Controversy surrounds proposed drug treatment center in Wheaton

A heated meeting took place in Wheaton Tuesday night over a proposed drug treatment center.

Supporters say it's needed to help an increasing number of heroin and opioid addicts. But opponents worry about crime.

Patti and Joel Clousing say heroin is a problem that DuPage County can no longer ignore. 

In 2015, their 19-year-old son Keenan died of a heroin overdose and Patti says the opioid crisis is only getting worse.

"Our son told us you could buy it in the Target parking lot. You could buy heroin in a house on Roosevelt. It's here. It's under the surface,” Patti said.

On Tuesday night, Patti told her son's story during a public hearing at the Wheaton zoning board, which is considering a proposal by Chicago's Haymarket Center to open a 16 bed inpatient rehab clinic in a Wheaton office building.

Haymarket's director says many DuPage County parents have to re-mortgage their homes to send their addicted children to expensive clinics out of state. 

But many of the Wheaton residents packing the hearing say while they agree treatment is needed, it's the wrong location, near a shopping mall, a daycare center and across the street from homes which they say will lose value.

But anti-heroin activist Tim Ryan, himself a recovering addict, told opponents they may regret fighting the clinic.

"For The families that don't want this, I hope to God you never have to pick up the phone and call me,” he said.

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