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An apology to Joan Buto

By Carmen Benitez
July 16, 2014

[Editor’s note: The following opinion, an apology to Joan Buto and family, refers to the Tusten Town Board meeting of July 9.]

The efforts to bring highly needed services to Sullivan County were not well received by a group of concerned citizens who claim to have the best interests of Narrowsburg as their agenda.

The purchase of the hamlet’s vacant school was recently awarded to the Buto family, who plan to open an alcohol and substance abuse rehabilitation center similar to the program they operate in Florida. But efforts to inform the citizens of their plan were interrupted by individuals shouting, “We know what a rehab is!”

As a health care professional, I heard many comments that led me to believe there was no real understanding of the function of a rehab by audience members. A spokeswoman presented a list of questions composed by concerned citizens of Tusten. Some of these questions were intrusive, and I would challenge any of these concerned citizens to publicly answer some of them. They also implied that the Butos could have explored other options regarding the location of the proposed facility. The Butos run a business family and have the experience and knowledge to choose what location they feel best suits their facility.

It seems like time was spent by these concerned citizens exploring the Buto’s Florida businesses would have been better spent exploring Sullivan County’s need for substance abuse programs. According to the latest study, Sullivan County had the second-worst heroin addiction rate per capita in New York State (NYS).

OASIS, the NYS licensing institution, will oversee the operation and compliance of this facility. Each state has different criteria and standards, so the Butos will need to adjust their operation of this facility to comply with NYS law. A combination of professional and support staff and paraprofessionals are needed to run a rehab. If local people want to apply for these positions, they will need to obtain the necessary certifications and training. The possibility of a local facility that may be offering local people professional careers brings me great hope and optimism that families may once again settle here, helping to keep our community alive. And credentials for positions like these are something you can take with you anywhere you go.