Addiction Group Faces Eviction After Asbestos Discovery

Illustration of potential asbestos exposure in a building

The Grapevine addiction recovery group might be out of a meeting place after a recent inspection found asbestos in the old firehouse that the organization rents from the City of Boise in Idaho.

Mike Journee, a spokesman for the City of Boise, said, “We did have to ask them to stop using it because of the health concerns.”

“This is much more than a building. For many, it’s the equivalent of a church. It’s the place where they first achieved the recovery and found hope in their life,” said the President of Grapevine’s Board of Directors, Rob Tiedemann.

Asbestos-related health concerns are the Grapevine’s first priority, but finding a temporary place to meet is second on the list. The group hosts four meetings a day to accommodate up to 1,200 visits a month from those seeking help with their addictions.

“Knowing that there is a meeting at eight [in the morning], noon, 8 p.m., or 5:30 in the afternoon can make the difference between being in the program of recovery and relapse,” said Tiedemann. Support groups are an important part of the addiction recovery process.

“It’s really an on-site situation that will be able to be taken care of at some point in the future, but how that happens and to what extent we still got to figure out,” said Journee.

Exposure to asbestos is a contributing risk factor to developing mesothelioma cancer. In most cases, mesothelioma symptoms will not appear in an individual exposed to asbestos until decades after the initial exposure occurred.

People with a history of asbestos exposure who are experiencing symptoms should consult a physician who has expertise in accurately diagnosing mesothelioma. The earlier it’s diagnosed, the more likely patients can improve their survival and life expectancy.

At earlier stages of mesothelioma progression, more treatment options are available and oftentimes a better prognosis is given. Pain management is also an important component of a mesothelioma patient care plan. However, certain kinds of pain medication can lead to medical dependency, which can have a deleterious effect on the patient’s treatment and recovery.

The Grapevine helps thousands people with addictions each year, some of whom likely became addicted after taking prescriptions for legitimate medical problems. For mesothelioma patients, dependency often stems when a patient decides to take pain management into their own hands. If pain increases, talk to a physician before changing your dosage – never decide to increase the amount of painkillers you are taking on your own.

The City of Boise is still assessing the asbestos problem at the old firehouse. Officials are meeting this week to discuss next steps.