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Porter County officials have learned something from the shutdown of the Pathway Family drug treatment center last month. They are covering their assets now.

The county invested $200,000 in that treatment center in Chesterton, but the money was lost when Pathway shut down the facility, citing a lack of referrals and the weak economy.

This time, the county is investing $458,665 in local income tax money to help pay for a new Valparaiso halfway house for men trying to overcome drug and alcohol abuse problems.

The halfway house will accommodate 15 recovering addicts and a staff person. The facility is being readied with the anticipation that it will begin operating in mid-October.

Donations from businesses and the county are helping fund the new halfway house. Additional donations -- tax-deductible -- are needed.

The new halfway house for men with drug and alcohol problems is expected to be self-supporting.

If it has to close, it will be handed over to Porter County -- a lesson learned from the Pathways failure. It's a good protection, but let's hope the effort succeeds.

Porter County Coroner Victoria Deppe reported 32 people died of accidental drug overdoses last year, a statistic not limited to young people. It is a serious problem.

Prevention efforts need to be increased, of course, but that is also true of treatment. The county needs more successful options for treatment and rehabilitation.

If this halfway house fails, Porter County officials should reinvest this money in another attempt to fight drug abuse. The problem is too severe to ignore.

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