Amherst, NY - We have an update on that controversial plan by Catholic Health to put a substance abuse clinic in the Town of Amherst on Millersport Highway. Town officials have come up with some "suggested" alternate locations after opposition from some neighbors and the town board.
They hope this is a compromise solution to provide treatment for those addicted to opioids.
Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz says: "I think Catholic Health will look at another location if they're provided one that works." He also says there have been 30 overdose deaths involving addicted Amherst residents since the end of 2014.
That assessment from the County Executive comes after he called on Amherst Town officials last week to propose other sites for a substance abuse treatment clinic by June 30th because neighbors on the adjacent North Ivyhurst Road balked at a planned Millersport Highway location.
So the town responded with a map of 62 locations concentrated in five sites. The largest is 36 potential locations in a business park setting apparently near Sweet Home Road in the northwest portion of town. Another area has 20 locations in the Wehrle Drive - Lawrence Bell Drive area in the southeast and it's another existing office/business setting. Then six more sites have been suggested in the southern or western ends of town.
Town Supervisor Dr. Barry Weinstein told 2 on Your Side last week about the potential sites. He said: "It won't be in a residential area. Commercial or an office park."
Neighbors on North Ivyhurst like Lynda Hitchcock say that's what they originally suggested. "There's more suitable locations like a medical complex. Or there's more office buildings that doctors are going into."
Poloncarz says he has toured treatment clinics and "it's basically a glorified doctor's office in many ways."
Catholic Health has so far refused an on camera interview, but did say they are reviewing these new suggested sites and again were willing to look at alternate locations that met their specifications.
Elsewhere, a Southtowns clinic site may eventually be on the table as well. Poloncarz says: "There are people who are addicted in Springville, there are people who are addicted in Sardinia, there are people who are addicted in Hamburg, Orchard Park just like there are in Amherst, Tonawanda, Grand Island, and Buffalo. You need to have treatment facilities available for those folks as close to their homes as you can get them."
When 2 on Your Side asked about any potential locations in the Southtowns, Poloncarz responded: "It's actually being discussed with a partner right now. I don't want to reveal that just yet. But there are...there's interest with regards to that and I wouldn't be surprised if you see that in the near future."
The Erie County Addictions Treatment line to help those struggling with addiction is 716-831-7007.