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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.

 

58 Responses to ‘Methadone clinic’ proposed

  1. aggravated youth

    March 4, 2012 at 5:14 pm

    we dont need a methadone clinic to futher our town into drug use. methadone clinics have a horrible track record for getting anybody clean. its just a way for a greedy few to sell legal meth and not be punished for. talk to anybody who has attend or had a family member attend one. it increase the crime rate around its area with things such as theft, violence between the attendents or just drug sale outside the establishment. we need a movie theater or a music center or dance hall for the youth of this town to get away from the drugs. we dont need a place that brings more to the town(we already have enough as it is).

  2. karen semones

    March 4, 2012 at 9:53 pm

    Our Government and our society does want the meth. clinic. The centers are elimanating our addicts. People who are going there, get there, as soon as the door opens. There are fewer addicts now because these dr.s and our system keepers know..methadone, other drugs or alcohal, just don’t mix. They also know the expectations of this group of people, is to mix drugs…fatally mix drugs. Many people I know of, have not gone to the meth clinics very long, and now they are off all drugs, fresh air, and sunshine. They no longer need drugs, food, a place to live, food-stamps, car to drive, child to love, Parents to love…seems the methadone clinic has taken away all their needs. I guess it is so the gov. doesn’t have to provide for them and theirs…anymore. It is kinda like legal-suiside. Oh yes, Please put a meth clinic in all our neighborhoods so we can elimanate these people, as quickly as possible! It is happening and it works! And it is a gov’t fix! Elimanate those dam pap smears and breast exams, too. Make them illegal for all, as our population is so great now with all the test and cures. Oh yes, Pulaski is right on!!!!

  3. Pulaski County Resident

    March 6, 2012 at 9:50 pm

    Unfortunately, it seems that no matter what the people say or think, the Government will allow the Methodone Clinic to go in, in Pulaski, as due to their rules, with few exceptions, the Government won’t stop this type of clinic from going into a community if applied for.
    I am against the Methodone Clinic going into Pulaski, a community that already has a drug problem, one that is growing, and costing the community as well the businesses, and medical cost growing due to this problem.
    I have heard a lot of citizens comment: Should the Methodone Clinic go in, they would be reluctant to shop in that area, due to the druggies, drug activity, loitering of drug heads, etc., this would affect the following business: Save-A-Lot, Steer House, Hardee’s, the new McDonald’s, the tire store, Well’s Fargo Bank, Domino’s, Pizza Hut, to name a few. This means lost income, lost tax, possible loss of businesses (due to lack of sales).
    From what I have been told and understand, a Methodone Clinic does not require it’s clients to take Methodone that they are given for treatment, at the clinic, that the client is allowed to take the Medication with them, and to take it at a later time, unsupervised. This means a client can (not all will, I understand that, but some will), take their Methodone and save it til a later date, so they can get a High off of it, which can lead to an Overdose which means more costs, both Medical (Hospital, Doctors, Nurses, Rescue Personnel, Ambulance, Emergency Room, Medications, etc.), Police, 911 Dispatcher time, Investigation, Court costs, as well as possible Drug Trafficking of the Methodone Medication which was allowed to be taken away from the facility, which will result in more police calls, investigations, court cost, etc.
    It’s time The People held our Government accountable, if they the Government due to their limited Rules concerning Methodone Clinics, by which they themselves wrote, limits their denial of such a Clinic, can require a Clinic to go into a Community such as Pulaski, where the People are against it, then it’s time The People, held the Government accountable. If the Pulaski Community incurs additional expenses due this Clinic, then the Government should be sued, and forced by law, to pay the Community for these expenses. If the Pulaski Community looses revenue due to this Clinic, then the Government should be held accountable and repay the Community for it’s lost revenue due to the Clinic being forced on The People of the Community.

  4. James

    March 7, 2012 at 6:24 pm

    It seems as though most of you have no exp. with a clinic and are just parroting mis-information you have heard.
    First off..In Roanoke it’s 98 a week (still not cheap but a long way from 160), also the same company runs both and I don’t think they would charge almost double at one and not the other (I mean you guys did say it was just for making a few select rich right? then why not charge more if they can?) Somebody I dated who went there last year paid 103 a week…could be more but I doubt 160.

