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‘Methadone clinic’ proposed

Pulaski officials to express opposition to state

By MELINDA WILLIAMS
melinda@southwesttimes.com

Pulaski officials will express opposition to a proposed “methadone clinic,” but doubt there is much they can do to stop it from locating in Pulaski Mall.

Pulaski Town Manager John Hawley said the town received a letter from Virginia Department of Health and Developmental Services in December indicating Gary Gavornik of Easton, Pa. filed for a license to operate an “opioid treatment center.” It would be in the store adjacent to Save-A-Lot and was formerly occupied by Pulaski Drugs and New River Valley Community Services.

The clinics dispense medications, including methadone, to persons with addictions to opiate drugs such as heroine and pain relievers like OxyContin, morphine, Dilaudid and Percocet, with the goal of weaning the person off drugs.

Hawley said the town has been trying to determine whether it has any recourse, but “we’ve checked and as far as we know it meet’s the requirements.”

The town government does have a right to comment on the proposal, but he said he doesn’t know how much weight the comments will have in the process.

They just said we could comment,” he said.

The property is zoned B-2, General Business, which allows medical clinics as a “use by right.” If the zoning ordinance required that medical clinics be allowed by “special exception,” the town would have more control over the matter since it would be able to place conditions beyond what is required by the ordinance.

It also appears to meet required distances from schools and licensed day care facilities, according to Hawley. He said there is some question as to whether it must be half a mile from these facilities by road or “as the crow flies.” That’s being looked into further.

A building permit was requested for a commercial rehabilitation of the store in October. He said there are no grounds to deny the facility under the building code as long as all code requirements are met.

Hawley said Pulaski Town Council carefully weighed the pros and cons of the clinic before deciding how to respond.

There are pros. It is controlled treatment and there would be less travel for those receiving treatment,” he said. “But council believes the cons outweigh the pros.”

Therefore, town staff has been directed to draft a letter to send to the Department of Health and Developmental Services expressing opposition to the clinic.

He declined to be specific about what would be in the letter. He intends to have it completed to send to the state on Friday.

Our goal is to put together something that will get their attention,” he said, explaining that the town is trying to make a convincing argument as to why the clinic would be bad for the town.

The town did inquire as to the impact of such clinics on other communities that have them, but Hawley said the response was mixed.

It depended on who you talked to,” he said, explaining that one person in a jurisdiction might have one opinion and another have an opinion that is the polar opposite.

Hawley indicated it is his understanding licenses are granted conditionally for six months to start. He wasn’t sure how frequently renewal is required, but did note that the clinics have to meet certain guidelines to stay open.

Pulaski Mall is owned by RAS Properties, which is owned by Robert Strenz, a former member of Pulaski’s Redevelopment and Housing Authority.

Nearby jurisdictions with methadone clinics include Roanoke and Galax. Galax has two.

Since the town hasn’t seen the licensing application, Hawley said he doesn’t know when it plans to open if the license is approved.

 

Comments

comments

58 Responses to ‘Methadone clinic’ proposed

  1. Bonna Lawrence

    February 23, 2012 at 11:06 pm

    We need to do all we can to stop this from happening. Is there anyone out there that can say that the methadone clinic has help them become drug FREE!
    If there is I personally would like to know. All I do know is that it is just another drug that is addictive and that they are told they will proably be on it for the rest of their lives. Also, it is much harder to detox off of methadone then it is to detox off of herion. Just ask a methadone user or check into the Colman Institute who has a detox program for methadone. We have already lost children here in Pulaski because they drank their parents methadone. True many Pulaski residents are traveling to Galax to get their methadone and many are also selling it on the streets along with all the other prescription medications. We do have a drug problem here in Pulaski but the clinic is not our answer. This is one mother who stands against this. I have prayerfully considering starting an organization title “MOTHERS AGAINST METHADONE CLINICS” because a lot of people are clueless to what is really going on. You don’t have to be addict to opiates to get methadone from the clinics you just go in and ask for it and they will give it to you and increase it weekly if you like. When they come under the disquise of a rehab program. Who do these Doctors answer to for what they are doing? Who is checking on the program? It’s a government program thats making a lot of money. But helping no one to become totally drug FREE.

    • Pulaski Resident

      March 8, 2012 at 10:23 pm

      I hole heartedly diaagree with ur shrude comment….METHADONE has saved my life and I was never on really hard drugs just prescription ones and I was introduced to the clinic and have been going and i have weaned myself down..I hate that weveryday I wake up knowing that I ruined my life but u treat this like its a crime and if the ppl would keep there medicines locked in a locked box like there supposed to be no one would suffer from it…I am very carefu; with mine and u are very opinionated to what u read and have been told but un;ess u have been and addict YOU WILL NEVER UNDERSTAND!I have seen ppl detox and go cold turkey from, herion and die but not from methadone….Sweety the clini will be more best thing this town haas ever done for people u just done see it..You only believe what u have been told and what if itwas ur kid and addict would u have the same opinion about the clinic I think that the man that has the balls to open this clinic regardless of twhat ppl say about him I COMMEND U SIR!!!!You are awesome!!!!You actually can see past the negativity of ppl saying that oh methadone clinics are just another substitute for one drug which can b true but less harmful for ya and also these clinins have been around for years and years and i have faith and pray every night like u do that I will soon get off this medication its saved my lifeso there u have it…I am one person and I know that there are many more prob scared to write on here abput there ;ife as well…

  2. amanda price

    February 24, 2012 at 10:27 am

    i think that to have a “methadone” clinic in pulaski Co is the best thing that this town would ever do they take take take and never give to society and so many suffarable drug addicts i know in this town that may actually help them and save lives in the process i see no cons in this and commend the man from PA that wants to do this and support him fully…i myself not on and never have been addicted to any drug but loved ones i know that have and still are suffering and that make long drives to roanoke and galax to get help is so ridiculous in my opinion…So i really hope it passes i mean we as people in society should be the voices of this nt mayors governors etc bc were tax payers and i dont mind seeing my tax money going for things like this its a great idea and i stand behind it 150%…Thts all i have to say about this..

