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Hospital for Chronically Ill chief wants drug program out

10/16/75 by Richard Gorman

he medical director at Middlesex County’s Hospital for the Chronically Ill yesterday asked the county welfare board to evict a state-run drug program there so that the hospital may expand.

Dr, Walter Grossman, who administers the 51 bed hospital for chronically ill welfare patients in North Brunswick, said 36 to 40 beds could be added to the hospital complex if the drug addiction center, open during the day, were closed.

The center is in the former juvenile detention home behind he hospital at the Routes 130 traffic circle.Personnel at the hospital complained yesterday of occasional nighttime visits by young people seeking drug counselors. Grossman described the visits as “minor annoyances.”

The drug center was established more than four years ago to provide group and individual counseling to those with drug, alcohol and emotional problems.

The program is operated by the Division of Narcotics and Drug Abuse Control of the state Department of Health. It operates with a staff of eight and has a psychologist and psychiatrist available for referrals. An employee at the center said most of those under treatment range in age from 13 to 19, although the program is open to people of all ages.

Freeholder Charles F. Williams, liaison to the welfare board, said the drug center would be willing to relocate to the “center city” if suitable quarters could be found.

But an employe questioned yesterday said the state would prefer to continue operating the center at its present site. As part of the arrangement, the county provides the building and pays all utilities, and the state operates the program.


Grossman said the building could be altered to conform to the state’s fire and safety code, The additional beds, he said, would actually make it more economical to care for patients.

Williams said he would raise the expansion issue at tonight’s freeholder meeting, He said he would also direct county engineer John J. Reiser Jr. to determine if the building could be renovated for a moderate amount.

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