Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Multiple Chance Drug House

"Beware of snake-oil salesmen peddling miracle cures."

In a flyer distributed for the 20th anniversary of the Marsh House, Counseling Center, Inc.'s,  founder Ed Hughes wondered what the late Jim Marsh, after whom the halfway house is named,  would have said about the 20-year-anniversary and celebration. "I think he [Jim Marsh] would find it just perfect," Hughes wrote. Just perfect? The sign in front of the facility advertises "miracles." From what I have learned about Ed Hughes, I would say Counseling Center, Inc., and its Compass Point affiliate, rather than being perfect, are perfectly awful. As Mark Twain might have said, "Beware  of snake-oil salesmen peddling miracle cures." I believe the Counseling Center, Inc./Compass Point  is a curse and is one of the reasons Portsmouth has a reputation, backed up by statistics, of being among the most drug-ridden cities in Ohio. Counseling  Center, Inc., is a business, not a humanitarian operation, and the more addiction there is in Portsmouth the more prosperous Hughes' business becomes. Counseling Center, Inc., has attracted drug addicts from other  Ohio counties and from other states as well for a decade because Hughes knows how to get the government and the tax-payers  to pay for housing and feeding and transporting his "clients," as he calls his drug-addicted customers.

Business is so good that Counseling Center, Inc./Compass Point Housing keeps on expanding  in Portsmouth and beyond, buying residential houses and converting them into half-way houses, which lowers property values in the neighborhood because people don't want to live near these so-called half-way houses where, their critics claim, based on their personal observation, that at least some of the addicts continue to obtain drugs because of lax supervision. This is particularly the case, according to  Shawnee Sentinel reporter Wally Leedom,  at the Counseling Center's facility that claims to have the highest level of security, what he calls the Second Chance Drug House, which occupies the former juvenile detention center in Boneyfiddle, for which Hughes pays no rent to the county, according to Austin Leedom, Wally's father.   I am reprinting a succinct interview with a woman Wally Leedom posted last summer because it suggests that the Counseling Center's Second Chance facility is much less than perfect, in spite of the claim "We believe in miracles,"  and might more accurately be called the Multiple Chance Drug House.