NATIONAL NEWS

Indiana police ask state to revoke license of treatment center where 3 patients died within a week

Jul 14, 2023, 10:31 AM | Updated: 12:54 pm

MISHAWAKA, Ind. (AP) — Northern Indiana police have asked state officials to revoke the license of an addiction treatment center where three patients recently died within a week, saying that the less than year-old center is endangering its residents and placing a strain on law enforcement.

The St. Joseph County Police Department said in a letter to state officials that Sheriff Bill Redman wants the Indiana Division of Mental Health and Addiction to investigate Praxis Landmark Recovery’s 160-bed facility and requests that its license be revoked, the South Bend Tribune reported.

“The facility is a large drain on our county first responder resources and is harmful to its patients and our community,” county police spokesman Troy Warner wrote to Jay Chaudhary, director of the state office.

The request for state action comes as county police and the coroner’s office are investigating three deaths and two suspected overdoses in the past two weeks at the all-male drug and alcohol rehabilitation center, which opened last August in Mishawaka, a city adjacent to South Bend.

A spokeswoman for the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration, which oversees Chaudhary’s division, said facilities like the Mishawaka treatment center must report all deaths or serious injuries to the FSSA within one working day. She added that the agency will “review all reports received from Landmark and consider next steps.”

So far in 2023, the treatment center has been the cause of more than 200 calls to police and fire departments, Warner wrote in the letter. Of those, about 110 were made to the county police department and resulted in more than two dozen incident reports.

Those incidents include nine overdoses, two rapes, a sexual assault and a stabbing, he wrote, adding that county police believe the center’s issues are underreported.

Warner said in the letter to state officials that when officers are called to the center “staff routinely interfere and restrict the ability of our officers and detectives to complete any investigations, prohibiting officers from talking with victims and witnesses.”

He added that there have been “reports that staff will not let patients call police and prohibit and discourage reporting.”

A spokeswoman for Landmark Recovery, a Franklin, Tennessee-based company with 14 facilities spread across 10 states, said in an emailed statement to the South Bend Tribune that its leaders are “saddened” by the three deaths and are working closely with authorities.

The statement adds that “patient care and safety are our top priorities,” and said the company is conducting an internal investigation.

When the treatment center opened last year, it touted itself as the largest treatment center in Indiana that accepts Medicaid insurance for low-income patients. The center was to provide medical detox, residential and outpatient treatment.

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Indiana police ask state to revoke license of treatment center where 3 patients died within a week