“understand more – fear less” – part 1


An non-agenda item at last Monday’s council meeting captured a good bit of time and citizen input. On April 22, Columbia news, views & reviews posted this item:

And on April 23 according to the photo posted at Columbia Spy‘s article about one part of the Monday night meeting (Columbia to get recovery house. Who knew? Just a few!), the zoning permit was issued.

In a pattern and practice of cloaked, secretive “Jeff-ed up” codes applications, the borough council leaders evidently were unaware of the intent of the new property owner at 747-749 Walnut Street.

SOURCE: Columbia Spy, used with permission.

So, too, were the citizens who came to the meeting ostensibly seeking information, though a message of “NIMBY-ism” was underlying in nearly every citizen comment.

There’s quite a bit of misinformation about addiction and transition housing for persons in recovery.

Here is information from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the federal agency that’s “mission is to advance science on the causes and consequences of drug use and addiction and to apply that knowledge to improve individual and public health.  This involves:

  • Strategically supporting and conducting basic and clinical research on drug use (including nicotine), its consequences, and the underlying neurobiological, behavioral, and social mechanisms involved.
  • Ensuring the effective translation, implementation, and dissemination of scientific research findings to improve the prevention and treatment of substance use disorders and enhance public awareness of addiction as a brain disorder.”

According to the owner of Blueprints for Recovery, Inc. and 747-749 Walnut Street, the property will be a transitional living facility or a Recovery residence (RR) “which is a broad term describing a sober, safe, and healthy living environment that promotes recovery from alcohol and other drug use and associated problems. Many thousands exist in the United States that vary in size, organization, and target population. (The exact number of recovery residences is unknown since many RRs are not regulated by government or independent organizations.) At a minimum, RRs offer peer-to-peer recovery support with some providing professionally delivered clinical services all aimed at promoting abstinence based, long-term recovery.

“Recovery residences are sober living environments, meaning that residents are
expected to abstain from alcohol and illegal drug use. Each credentialed recovery
residence publishes policies on relapse sanctions and readmission criteria and other rules governing group living. Recovery residences may require abstinence from particular types of medications according to individual policy. ” – SOURCE: A Primer on Recovery Residences: FAQs from the National Association of Recovery Residences

A “recovery residence” is different from a “treatment center.”

According to its Website, Blueprints for Addiction Recovery is fully licensed and nationally accredited, and “offers innovative treatment programs for individuals, families and communities affected by addiction. Our facilities are strategically located in the heart of south-central Pennsylvania, one of the largest addiction recovery communities in the northeast. offers innovative treatment programs for individuals, families and communities affected by addiction. Our facilities are strategically located in the heart of south-central Pennsylvania, one of the largest addiction recovery communities in the northeast.”

The Columbia properties Blueprints for Addiction Recovery currently operates on Cherry Street and is re-modeling on Walnut Street are not treatment centers; rather they are recovery residences.

There are dozens recovery residences across Lancaster County and more than a few are operated by organizations who operate both treatment centers and recovery residences.

Locally, The Gatehouse in Mountville is an example.

“Recovery homes are increasingly viewed as a viable and cost-effective alternative to established recovery-oriented systems of care. These homes are a good alternative because they provide safe and healthy environments that support residents in their recovery. These communities empower people by providing support as they transition towards living independent and productive lives in their respective communities. Recovery homes offer a unique alternative to harm reduction—a component of the Housing First model—for individuals whose main goal is to find a sober living environment.” – SOURCE: SAMSHA – Substance Abuse and Mental Health Adminstration

And here’s an FYI – Here’s a FREE opportunity to learn more about the “Opioid Threat in the Community.”

opioid threat training


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