The director of Southeast Washington's only narcotics addiction treatment center appealed unsuccessfully yesterday to a federal official for money to keep the center open after Sept. 30.
Benjamin Davis, head of the Southeast Neighborhood Action Board Inc., told Wesley A. Pomeroy, associate director of the President's Office of Drug Abuse Policy, that only federal intervention could save the drug program if they city continues to refuse to fund the group.
But Pomeroy, speaking at a Southeast Community meeting on the "Carter Administration Policy on Drug Abuse," told Davis that the Office of Drug Abuse Policy doesn't have the money to fund the center, nor the authority to try to persuade the city to do it.
The city has rejected the Southeast group's request for continued funding on the ground that it doesn't have enough money to contract with an independent agency for the treatment of addicts cast of the Anacostia River.
The city gave the group a $121,000 grant last December after Southeast residents and addicts picketed the mayor's office, demanding that the drug treatment center be kept open.
Attempts to put a Narcotics Treatment Administration clinic in the area were protested by citizens. According to Davis, southeast residents felt they would not have the control over a NTA unit that they have over the addiction center.
Davis told Pomeroy that the 4,000 addicts in Southeast who are served by center would be forced to travel across town for treatment if the center closes. The drug center has facilities for 150 addicts at a time and is constantly accepting new patients, according to patients.
"The city isn't doing anything to help us," Davis told Pomeroy. "If this administration really wants to help drug addicts, they could start here in Washington and help this program. It seems to me that the government must have some money or you could take an interest and use your personal influence to persuade the city to give us a grant."
Pomeroy, who began his talk by telling the audience at Friendship House 619 D St. SE, that the four-month-old Office of Drug Abuse Policy has no money, told Davis there is little or nothing he can do to help.
"If we were to fund a drug center in Washington or to make special calls on your behalf, we'd have a million drug centers around the country calling for help," Pomeroy said.
Davis said the eight-year-old drug treatment center's last hope for city funding rests with the District's Office of State Agency Affairs, which he said is considering a grant.
However, Dr. Joseph Payne, chief of the State Health Program Division of the agency, which is part of the Department of Human Resources, said in an interview yesterday that his agency would not have money available before Oct. 1.