Hundreds of Medina residents signed a petition Tuesday in support of a residential drug addiction treatment facility proposed for Medina.
Community Assessment and Treatment Services Inc., a nonprofit in Cleveland, plans to open an inpatient treatment center with 16 beds for men with opiate and heroin addictions next year.
Megan Blough, of Medina, and Chip Jenkins, of Seville, set up a booth outside the Medina County Community Center, 735 Lafayette Road, to collect signatures in support of CATS.
Blough is the aunt of Brittnee Johns, 17, and Marc Johns, 23, two Medina residents who died of heroin overdoses.
“This week my family got the toxicology report back from when Marc died,” Blough said. “The pain, heartache and sadness is never going to go away.”
Jenkins lost his 26-year-old son, Alex, to a heroin overdose Jan. 19. He said Alex had a difficult time finding inpatient treatment.
“I’m going to do everything I can to support helping people with addiction,” he said. “Even though I couldn’t do it in time for Alex, it’s still the right thing to do.”
Blough said she and her sister Darlene Martin, mother to Brittnee and Marc, wanted to start a petition after they found out CATS was planning to move in.
She said that after Medina Mayor Dennis Hanwell and Police Chief Patrick Berarducci voiced concerns about the location of the residential treatment facility last week, she wanted to get a list of names to show that Medina residents are in favor of a treatment facility in the area.
“This is more just to say that people do support it,” Blough said.
Berarducci met with CATS development director Robert Newman three weeks ago to talk about the proposed facility. Berarducci said that while he’s in favor of a treatment center coming to Medina County, he wants to make sure the location is a right fit for the community.
“The folks signing this petition do not make up the entire population of Medina,” he said. “We’re a small town of 28,000. If you want to become the drug treatment mecca for Ohio, that’s up to you.
“I’m hoping we can do this together as a community and find the right location.”
Blough said they collected 345 signatures Tuesday and plan to keep collecting names through Friday.
“The majority of people we have talked to today have been great,” she said.
They hope to present the petition to Medina City Council on Monday, when Newman plans to give a presentation about CATS and the proposed facility to council.
Newman said he thought the petition was a good idea.
“I think it will show city leaders that the residents of the city of Medina are in support of a residential treatment center coming to the area,” he said. “Showing support from the citizens will help ease some of the fears city leaders may have.”
Berarducci, Hanwell, council members and Medina business owners voiced similar concerns in August when Lorain County Alcohol and Drug Abuse Services Inc. was planning to open an outpatient drug treatment facility on Medina’s Public Square.
Their opposition to the facility opening in the city’s historic district prompted Medina County commissioners and LCADA to look elsewhere.
LCADA found a location last month at 740 E. Washington St. in Medina and plans to open by the end of the year.