SHREWSBURY: SEABROOK ZONE ISSUE CITED

The opening of the Seabrook House facility drew protesters last Thursday. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Shrewsbury officials have notified representatives of a new addiction-counseling center that a key aspect of the operation appears to conflict with local zoning law, redbankgreen has learned.

Five days after Governor Chris Christie got into a shouting match with protesters at the opening of the Seabrook House outpatient facility on White Street, borough Attorney Martin Barger confirmed the nonprofit has been told by letter that its plan for group counseling sessions is not permitted in the zone.

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RED BANK: DRUG OVERDOSE CASES SOARING

A “heat map” showing the concentration of drug-overdose deaths in Monmouth County last year. (Map by Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

One-hundred-sixty-five people died of drug overdoses in Monmouth County last year, almost double the number just four years ago, the prosecutor’s office reported Tuesday.

Despite the widespread, often successful use of a fast-acting opiate antidote, the number of overdose victims continued to soar last year, rising 35 percent, the agency reported.

Red Bank police Chief Darren McConnell said the number of overdose cases in the borough over the last two years is “ridiculously higher” than he’d seen in the first three decades in law enforcement.

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RUMSON: OXFORD WAS TO GO FEMALE

61 so ward rumson 101413The house at 61 South Ward Avenue has been occupied by Oxford House since August. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Officials overseeing Rumson’s Oxford House were planning to turn the four-month-old addiction recovery facility for men into one serving addicted women and their children by the end of the year, redbankgreen has learned.

What will become of that plan is unclear, however, in the aftermath of a purported second drug overdose at the house in nine weeks and the filing of a borough lawsuit that slams Oxford House as a failure on its own terms and a danger to the neighborhood.

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RUMSON: APPARENT OD SPARKS LEGAL ACTION

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_02Rumson officials have launched an effort to evict the residents of an addiction-recovery house following what Mayor John Ekdahl called an apparent drug overdose there early Tuesday morning.

Ekdahl said the town filed suit in Superior Court in Freehold Tuesday afternoon asking for an order that Oxford House residents, at 61 South Ward Avenue, clear out immediately, and that Oxford be barred from using it as a home for drug addicts and alcoholics.

The action follows the overdose death of an Oxford House resident on October 13 and a medical emergency involving another resident shortly before dawn on Tuesday.

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RUMSON: EMERGENCY REPORTED AT OXFORD

oxford house 121713Oxford House on South Ward Avenue at about 6:30 a.m. Tuesday. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

A medical emergency at Oxford House, the controversial addiction recovery residence that opened in Rumson without public notice in August, had neighbors buzzing about a possible second overdose there Tuesday.

Police Chief Scot Patterson tells redbankgreen that paramedics were called to the house on South Ward Avenue sometime after 5:30 a.m. on a report of an unresponsive person inside. Paterson said he did not know the nature of the emergency.

“All I know is that when the person left, he was alive and being treated by paramedics,” Paterson said.

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RUMSON: OXFORD HOUSE REACHES OUT

61 so ward rumson 101413“Not the best mix” of residents formed the initial population at the Oxford House when it opened in Rumson in August, a facility official told neighbors Tuesday night. One of the residents died of a drug overdose. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_02The addiction-recovery residence that popped up unannounced in a quiet Rumson neighborhood this summer “did not get off to a good start,” an official with the organization that sponsors the facility told residents Tuesday night.

“We haven’t been good neighbors,” said George Kent, a regional manager with Oxford House, “and I take full responsibility for that.”

Standing at a lectern in the nave of St. George’s by the River Episcopal Church just a block from the Oxford House on South Ward Avenue, Kent fielded sometimes hostile questions from about 40 residents of the West Park neighborhood, hoping to establish a dialogue in the aftermath of a drug overdose death at the house.

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RUMSON: OXFORD REHAB HOUSE SPARKS IRE

rumson council 102213An overflow crowd jammed Rumson’s council chambers to air concerns about an addiction recovery house in town. Below, Barbara Russell returns to her seat after speaking with borough Attorney Marty Barger. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

barger russell 102213Rumson residents packed a borough meeting Tuesday night to demand action regarding Oxford House, an addiction-recovery residence where a tenant died of a suspected drug overdose 10 days ago.

Seated on the floor and standing in the hallway outside the bimonthly meeting of the town’s governing body, neighbors teed up Oxford House for setting up a residence at 61 South Ward Avenue without notice and for a self-governance model they say isn’t working.

“They’re sitting on the porch and they are drinking,” in violation of Oxford’s own bylaws governing locally chartered houses, Washington Avenue resident Barbara Russell said of the house’s nine residents.

Having recently completed alcohol and drug treatment programs and then allowed to live together without supervision, Oxford’s young clients are naturally “going to come out and have a party,” said Russell, who described herself as a recovering alcoholic for 26 years.

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RUMSON: REHAB HOUSE FOCUS OF COMPLAINTS

61 so ward rumson 101413The Rumson house where a man was found dead of a suspected drug overdose Sunday quietly became an addiction recovery residence in August, neighbors say. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Nestled in a quiet Rumson neighborhood still recovering from floodwaters that tore through a year ago, the grey house at the corner of South Ward and Washington avenues stands out, towering over its neighbors.

It also stands out as the subject of complaints to the police.

“They party all the time,” a neighbor who asked not to be identified said of the home’s occupants. “They are up all night. Partying on the front porch. Running through the neighborhood.”

Sunday evening, though, the police were at the house for another reason: looking into the death of one of its residents from a purported drug overdose.

To the surprise of many in this affluent community, the house turns be a drug- and alcohol-rehab residence.

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RUMSON: REHAB HOUSE DEATH INVESTIGATED

just_in1The death of a person found at a Rumson residence Sunday is under investigation, police Chief Scott Paterson tells redbankgreen.

Kin of the deceased haven’t been notified, so he’s unable to release any information about the matter, including the name or age of the victim, Paterson says.

Oxford House, a nonprofit drug rehab provider, lists the house, at 61 South Ward Avenue, as a residence for up to nine males in rehab. Drug or alcohol use by residents is cause for eviction.

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