Phish frontman gets greenlight for Ludlow drug treatment center

Published: Jul. 9, 2021 at 4:02 PM EDT
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LUDLOW, Vt. (WCAX) - Plans to open a 40-bed residential treatment center in Ludlow are moving forward despite some opposition in the community. The project is backed by Vermont’s most famous rock star, who has struggled with addiction himself.

The proposed drug treatment center in Ludlow has been given the greenlight by town officials, who say the facility falls within current zoning regulations.

“I’m all for it. I think it is something that is long overdue for the area,” said Charlie Rimer, who has lived in Ludlow for six years. He says the sprawling property overlooking a golf course is the perfect place to get people clean. “Sitting and just telling them all to figure it out, and putting them in jail doesn’t do anybody any good.”

Back in March, Phish’s Trey Anastasio, announced his Divided Sky Foundation bought the building with the intention of turning it into a residential treatment facility. Anastasio has struggled with addiction, as he told WCAX when details of the nonprofit were released in March. “I was able to get treatment and that has always been in the back of my mind that everyone deserves a treatment option,” Anastasio said.

But not everyone in the ski town supports a treatment facility here. That became apparent as the project was vetted by Ludlow’s Development Review Board. “They held multiple hearings with hundreds of individuals participating,” said Ludlow Town Manager Scott Murphy.

Dozens oppose the project for reasons including they’re worried about increased crime, to concerns from second home owners about how it could lead to more noise in the neighborhood. We were unable to get anyone against the facility to speak on camera, but one person commented that Ludlow did not need more people “who use.”

“People that are either for it or opposed to it, they think with their hearts and not with their heads. These rehab facilities are sorely needed in Vermont. Every community is affected by this epidemic,” Murphy said.

Some say crime and drugs are already here. “We already have all those problems. So why not help? If it is locals that are there, if it is people from Vermont, awesome. We need the help,” Rimer said.

Town officials say those who are opposed to the project can appeal the ruling. The facility will still need to go through the Act 250 review process before opening to the public.

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