kauai adolescents go off island for inpatient drug treatment each year, according to Nishida. They spend, on average, six months away from their families.

"Some adolescents need family support," Baptiste said. "They need to have that option."

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