Parkersburg mayor says drug treatment bed crisis continues to grow

PARKERSBURG, W.Va. — Parkersburg Mayor Tom Joyce says a man who police arrested last week for making terroristic threats at a Royal King is just another example of the city’s drug treatment bed crisis.

Parkersburg Mayor Tom Joyce

According to the mayor, Michael Roe, 35, is originally from Kentucky and was sent to Parkersburg to receive in-patient treatment at Westbrook Health Services on Dudley Avenue. While there, Roe was employed briefly in Parkersburg and had relapsed when a co-worker offered him methamphetamine.

Joyce said Roe was placed in St. Joseph Recovery Center for drug treatment, at which time he decided to leave the facility.

Roe is accused of then passing a note to Rural King employee stating that there were timed pipe bombs inside and outside the store that would detonate if his demands were not met.

Roe was arraigned in Wood County Magistrate Court where his bail was set at $200,000.

Joyce said they have more beds than drug issues in the city.

“We’re a population in a city of less than 30,000, but yet we have 25 percent of the total number of licensed residential treatment beds in the state of West Virginia. As the mayor of Parkersburg, I think that’s unfair,” he said on Monday’s MetroNews “Talkline.”

While the mayor said he couldn’t quantify how many people have committed crimes in the city who were brought there for treatment, the mayor said Parkersburg has seen an uptick of out-of-state homeless individuals in recent years.

“We found folks from Kentucky, Montana, Oregon, Texas, Florida. I think that’s disproportionate for sure,” he said. “Why should any city in West Virginia be forced to deal with problem folks from outside of the state of West Virginia?”

Joyce said if you build it, they will come.

“Since between 2017 and April of last year, $16 million dollars have been spent on these residential treatment beds here in Parkersburg alone. I think money makes a market,” he said.

Last July, the Parkersburg City Council approved a ban on any new addiction treatment centers and recovery homes from opening in the city for about a year.

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