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Hernando planning board approves drug treatment clinic

BROOKSVILLE — A new treatment center for people trying to kick their drug habit could soon open in Hernando County, despite objections from neighbors.

The Hernando County Planning and Zoning Commission on Monday approved a special exception use permit to allow Operation PAR Inc. to open in a former day care center on Kass Circle north of Spring Hill Drive.

Dozens of nearby homeowners and renters signed petitions seeking to block the clinic.

"I'm very much concerned about this drug outpatient clinic going in,'' said nearby resident Lucille Marano. She said she worried about the impact on disabled, elderly and young children living in the area.

Other residents warned that drug activity has increased in the area and that, for those in recovery, such temptation could be a problem.

But Buddy Selph, representing Operation PAR, explained the clients of the clinic are off drugs now and would not pose a safety threat to the neighborhood.

He talked about the need for the program in the area with Hernando County's high rate of drug overdoses and few treatment options nearby.

Gary Wenner, a 35-year Operation PAR employee, said the organization's Port Richey office is treating about 45 people from the Spring Hill area, proof he said that the program is needed in Hernando County. He said patients would come to the office early in the day and would receive methadone or another medical treatment.

No other portions of the Operation PAR program, including overnight stays or detoxification procedures, were planned for the Spring Hill site.

Special exceptions are approved or denied by the planning commission and are final unless the County Commission chooses to hear a case.

Barbara Behrendt can be reached at behrendt@sptimes.com or (352) 848-1434.

Hernando planning board approves drug treatment clinic 07/11/11 [Last modified: Monday, July 11, 2011 10:56pm]
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