Seven months after moving to its new location in Porter, the Pathway Family
Center’s drug treatment program for adolescents is shutting down in Porter
Bob Taylor, coordinator of the Porter County Drug Task Force Unit and a
local Pathway board member, said it’s his understanding that the facility on
Canonie Drive closed Thursday. He said Pathway has also closed its
facilities in Ohio and Michigan for the same reason -- inability of families
to pay for the treatment.
“Financially, I don’t think people could afford it,” he said, citing the
current economic climate. “The whole thing is a mess.”
Another Pathway board member, Community Action Drug Coalition President Dr.
Mann Spitler, said when the CADC first approached Pathway about branching
into Porter County, Pathway projected that it would need $1.2 million to
operate a local facility. Pathway, a non-profit organization, provided
$120,000, while local sources contributed another $512,000, including
$200,000 in county economic development income tax funds.
However, Spitler said with expenses totaling $899,000 through the end of
June, the total funding wasn’t enough.
“They just couldn’t sustain it,” he said.
Both Taylor and Spitler agreed that the troubled economy is the main reason
for Pathway’s closing. Spitler noted that Pathway has never turned away
anyone for treatment, but that many families still felt they couldn’t afford
the services even when offered on a sliding scale. Taylor said if families
did have private insurance to cover the costs of drug treatment, many have
lost that coverage due to job losses.
Spitler also said that a federal loan program that helped cover the costs of
adolescent treatment came to an end more than a year ago, making it even
more difficult for families to get the help they need.
Taylor said the need for an intensive adolescent drug treatment programs
definitely has not gone away in Northwest Indiana. He cited an increase in
thefts from vehicles in north Porter County; the thefts are attributed to
the drug problem, he said, as thieves take small change and pawn the stolen
goods in order to buy drugs.
“Hopefully, Washington will wake up and see that the problems they think
they’re solving are getting worse, not better,” he said.
Pathway came to Porter County with much fanfare, with the CADC identifying
the Pathway program as one of its priorities and with bi-partisan support
from county officials to award the $200,000 in one-time program start-up
costs. Taylor said he believes those county funds have been spent and cannot
After receiving the county funding in 2007, Pathway opened a temporary
facility in Chesterton that provided services such as drug screening,
clinical assessment, and a 24-hour parent help line. Last December, Pathway
announced that it assumed a lease from McDaniel Fire Systems for a 9,000
square foot building at 804 Canonie Drive in Porter. The agreement relieved
the organization from having to pay rent or utilities until May.
Despite the closing of Pathway, Spitler remains optimistic that local
programs can help put a dent in the drug problem.
Last year, CADC hosted its inaugural Manda’s Race, named in memory of
Spitler’s daughter who died after a heroin overdose. The event raised about
$5,000, a portion of which was donated to the Chesterton based Frontline
Foundations, a faith-based treatment program for 18 to 25 year olds; Spitler
said the funding provided scholarships for two people to get drug treatment.
The CADC has also contributed to Chesterton High School teacher Dave
Milligan’s substance abuse class.
Spitler said the CADC will continue to support the smaller scale projects.
“I’m very hopeful we can expand on what we already have here,” he said.
Porter County officials have said that combating drug use has been a top
priority. In May, the Porter County Council approved a recommendation from
the commissioners for $458,665 in income tax funds for a new men’s halfway
house in Valparaiso for those recovering from addictions. But unlike the
county funding awarded for Pathway, the halfway house funding came with an
agreement that if the halfway house fails, its assets would revert to Porter