Orange County News

Huntington Beach couple says neighboring detox facility is problematic

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

David Rooks and his wife, Laura, were excited about owning their first home in Huntington Beach.

"This was our dream, to buy a house and start a family," he said.

But what the school teacher found in his backyard worries him. In July, he found a pen. Police said it contained trace amounts of heroine.

Another day, Rooks found foil. According to a police report, it appeared to be used to smoke narcotics.

On another occasion, Rooks found a lighter.

"It was disgusting," Rooks said.

Rooks and police said they believe the drug paraphernalia came from a facility behind Rook's house. West Coast Detox and Treatment opened several months ago to help people detoxify before entering a treatment program.

The executive director, Don Ramsey, claims they've intensified searches of clients since the police report about the discarded foil.

"We tested the people who were in the home. They all tested negative," Ramsey said. "I believe it was a one-time incident."

Ramsey said he was not aware of the incident involving the pen with traces of heroin in it.

The Rooks also allege the neighbors are noisy at all hours. They're concerned about a lack of supervision, which was also noted by a police officer who reported seeing residents in the backyard smoking while the supervisor watched TV.

Ramsey said he was not aware of that incident either.

The facility licensed by the state until 2013 stands close to an elementary school.

The Rooks tried turning to city councilmembers for help.

"We do code enforcement, but they're not breaking any laws," Huntington Beach spokesperson Laurie Frymire told Eyewitness News.

City officials said the facility is permitted by the state and is allowed to be in a residential area, as long as they have no more than six patients at a time.

Because no one was caught committing an illegal act, the city and state said there's nothing they can do.

"We're not being protected and it's frustrating," Laura Rooks said.

Ramsey insists he wants to build a good reputation with neighbors. He said he has posted signs on the property letting patients know to keep the noise levels down and be good neighbors.

(Copyright ©2014 KABC-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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