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‘Methadone clinic’ still in the works

Approved amendment will give town a say in any future clinic plans

By MELINDA WILLIAMS

melinda@southwesttimes.com

The “methadone clinic” that plans to set up shop in the town of Pulaski has completed its initial phase in the licensing process.

Les Saltzberg, director of licensing for Virginia Department of Health and Developmental Services (VDHDS), said Pulaski Medical LLC completed the first phase Oct. 12. The next phase is submission of policies and procedures.

Applicants usually have up to a year to submit their policies and procedures. The VDHDS review generally takes one to four months to complete, “dependent upon the number of corrections needed,” according to Saltzberg.

The third, and final, phase before approval or denial would be a site visit.

Gary Gavornik of Easton, Pa. has filed with VDHDS for a license to operate an “opioid treatment center” in the Pulaski Mall unit formerly occupied by Pulaski Drugs and New River Valley Community Services. The town was notified of the application in December 2011 and, along with Pulaski County, has filed objections to the proposal.

Since the clinic is consistent with town zoning requirements at the time the application was filed, local officials are doubtful they can do anything to stop it. However, a zoning amendment approved by Pulaski Town Council Tuesday night will give it a say if any future clinics apply for a license to operate in town.

Under the new zoning requirements, “medical clinics” would be separately defined from “outpatient mental health and substance abuse clinics.” In this case, methadone or opioid clinics would be classified as a substance abuse clinic.

“Medical clinics,” such as family physician offices, would be allowed “by right” in Residential Office (RO), Local Business (B-1 and B-2) and Central Business (B-3) districts, and by special exception in Residential (R-1 and R-2) and Multi-Family (R-3) districts.

“Outpatient mental health and substance abuse clinics,” on the other hand, would be limited to B-2 districts and by special exception only. That means a public hearing and review by the planning commission and town council would be required before council voted to approve or deny the applicant’s petition to locate a clinic in a B-2 district.

Before the ordinance was amended Tuesday night, medical clinics as a whole were allowed as a “use by right” in the B-2 district in which Pulaski Medical LLC intends to locate.

If approved for licensing, the clinic will dispense medications, including methadone, to persons with addictions to opiate drugs such as heroine and pain relievers like OxyContin, morphine, Dilaudid and Percocet. The goal is to wean the person off drugs.

Comments

comments

11 Responses to ‘Methadone clinic’ still in the works

  1. Hate Druggie Obama voting losers

    November 15, 2012 at 4:58 pm

    That’s all that town needs to make it even more of a slum than what it is. If the clinics goes in, that town will never ever be nothing. Not that it is anything now…lol. Clinics like this makes the problem worse. It does not help. I know people who have been going to Galax for years, and guess what, they are no better now than they were years ago. I would say they are worse. Half of them sell their methadone to others which increases the amount of losers. Think there are alot of thefts going on now so people can get their drug money just think when this clinic arrives. Its not as far to travel and more people can get their methadone. The ones that don’t go to the clinic, they will break into your home to buy it from the ones that do.

  2. david

    November 17, 2012 at 11:46 pm

    Yep this will make pulaski a thriving srea for new business. Good thing we are also spending millions on a new school for when they comee

  3. david

    November 19, 2012 at 11:15 pm

    Just a question…why do you think most of the youth turn to alcohol and drugs in Pulaski? I know Pulaski has a huge drug problem but what does the town offer the youth? Ok they have a town pool…or frisby golf….but how much of this grabs the attention of the youth. How about the 50 – 60 something conservative town administrators collaborate and come up with something for them to do.

    Its not the same day and age where going to a football game on Friday and hunting on Saturday with church on Sunday age anymore. Instead of assisting with usage, and attempting to push the issue, administrators actually give something to the youth. WHAT DO KIDS HAVE TO DO IN THIS TOWN BUT GET HIGH! Do a poll and ask them what they want…how about a youth teen club…or a arcade..somewhere they can get together and hang out. If you ask youth who drink and use…I would say a large percentage would say they are bored!

    Come on Pulaski help the community instead of bringing it down. Gotta think of something, were losing all our talent, educated people and business because of poor decision our local government is making…..

  4. Being concerned doesn't matter to the town

    November 21, 2012 at 7:59 pm

    This is totally crazy. Saw it on the news last night. The town talks about bringing in better business that will make Pulaski improve itself but instead, it is bringing in a business that will lower the standards.

    Just last week it was in the Roanoke Times that the percentage of drug overdoses are extremely high and that something needs to be done. Methadone was included in that list of drugs that are being abused. Southwest Virginia and Pulaski alone are always in the paper when they want to speak of “Little Chicago”, drug abused central, defective brain problems which is causing a large amount of addicts, etc. Never is the town or county mentioned for something interesting or good.

    Also, the percentage of patrons to a methadone clinic are low income, barely making ends meet and spending large amounts of money (they don’t have) to visit the clinic to pick up doses of methadone. I still believe if they can afford to go to the clinic, they shouldn’t be allowed to have anything to do with Social Services assisting them in any fashion.

    It is not a medicinal clinic, it is a legalized drug dispensing facility. If someone in the government would do an audit, they would find that little to no one works down and off the drug. They are taken up so as not to come off. This way the company doesn’t run out of patrons and go broke. They keep them hooked to keep business.

