Jason Redmer Dies at Problem-Plagued West Coast Detox Center in Surf City Neighborhood
"West Coast Detox and Treatment was created to provide a safe place in which recovery from alcohol and drug addiction could take place," reads the Huntington Beach rehab's home page.
Tell that to Jason Redmer.
The San Juan Capistrano 28-year-old was found dead Monday morning at the facility housed in a single-family home on Yale Circle, a quiet residential street next to an elementary school.
Huntington Beach Police and the county coroner are still investigating the death of Redmer, a patient of West Coast Detox Services, which detoxifies addicts before sending them to treatment facilities.
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Under state law, West Coast Detox and another sober living home next door are licensed to operate on Yale Circle through 2013, but as far as neighbors are concerned Redmer's death is just the latest black eye since the facility opened last year. Police confirm receiving complaints about spotty supervision and discarded drug paraphernalia.
Many neighbors stormed a Huntington Beach City Council meeting last month, demanding West Coast Detox be shut down. City officials responded that state law ties their hands, at least until a city code is violated.
Councilman Joe Carchio told residents he felt their pain and frustration, according to a Huntington Beach Independent report.
"I agree with you," Carchio reportedly said. "I don't understand it just the way you don't understand it. Let's reopen this thing. There has got to be an answer somewhere. There has to be. Let's see if we can find that for you."
Don Ramsey, who started the facility after a friend's sister was lost to addiction, had no comment on Redmer's death, but he assured the council at that March meeting that steps have been taken to clean up the rehab, including the installation of surveillance cameras. He blamed the paraphernalia discovery on a patient who tossed it over a fence into a neighbor's yard because he was afraid he'd be bounced from the program if he was caught with it. Everyone in the house was then subjected to drug tests that came back clean, Ramsey swore.
The center operator than accused his neighbors of verbally attacked him and threatening him with lawsuits.
"There's a lot of discrimination and prejudice going on," Ramsey is reported to have told the council. "Everybody has got an ax to grind because we're helping people who are trying to stop drugs and alcohol. They should be pointing fingers at themselves. What are they doing to make this community a better place?"
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