We need to do everything we can to fight the opioid epidemic.

Anybody disagree?

Well then why are some public officials in the Town of Wallkill hesitant to join their colleague, Councilman Neil Meyer, when he enthusiastically backs a project that would do something?

The something in this case is an an intensive in-patient drug treatment center proposed at the Holiday Inn on Crystal Run Road.

Resource Recovery Center has proposed 190 beds that would lock in those who volunteered to join for 28 days, starting with 90 beds and, expanding 20 beds at a time.

Meyer did some math to help. He took the estimate from the state Department of Social Services that one in 10 are addicted to drugs, applied that to the population of the Town of Wallkill which is 28,000 and reasonably concluded that 2,800 people, more or less, are struggling with addiction issues. Subtract the 280 now seeking treatment and that leaves more than 2,500 people needing help.

“And you really think that 190 beds is too much?” Meyer asked.

It’s not that, Supervisor Ed Diana answered. He did not want to influence the planning board’s ultimate decision by giving an opinion.

Those on the planning board should consider that as an insult. Those in the community should consider it an outrage.

It’s not as if the supervisor or any other person in or out of public office can tell the planning board to ignore setback requirements or other technical details. And even then there is a procedure allowing that board to make necessary adjustments. It happens all the time.

No, the discussion here is not the kind that keeps surveyors or clerks busy, it’s the big question of what a community can do to help with a problem that is devastating far too many in the community. And if we are seeing such a lack of leadership, such an absence of compassion on this narrow issue, then what can we expect when the town and others have to make some much larger, much more controversial ones?

How about a clean needle exchange? Look at it one way and it is a public promotion of drug use. Look at it another way and it is a good technique to cut down on the scary, costly and deadly byproduct of addiction that comes from sharing needles.

How about a methadone clinic? Look at it one way and it is a public effort to keep people from having to participate in the criminal drug trade. Look at it another way and it brings drug users to a location where people might not want them.

And how about a supervised injection site?

All of these are tough calls, and all are out there waiting to be made sooner or later.

But turning an old motel into a residential treatment center on a busy, commercial road?

It’s an easy call, one that the planners need to submit to their usual procedures but one that falls clearly into that category of “doing everything we can.”

Well except for that.

And maybe not that.

And I’ll have to get back to you about that.