    Also it does NOT increase the crime in the area it is in. In Roanoke the house values are still going up and crime is down. Thats without extra police patrols so don’t say thats the reason.
    There is NO drug dealing in the parking lot and there never has been.
    You want to hear from someone who it has made drug free? Me. I went to the clinic in roanoke and now I’m clean and have been for the last three and a half years. (No drugs, not even drinking, in three and a half years)
    Before I went I had a 300 dollar a day heroin habit and was really close to going to prison because I was so strung out I just did not care anymore and would have robbed a bank if I could have gotten away with it. Shooting up heroin for over 11 years solid had turned me into someone who would do anything to get my fix, my family did not trust me and neither did my friends. I had destroyed anything and everything I had ever cared about and it ruined my life. It also killed 4 women I had cared about.
    I had given up ever getting clean and living a happy life..starting at the clinic changed my life and without it I’d most likely be in prison for armed robbery by now.
    I have hope now and I live my life on my own terms now and I am no longer beholden to sticking a needle in my arm three or four times a day now.
    I know people who joined just so the methadone will keep them from getting dope-sick and keep doing heroin, they soon find out that when you get to what they call a stable dose (the amount it takes to keep you from getting dope-sick) is also a blocking dose. A blocking dose means the methadone clogs up your opiate receptors so if you do shoot up you can’t feel it.

    Yes of course some people try and take advantage of the clinic to try and high. Just like everything else people will try and do take advantage sometimes but the controls in place will sooner or later trip them up and they’ll get kicked out.
    The place must be strictly controlled (the one in roanoke is) and if it is peoples lives can and are saved. It has saved my life and I think the Lord everyday for a second chance at life, keep an open mind before you judge things you do not know.

    • Pulaski Resident

      March 8, 2012 at 10:13 pm

      James I agree with u 100%…ppl Ramble andcarry lon abput things that they hear say….I mean i was a addict at one time and methadone has really saved my life I think all thses negative nancy’s need to do their homework before saying we dont need this we dont need that….the clinic is nt free its 196 for 2 weeks and i also have a few deceased loved ones that ill fately came from drug abuse and it was unfortunately too late for them…Some doctors and other people treat a methadone patient as ifwere a diseased incurable person and that is what til this day really hurts my sould bc were just like any other person were all normal..I hope they add this clinic here bc thats less driving Ill have to do for now…

      • Totally Against It

        March 10, 2012 at 12:02 am

        If you are still taking Methadone then you can’t say you were “an addict at one time”. You are STILL an addict, just to a different substance now. I completely 100% disagree with this clinic opening in Pulaski. Anyone who claims that Methadone is a miracle drug, a “fix all”, is highly delusional. People who go the route of Methadone to rid themselves of opiate addiction are basically trading one addiction for another. These places are not regulated, and don’t require you to be weaned in a certain amount of time. If you have the money, they will continue dispensing the drug to you. Even if it’s for the rest of your life. It is ultimately up to you to decide to get off of Methadone, and the withdrawal effects from that are MUCH worse than the effects from the other addiction. I’m not speaking from personal experience, but from witnessing a good friend go through what he described as utter and complete hell on Earth in an effort to get the Methadone out of his system. The clinic helped wean him down (after he requested it many times) but when he decided to totally quit, he was on his own. They offer no support at all once you quit.
        I don’t know what the best fix is for this problem, but I don’t feel that Methadone is it, and I don’t believe it would be a good move for Pulaski to allow a clinic to open in this community.

  5. Va Girl

    March 8, 2012 at 6:11 pm

    Dear James, I am so happy to learn you beat your habit. I’m for the clinic and have never even had a drug problem, but know a number of folks who have. One girl in particular was unable to get ANY help (she lived in Radford at the time). She tried and tried and almost died while going cold, turkey as she had no other choice. Put herself into debt almost $100K over the habit. So in my opinion the dollar amounts to get off a drug FAR OUTWEIGHT the miser of what the dollars put into the illegal drugs bring forth.

    I hope it comes, but there are those who are afraid for no good reason other than misinformation and a lack of compassion for those wanting off of hard drugs.

  6. Also Concerned

    March 9, 2012 at 8:25 am

    James, I am thankful that you are not on other drugs, but are you off Methadone or are you still on it? Will you have to continue the daily doses or will you eventually be completely off it?
    As for property values in Roanoke, overall they are going up, but in the community surrounding the clinic, they are not. I would love to have a cureall that would require short term treatment that would give the person their entire life back, but Methadone will not do that. The fact is, we need to figure out why people take drugs to begin with and get a handle on that situation first. The clinic this town does need is a Dialysis clinic. We have elderly citizens that have to travel to Radford,Blacksburg and Wytheville for treatment. These folks did not do anything to themselves that caused the need for treatment, they have Diabetes or have other health reasons for their kidneys to fail. They are going 3 days a week,sometimes 4 to spend 4 to 5 hours on machines that drain off the poisons that their kidneys can no longer remove.
    They are usually accompanied by family members that must spend a great deal for gas to transport them or they must ride a Medicaid transport service that in turn costs the taxpayers. The person that is receiving dialysis is usually to weak and sick to drive themselves if they do own a car. So, if we need any type of clinic in Pulaski, I vote for Dialysis, not Methadone.

