DuPage panel supports proposed drug treatment facility; will Itasca leaders?

A DuPage panel working to combat the opioid epidemic is supporting Haymarket Center's proposal to open a behavioral health clinic in the county.

But the endorsement from the DuPage County Heroin/Opioid Prevention and Education Taskforce is no guarantee the project will be approved by Itasca in the coming months.

"The potential opening of a rehabilitation facility in Itasca has people on both sides of this issue deeply engaged," Mayor Jeff Pruyn said in a letter to the task force.

Haymarket Center - a Chicago-based nonprofit group that provides treatment for substance use disorders and mental health conditions - wants to buy a hotel on the west side of I-290 and Irving Park Road and convert it into a roughly 200-bed facility. No tax dollars would be involved.

The proposed Haymarket DuPage would provide a full continuum of substance abuse and mental health treatment, as well as primary care, for those 18 and older.

Pruyn says the proposed facility would be "another tool for health officials and private institutions to use, in order to possibly prevent another family from experiencing a horrific loss."

At the same time, he said, Itasca officials must be concerned about what impact the facility would have on the village.

"From the potential increase in the utilization of our village resources and the unknown change in our tax revenue, there are concerns that need to be explored," he wrote.

For example, he said, officials are trying to determine how the proposal would affect police, fire and emergency medical services. They also want to know if there would be increased traffic.

Another factor being considered is the economic impact to Itasca. Pruyn says the hotel currently generates around $250,000 in tax revenue.

"It's too early to take a position on either side of the proposal because we don't have all the facts," Pruyn said Tuesday.

Nevertheless, the task force this week announced its support for the proposed behavioral health facility.

"As we continue to battle the opioid crisis, we have determined that treatment for substance use disorder is an access-to-care issue, particularly for our underserved residents," said Dr. Lanny Wilson, co-chairman of the task force. "The proposed Haymarket Center will provide a full continuum of care for those with substance use disorder."

Officials say the suburbs are in the midst of a public health crisis. In 2018, there were 98 confirmed deaths in DuPage from heroin, fentanyl and other opioids.

"We are grateful for the support of the HOPE Taskforce and DuPage County officials who recognize that access to care is essential to stem the tide of this epidemic," Haymarket President and CEO Dan Lustig said in a statement. "No community has been left untouched and our health care facility will be a beacon of hope for so many."

He said Haymarket has served more than 2,000 people from the collar counties in the past two years.

"We want to bring treatment closer to where our patients live," Lustig said, "so their families can be nearby and the post-treatment transition is easier."

Haymarket submitted its zoning application during the first week of July. Pruyn said the group still needs to submit a landscape plan and an economic impact statement. If that happens by the end of next week, the plan commission can host a public hearing on Sept. 18.

As part of its plan, Haymarket would spend roughly $1.5 million to remodel the interior of the building at 860 W. Irving Park Road. The facility would provide inpatient and outpatient care and have beds for treatment and recovery.

Jeff Pruyn
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