Oxford House Hits NIMBY Wall Amidst New Jersey’s Wealthiest

Addiction Treatment Industry Newswire
01/16/2014 -ATIN – 
Virulent addictions NIMBYism has engulfed one of New Jersey’s most exclusive residential communities in recent months. This time, though, in a unusual twist to the typical NIMBY narrative in wealthy communities – which almost always involves sober living entrepreneurs attempting to set up high end for-profit transitional living operations – it is the highly affordable non-profit Oxford House that is hitting the NIMBY wall in a moneyed neighborhood. And adding to the problems faced by the local Oxford House, highly tragic recent heroin overdoses have occurred at the house which, frankly, just mirror an increasingly downright shocking opiate addiction problem that is rapidly engulfing all of the Northeast, and especially New Jersey, smashing through all demographic and economic class barriers. It is becoming frighteningly apparent to government officials from governors on down that War on Drugs policy failures that focused on police dragnets and massive prison expansions have done little except to empty poor, mostly minority neighborhoods of an entire generation of young men while woefully underfunding the addiction health care infrastructure, exactly the infrastructure that is now needed to face what is increasingly seen as a national addictions epidemic.

Oxford House NJ Mansions

But despite the tough opposition over the last few months to a house in super exclusive Rumson, NJ, Oxford House seems undaunted and continues to expand, and continues to open houses that are in the highest end, toniest neighborhoods locally and indeed in entire state of New Jersey. Just very recently, Oxford House has opened a brand new house – a mansion, really – in nearby Middletown, NJ, right down the street from the over-the-top residences of rock star Bon Jovi and actress Heather Locklear, say local reports. The new Oxford House mansion is owned by Frank Stavola, according to tax records the reports say. The Stavola family, whose money is from road construction, asphalt, quarries and real estate, is among New Jersey’s very wealthiest and most influential families. The family owns many properties in the Middletown area of Monmouth County, NJ.

Bad Heroin Batch, Four Deaths

As counties throughout New Jersey have reported skyrocketing rates of opiate overdose in the wake of a flood of inexpensive and potent heroin, with the previously suburban-favored pills doubling and more in price amidst a prescription opiate crackdown, in the last several days press reports have surfaced of an alarming four deaths back-to-back from an apparent massively potent or toxic batch of a particular “brand” of heroin called “Bud Light” It seems that as drug distribution has gotten increasingly sophisticated and competitive, in another alarming and obvious police enforcement failure, dealers may have become businessmen that “brand” their bags of drugs, stamping them with different symbols designed to differentiate product in much the same way that legal products attempt brand differentiation.

Rumson, NJ

In the last several months the Rumson Oxford House, opened within the last year or so, has been the subject of enormous local controversy and attention being as it is in arguably the state of New Jersey’s toniest borough. Situated about an hour south of Manhattan right off the Jersey shore near the town of Red Bank, Rumson is the home of rock star Bruce Springsteen as well as some of the oldest and biggest money in the state of New Jersey. Much of the town had been unaware that an Oxford House had even been located in their midst until a huge high profile death from overdose occurred in mid-October in a highly tragic case. The young man who died was very well known locally and was just 23 yrs-old.

Eruption of NIMBYism

After the overdose, the town erupted in a huge spate of NIMBYism with the usual packed meetings and nasty prejudice that typically surrounds town meetings involving addiction treatment or sober living expansion or new builds.  Oxford House – in a highly unusual move since they are not, and never have in nearly half a century of operation growing to hundreds of houses nationwide, operated with house managers or supervisors – agreed to install a “proctor” to oversee the operations and residents in Rumson. Instead Oxford Houses are run by meetings of residents in a unique democratic system. It is not at all clear, though, whether or not the Oxford House has complied with its agreement to install a “proctor” house manager/supervisor.

Failed Injunction

And then in an additional twist to this fast breaking story, on Dec 17 EMT’s were called to the Rumson Oxford House in another overdose. The town of Rumson has since filed an injunction to have the Oxford House vacated, a legal move which has apparently been denied by the courts, according to local reports. And now local press reports say that the Rumson house appears to be vacant, but that has been denied by Oxford House, which says the Rumson Oxford House continues to operate as usual and that no interruption in occupancy has occurred, according to local reports.


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