  7. Get Em Clean

    March 15, 2012 at 10:13 am

    Show me proof that you have successfully helped someone be weened off the methadone and are truly drug free without methadone now!! That is your purpose for this clinic, RIGHT??
    I have had family members & friends attend these clinics. I know that they can barely hold their eyes open and fall over from a sitting position by taking the correct amount prescribed. I know there are those who “skim” the top of their liquid methadone to sell on the streets to buy their drug of choice. I think Dr Knox and Dr Hussein (sp?) were both getting young people & old people addicted to oxys etc… I think they are getting a kick-back from the methadone clinics. You can get methadone cheaper at the clinic than on the street. You are allowed to drive home heavily intoxicated from the drug as long as you have the “script”. This endangerous children and residents. I have not heard of a single SUCCESS story of a person being weened off their methadone. Only success stories of those who took their lives in their own hands and said I HAVE HAD ENOUGH of handing my money to someone else who isn’t getting me off drugs only giving one to substitute for another. Get them CLEAN!! That is what they are paying you for.

  8. David Gravely

    March 15, 2012 at 12:41 pm

    According to NOVUS, a medical detox center based in Florida, methadone is the fastest growing cause of narcotics deaths in America today. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, methadone overdoses increased 500% between 1999 and 2005…..that’s nearly 4,000 deaths, up from less than 800 in 1999.

    Methadone, unlike other opioid painkillers, stays in the bloodstream long after pain relief has worn off. Users will then take more, not realizing that they are still under the effects of the original dossage. Methadone can stay in the users system for up to 59 hours, as opposed to herion, which stay in the system for 4-6 hours.

    Like any other form of treatment or rehab, if used properly by both the patient and the doctor, then it has proven to be a succesful treatment option for drug abusers. The problem, however, comes when the system is abused. As others have said, patients are allowed to take the drug home to use at a later time. This does not give doctors the control needed to prevent abuse.

    As for meth clinics opening up another location for drug users and distributors to gather, I would suggest that it could also offer a place for police to survey who is coming and going, who is meeting, and who could possibly be in need of questioning for drug use and sales. Addicts will find somewhere to do what they are going to do, with our without meth clinics.

    While I am against bringing a meth clinic to Pulaski, if one were to ever come then I would hope that common sense and high standards would be used to gain patients access to the treatment. Manditory drug testing for all other drugs should be the first thing. If someone is truly coming there to get clean, then there should be no problem with this. I would also hope for an increased police presence in the area, both for security at the site and for survelance of those coming and going.

  9. NOOOOOO

    March 18, 2012 at 4:25 pm

    PLEASE DO NOT let this happen!! I wish I could believe that Methadone is a good treatment for addicts but I KNOW 1st hand that it isn’t. I was married to an addict. The pain pills and drinking on top of them made him crazy but he could function. On the Methadone he can’t. He has no quality of life what so ever. I can’t tell you how many times I came home to find him “out of it” from the Methadone in the chair with a lit cigarette hanging from his mouth!!!!! I thought he was dead more than once from the way he looked.
    People on Methadone should have their drivers licenses taken away. If they fall asleep mid sentence then how in the world can they keep their eyes open long enough to drive??????? THEY CAN”T!!!!! I fear for the their lives and everyone around them. Addicts do need help but I think drug detox should be an inpatient doctor supervised event. Help them……just don’t enable them to get a hold of a worse addiction. Teach them pain management because their bodies no longer help fight pain.
    To me it’s like sitting around watching a loved one die of cancer…I have had to do this also..it is exactly the same :(

  10. Samantha Travis

    March 20, 2012 at 12:04 am

    Some of these posts shock me. A methadone clinic could really help this town 8 out of 10 families in this town suffer because of drug use addiction and dealing drugs. Methadone ensures that withdrawal symptoms are mild so that a person can get off of drugs and keeps the person from being able to feel the “high” from drugs. We have children as young as 14 in this town doing and selling drugs! Our jails are over populated if the government would help tthese people it could drastically reduce crime and give people a better chance at life. I hope it comes to our town it would be a blessing!

    • Get Em Clean

      March 27, 2012 at 10:30 am

      Methadone is an addiction. Who cares if it has a lesser withdrawal effect if YOU ARE NEVER WITHDRAWN FROM IT. I have too many loved ones do the same as the post above. Fall over “out of it” in the most dangerous times. I cant believe you think putting everyone on a DRUG-Methadone makes themn DRUG FREE!! The methadone clinic is not helping them. The sad thing is only the Methadone USERS are saying it has helped them. No it hasn’t!! It has only saved you some money and gave you a free ticket to work and drive under the influence of drugs. I love my family and friends and wish I could help them be drug free…including METHADONE FREE.