ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – On Monday, Albany County lawmakers, local business owners, and community agencies gathered to address the reported neighborhood impacts of the alcohol and drug detox rehabilitation center, Camino Nuevo.
Officials say the facility opened in 2015 and immediately affected the surrounding areas. Albany County Legislature Chairman Andrew Joyce says the legislature has compassion and support for those suffering from addiction. But was shocked that needles were found nearby where people walked.
“In and around this neighborhood, in this parking lot, Sherman Avenue on the adjacent street. Over two dozen hypodermic needles are found on streets or bushes,” he said.
Merton Simpson says this is a public health and public safety issue and wants Governor Kathy Hochul’s involvement to help relocate the facility away from the neighborhood, especially considering the patient population.
“The majority of the people treated are not from the area,” Simpson said.
Officials say the facility currently serves more than 500 patients, most from outside the capital district. Simpson says it’s another reason why it should be in a more central location like a business park.
“[We shouldn’t have] these kinds of needles or this kind of danger next to elementary school,” he said. “Sheridan Prep is less than a 1/2 a mile over here.”
Liz Hitt is the Executive Director of the Homeless and Travelers Aid Society for Albany. She says the facility’s current location is not fair for the people who live in the area.
“We have children. We have families. We have schools. We have businesses. We have employees at risk,” Hitt said. “Several businesses had moved out of this block because of this condition.”
Luis Williams is the owner of Celebrities Barbershop on Central Avenue and doesn’t understand why a detox facility is so close to homes.
“My son was dribbling a basketball, and a needle went into it. My son is 13 now; this happened when he was 10,” he said.
Williams also wants the facility to be moved to a less residential location.
“Throw it down there. No disrespect to anybody, but are we trying to uplift the community, or are we shooting the community down,” he said. “It [makes me wonder] again, why would you put this here? [With] the trauma that we already have inside the community.”