Lake Worth residents say rehabs are housing teens in their neighborhood

LAKE WORTH, Fla. - Neighbors in the Legend Lakes neighborhood in Lake Worth say sober homes are moving into their development.

"You never know what these rehabs might do. If there are ten people, six might be good, but the other four might cause problems in the neighborhood," neighbor Edward Clarke said about the home next to his he says is housing teenagers in rehab.

Just down the block, Mary Kefalides says the house next to hers will also soon be full of teens in rehab.

"I don't want my children to be hanging out with drug addicts," Kefalides said.

Experts say this is not uncommon in South Florida. It is called the "Florida Model." Experts say treatment facilities treat patients in one place and house them in another.

Michael Walsh with the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers says it often comes down to cost.

"It is very expensive to have a really good inpatient, residential program. If you can provide really good services and have a safe place for them to live, and do it less expensively on that Florida Model basis, than it is a fine option for some people," Walsh said.

Some companies like Behavioral Health of the Palm Beaches say it's not all about saving money. They say they just spent two million dollars refurbishing a former Holiday Inn in Lake Worth into a residential treatment facility.

"You can give better care. We have a medical staff of twenty people. Some of these people need to see someone medically everyday," the CEO of Behavioral Health of the Palm Beaches Alan Stevens said.

The neighbors in Legend Lakes would like to see more projects including residential housing, and less "sober homes" in their neighborhood.

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