STATE REP RACE: Candidates Debate Proposed Wilmington Detox Facility & Tewksbury Sober Home

WILMINGTON, MA — At last month’s 19th Middlesex State Representative debate, candidates were asked their opinions on the proposed detox facility at 362 Middlesex Avenue, as well as a recently-opened Sober Home by Into Action Recovery in Tewksbury. The location of both — in or abutting residential neighborhoods — have caused controversy.

“First and foremost, I think it’s important to recognize that Into Action Recovery and the proposal at 362 Middlesex Avenue are different parts of the spectrum,” said Dave Robertson (D-Tewksbury). “As patients go through the treatment pipeline, the first step is medical detox, which is probably the most difficult part of the recovery process. It has high opportunity for relapse and folks might be sectioned there against their will, and they might slip. That’s why I, and so many members of that Wilmington community, went to the Planning Board and Zoning Board and spoke up, stressing there’s an opportunity for relapse here and people can willfully check themselves out.”

“Into Action Recovery is completely different. It helps people alleviate a different burden — reintegration back into society,” added Robertson. “These are men and women who are going to go to work. They have bills, they need to make payments, they have responsibilities for their families. [The detox facility and sober home] are two different animals and that’s important to recognize.”

“It’s too bad, because the residents really need a voice in this,” said Patricia Meuse (I-Tewksbury). “When you’re trying to put certain places into neighborhoods, you need to listen to the neighbors. And, unfortunately, a lot of times, that’s not what the towns and Planning Boards do.”

“There needs to be a plan and a place to put these places in Tewksbury and Wilmington where it won’t affect the neighborhoods but will help the people,” added Meuse. “It seems, in Wilmington, there are a lot of places in industrial areas where they could put these houses where none of the residents feel they’re being hurt by it”

“I’ve had residents from both towns reach out to me [on these matters],” said Pina Prinzivalli (R-Tewksbury). “The problem is they don’t feel they’re being involved. If you’re going to have a sober home or recovery facility as your neighbor, you want your questions answered and the residents are feeling they’re not getting their questions answered. They feel out-of-the-loop and nervous about it, and they have the right to be…”

“I believe both towns may have better locations for these types of [facilities],” added Prinzivalli. “I feel the town’s elected officials and government should work together to find the proper locations so everyone is satisfied.”

Watch the debate, courtesy of Wilmington Community Television, below. Fast-foward to 11:39 for the discussion on the detox facility and sober home.

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