Gurnee approves opening of substance abuse and mental health facility; ‘There’s a lot of people out there … that have a problem with addiction’

Gurnee approves opening of substance abuse and mental health facility; ‘There’s a lot of people out there … that have a problem with addiction’


After receiving unanimous approval from the Village Board Monday, a new inpatient facility, Lakeharbor Treatment, will move into Gurnee with room for approximately 30 patients.

According to Village Administrator Patrick Muetz, the treatment facility will focus on “substance abuse and mental health.”

Lakeharbor Treatment will be located on a five-acre lot off Greenleaf Street, an area that’s already populated with doctors’ offices. While the facility will have room for up to about 30 patients, the operators expect to only have 75% of the beds occupied by patients at a time, on average.

The treatment facility is also projected to have approximately 65 employees, with no more than 25 working during its busiest shift, including an around-the-clock nursing staff who will administer medication, measure vital signs and assess patients on a daily basis.

The facility is licensed by the state, and patients are given background checks and screened before being admitted, according to Muetz, who added that admission is only on a voluntary basis, and it will be a private facility.

“Patients do not come to it via the criminal justice system,” he said. “Typical patients will be dealing with depression, PTSD and anxiety.”

Once admitted, patients will be at the facility for 28 days, on average, and will receive meals that are provided by a local restaurant.

“There’s a significant need for this inpatient treatment facility, not only in the village of Gurnee but in Lake County generally,” said Hal Francke, an attorney and partner at the Meltzer, Purtill & Steele law firm, which is representing Lakeharbor Treatment.

Gurnee Trustee Greg Garner agreed that there’s a great need for a facility like what Lakeharbor Treatment is proposing, and spoke about his experience working on “both sides” of the opioid crisis, as he has previously worked in the sale of pharmaceuticals and now is employed at a methadone clinic.

“Working both sides, I had a lot of reservations about those types of patients and their behaviors, and I found that I was dead wrong,” he said. “Every day, I work in a methadone clinic, where patients of all types come in. We have zero problems. Most residents have no idea that it’s there.”

Garner also said that it’s important to address the opioid crisis throughout the country.

“There’s a lot of people out there, more than you think, of all stripes, that have a problem with addiction,” he said. “This facility is going to help someone who wants to be helped.”

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