  3. Mike McMillion

    February 25, 2012 at 9:27 am

    Probably the LAST thing that the town needs is this “business.” Regardless of the legality-it’s just the wrong thing. I can’t think of one single reason to welcome an absentee owner handing out substitute drugs.

  4. HayLeigh W.

    February 29, 2012 at 6:30 am

    The reason Pulaski needs this is because so many people from our town are driving so far just to have a decent life and to function.
    I have loved ones that are dependen/addicted but they are good people . Society never hears the success stories that are possible and happen because of methadone clinics,people only hear the crime and violence. Having a methadone clinic here would keep people off the street, bring the crime rate down because so many people cant afford to travel to galax or roanoke so they choose to break in homes and steal. Our community needs this.

  5. william w quesenberry

    February 29, 2012 at 10:16 am

    why does my comment require moderation

    • Editor

      February 29, 2012 at 12:26 pm

      Our intent in moderation is not to change a person’s message; this is because many (most) of comments posted to our website are spam or libel in nature, even with our filtering technology, and are irrelevant to the pages they are posted on. We also want to keep a forum suitable for viewing by everyone who needs community news. We do try to sort through comments each business day, and welcome your viewpoints on local issues.

  6. Pulaski Gal

    February 29, 2012 at 11:12 am

    Methadone Clinic in Pulaski could be good, I know people that drive to the Galax clinic that stop at Wal-Mart, get gas, eat out in Galax. Spending money in there town that could be spent here. Ive never heard of anyone robbing a store or people to get money to go to the clinic. The clinic helps people get/keep jobs, have a place to live, take care of there kids, keep food on the table, keep stability in there lives.
    The Galax outpatient facility would probalbly close its door if a clinic opened in town due to 90% of its patients are from the NRV.

  7. Concerned Citizen

    February 29, 2012 at 3:04 pm

    A Methadone clinic in Pulaski County will do nothing but increase the rising drug problem in the area. I have had personal dealings with family members and friends that have gone to the facility in Galax which not only failed to help them with pain pill addiction but added to it with an addiction to Methadone. It will bring more addicts into a county that quite frankly is already over-run with them. I have total sympathy for those dealing with substance abuse and I just don’t think substituting one drug for another is the proper solution. What Pulaski needs is an affordable rehab and detox clinic that provides a healthy and safe form of treatment that will not add to their addictions. The proposed Methadone clinic will add fuel to an already out of control fire.

  8. ALSO CONCERNED

    March 1, 2012 at 9:24 am

    As most of the people in the area are aware, we have been viewed as a “negative” place to live and
    raise children. We have been seen as a place that has difficulty in bringing in new business. The Methadone clinic will add another crutch to depend on. This community needs to stop searching for crutches and learn to walk on our own 2 feet. In order to do that, we must encourage job growth and those that are unemployed to seek employment. We must enforce laws that are on the books that will require both business and citizens to maintain their dwellings and buildings in a safe and clean
    manner. We need to create housing for middle class working citizens that are seeing a decrease in their budget due to rising energy and gas prices.
    Instead of giving the community a black eye in the view of the other counties, lets give it something that will benefit us all like tax paying businesses that will give the officials something to work with and take the tax burden off the working individuals and the current businesses that we have.

  9. Tweeter

    March 2, 2012 at 8:26 am

    Another negative for Pulaski. I have a sister and brother-in-law that goes to Galax for this and it hasn’t helped them at all. She has to pay about $160 a week for her treatment and methadone and making minimum wage sure don’t leave much for her 3 children. I can not see where it has helped her at all she still does what she wants to the side. We have so many drug addicts in Pulaski and this just gives them the freedom to turn from one drug to the other and willing to bet that they will be helped to pay for the methadone because of their “condition” and here I am a diabetic with no insurance and can’t even get a stir of interest when I say I need help getting insulin. I make too much for the free clinic but surely not enough to pay for needles, insulin, test strips, and the medical care I need.

  10. Concerned Patron

    March 4, 2012 at 12:05 am

    I don’t see this clinic being an issue. Pulaski has ALWAYS faught ANY business whatever it be in town. They didn’t want Wal-Mart, but they lost that one. I also heard a restaurant wanted to open in Pulaski County, but was denied by the board and denied an abc license. My point is Pulaski is hurting it’s own economy. It’s not the 80′s anymore town counsel! WAKE UP! I hear so many people say they wouldn’t move to Pulaski because nothing is there. I will also reiterate about the drug issue. There is an ongoing problem that is spinning out of control. BUT if you deny any kind of treatment whatsoever it will only get worse. There are more and more people going to jail over drug related charges, because you guys think a cage is rehab.

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