I’ve read with concern the recent reader letters expressing outrage over the “proliferation” of drug and alcohol recovery treatment facilities in Laguna Beach.
Regarding Pillars Recovery in the Top of the World neighborhood, it was noted by the Indy that no police calls involving drug overdose or violence have been made, and police Detective Ashton further confirmed that “Top of the World is actually one of the safest areas in the city.”
Additionally, Deputy City Attorney Ajit Thind confirmed that, regarding enforcing city citations for nuisance-like activities, “we haven’t gotten to this point with any facility.”
Yet despite these truths, hand wringing and fear-mongering run amok.
Asking Pillars Recovery Director Lisa Friedman if she “would accept a sex offender” as a resident simply reveals the ignorance and absurd bias of her questioner. Why not also ask her if she would rent to a murderer?
This is also evocative of a similar hysteria a few years back regarding the El Morro campground renovation next to the elementary school. Concerned parents were convinced then that child molesters would descend on the school grounds. That hasn’t happened.
It is widely accepted that approximately 10 percent of American adults suffer from the disease of substance addiction. A random drive past the Canyon Club in Laguna Canyon routinely shows overflow parking for those, including many local residents, seeking support and recovery from alcoholism and addiction.
Yet these very same people who would seek a safe living environment in Laguna Beach are now to be met with our hostility and suspicion?
People in recovery are much safer and more responsible for their behavior than the many more individuals out there who are not seeking recovery and instead are driving intoxicated on our streets or committing property crimes to support their habits.
Many of these “untreated” addicts are also your neighbors, children, coworkers and friends.
Not surprisingly, it is also our friends, coworkers and children that will seek support and recovery in these local treatment houses.
The bias of some Indy readers reminds me, unfortunately, of those prejudiced individuals who at one time sought to restrict property access to minorities or gays, fearing for their property values or for the “safety” of their children.
None of those fears were proven valid and most of us now look back on those real examples of discrimination with a sense of shame and incredulity.
Let those shameful histories not be repeated now.
Steve Reid, Laguna Beach
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