An addiction rehabilitation program coming to Aiken County; causing an uproar in Graniteville


GRANITEVILLE, S.C. (WJBF)– An addiction recovery home is in the works, but some in the community are not so sure it is a good idea.

Aiken County Council Member Phil Napier called for an unofficial, special meeting Monday night to talk about the home.

By March 2018, this home will house 12 to 15 men seeking help from addiction. Three weeks ago, Gary Farina, the Executive Director for Recovery Road Ministry, closed on the house to operate Aiken County’s only non-profit rehabilitation program.

“The people who apply are going to be vetted,” Farina said. “We want people who want a life change– not just people who want to get off the street, do a little bit of rehab, then get out.”

Council Member Phil NaPier told me Graniteville isn’t the place, though.

“There is a drug problem in Graniteville. With close proximity, you can go get drugs in a minute,” Council Member Napier explained. “We don’t think bringing them here, basically putting them close to the pharmacy, is the correct thing to do.”

Farina told me he understands the community’s concerns, but he believes the ministry will help people: “They think it is like a halfway house where people come and go as they please, but it’s not a halfway house,” Farina said. “It is going to be a ten month in-house program: structured and strict. They are not going to be able to leave and go anywhere they want.”

I talked with a Graniteville homeowner who was at Monday night’s special-called meeting: “They really didn’t give the man a chance, right off the bat when he came out, to talk about the idea, what they are going to do. He took a lot of heat from everybody,” Lee Johnson, who lives in Graniteville, told me. “I think they should let him explain a little more about it, and give the man a chance. I think it’s a good idea, but I don’t think everybody was prepared for all of that.”

I knocked on every door within a block of the proposed recovery home. Although neighbors would not go on camera, two said they are concerned with the idea because they are raising children close by.

“We are God-loving. We are people loving, and we want to help anyone,” Council Member Napier said. “We are firm believers that that everyone is God’s children, and they should be helped. But just because they have an opinion , and God speaks to them, doesn’t make it right for them to decide: “Well, that’s what God wants for the neighbors.”

He said drug enforcement is the answer to the area’s drug problem.

Farina told me Recovery Road Ministry has raised more than $80 thousand this year– 75% coming from the people of Graniteville,

Count on us to keep you updated.

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