A non-profit organization headed by Marianas Counseling Services counselor Chris Sablan is planning to open the CNMI’s first drug and alcohol rehabilitation center in As Perdido, Saipan.
CNMI Zoning Office administrator Therese T. Ogumoro in an interview said the Marianas Behavioral Health International Inc.’s request for conditional use permit will be entertained by the Zoning Board at a public hearing on Thursday, Aug. 11, at 5pm.
Ogumoro said if the project pushes through, it will be the first drug and alcohol rehabilitation center in the CNMI.
In its application for zoning conditional use permit, Marianas Behavioral is proposing to develop the former Cultural Center in lower As Perdido into a recovery residence center for drug and alcohol counseling for a maximum of eight patients.
The site area containing 1,817 square meters is zoned as rural district.
The company estimated $15,000 as budget of the project, including cost of material, labor, planning, engineering, and studies.
The Zoning Board encouraged the public to comment on the company’s proposal at the hearing.
Marianas Behavioral Health International Inc. vice president D.J. Sablan in a phone interview on Friday said hopefully the CNMI will soon have the first drug and alcohol rehabilitation facilities.
D.J. Sablan said Marianas Behavioral is a non-profit corporation and has board members.
He said they are waiting right now for the budget from the Legislature to be approved.
He said Gov. Ralph DLG. Torres has to approve the budget.
“That’s the target. Once we get funding from the government we will open,” said D.J. Sablan, adding that they are eyeing September or October 2016 as their opening.
In his remarks during the graduation ceremony for police cadets last week, Torres announced that he has committed $1 million in his budget proposal to establishing a substance abuse treatment center to go alongside the newly established drug court.
Torres also disclosed that he has asked the Legislature to provide an additional $1 million from the casino gross revenue tax this year to the Community Guidance Center to work toward treatment of alcohol and substance abuse illness immediately.