Parents want addiction counseling center moved away from schools in North Babylon

Parents are concerned because the property is squeezed between two schools and athletic fields. (6/2/14)

NORTH BABYLON - A drug and alcohol rehabilitation center in North Babylon is stirring controversy because of its location.

The Beacon Family Wellness Center is located in Babylon Town Hall's annex building. Parents in the area say they're worried because the facility is located next to children's ballfields, an elementary school and a middle school.

The center used to treat about 45 people per day, but that number is now up to about 60 people since another treatment center in Amityville is closing. The town says consolidating facilities will save taxpayer dollars.

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Parents say they're concerned about people loitering in the area. However, the town of Babylon says it has been running its substance abuse program at the annex for more than 26 years without incident.

"There have been no police reports filed, there have been no complaints by parents or community members," says Stephanie Sloan, a counselor with Babylon Prevention Services. Sloan says the town's public safety headquarters is just down the hall, so security is high in and around the building, and she adds that most clients only come in for group therapy in the evening.

One patient who spoke with News 12 says he and other therapy participants are not bad people. "I'm a normal guy," says 20-year-old Joseph Cleator. "Everyone makes mistakes. I can't see why they wouldn't want to see us get back on track and do the right thing."

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