    I live in the county but do not take children to the Town of Pulaski. I, as a consumer, would prefer going to Christiansburg then to go to Pulaski to shop.

    As David said, they need to worry more about business that will keep families in the area, kids entertained instead of having nothing to do. It’s not just kids boredom causing them to turn to alcohol and drugs, it’s their environment. They are watching their parents, relatives, and friends abusing and using drugs every day and it is made to be okay and a Town of Pulaski Life Style. Change what they see. Give them something that entertains, interests, and projects a future for all the young.

    It is not a Medical Clinic!!!! It deals in drugs. It controls the drugs and owned by a someone that took it off the street and put all the money in their pocket. It doesn’t get rid of the problem, it just places control in one persons hands. It weans them off an opiate and gets them hooked on Methadone. Replacing one drug for another drug.

    The Town Manager and all others should be watching out for their residents and the future residents by preventing these things from happening.

    If they get their license, the Sheriff’s Dept should have their deputies sitting outside the clinic and those that drive off should be pulled over because they are all DUI. 100% of them. Protect the children, your wives, your husbands, your parents, your neighbors, and your friends. Keep them off the street Safety first. Methadone sedates them just as alcohol does and we can’t drive drunk.

  5. Charlotte

    November 26, 2012 at 2:45 pm

    Like I’ve said before. Pulaski wants to keep the drug users there and keep them on the drugs. It’s a real shame what Pulaski has become.

    Bring in factories and hire these people. Give them a chance to work and make something of themselves instead of bringing more drugs into the town.

    Good grief John Hawley, I thought you were a better business man than this.

  6. Robert

    November 29, 2012 at 10:03 pm

    I am not necessarily in favor of a methadone clinic locating in Pulaski, but after haring about it I have done some research about it. Almost every study has found that addicts on methadone maintenance treatment have lower crime rates than when they are actively abusing drugs. Most research also shows that crime rates around methadone clinics isn’t especially higher than any other places. In fact, convenience stores are the biggest predictor of how much crime is in an area…. Just some food for thought….

  7. Chasity Marshall

    December 1, 2012 at 10:19 pm

    It is really sad to hear of a building coming in this area, that promotes nothing but a negative response to our community. I lived in Pulaski County all of my life and the past seven years I’ve lived in the town of Pulaski. I hear of nothing that caters to the low income families in our area. If you look around our town is only striving for the ones with money. The Pulaski Theater is a prime example, its caters to those with money than those low income.Why is it not playing movies every weekend to give families a place to go together to enjoy a family outing, we once had a skate center here that provided a place to keep the kids off the street, but what else is their for families to enjoy here. I know we can go as a family and drive by, our local methadone clinic, right here in town.
    Our school buses are going to pass by every day so kids can see their moms, dads, uncles and aunts get there daily fix or supplies so they can go and sell it on the streets. This is not what Pulaski needs; but will be apart of our town because we have no voice!

  8. louise

    December 5, 2012 at 8:43 am

    I THINK THIS WILL ONLY BRING HARM TO OUR SMALL TOWN. This clinic is only a block from Our home! A home that we have worked all our lives for. We have lived in the town of Pulaski for 24 years & we own a small buisness here for 16 years.We are Taxpayers. It breaks my heart & any hope for this fading town to know that a Meth Clinic is opening in our Hometown. I dont condone nor will I ever support drug addicts. THEY WILL NEVER RECOVER AS LONG AS OUR TAX DOLLARS ARE SUPPLYING THEIR HABIT FOR FREE! I find it quite appauling. These people will be breaking the law. They will be getting high & then leaving the clinic & getting behind the wheel of a vehicle, which they are not suppose to do & will be endangering peoples lives!!!!. WORK HARDER EVERYONE, THEY ARE DEPENDING ON YOU & YOUR TAX DOLLARS!

  9. Mary

    December 8, 2012 at 1:15 am

    We can’t have a nice hotel for guest to our Town. We couldn’t have our own Walmart.
    Everything new is all about food. So we can feed everybody crap.
    But no where to be found is a nice place to sit down and eat after church, or events. We have to drive everywhere.

    (Looking forward to the Golden Corral in Fairlawn.)

    But we will attract drug addicts, we have enough of them as it is.

    Maybe some new housing, with rent higher for the middle class that can afford it. And jobs to support the familys. Every thing is geared to those that are never ever going to improve. And they breed.

    I wish I could just pop down to Pet Smart, or a Hobby Lobby. But no, that is never going to happen.

    I could pay my morgage with the gas I run out going to the places I need to go. Cause my town doesn’t care.

    Makes me so sad…..Where is this place going to be?

  10. Earl K

    December 12, 2012 at 8:13 pm

    While I understand the fact that the majority are not in favor of a methadone clinic, there are a number of mistakes in these posts. First – the Town of Pulaski, the Town council, and every government official to the Town Manager, Town Attorney, etc, etc. HAS OPPOSED ALLOWING THIS CLINIC TO COME TO PULASKI!!!! Every effort has been made to stop this and unfortunately it appears that there is nothing that can be done to stop it. So you can stop blaming the folks if Town government because they have done everyghing they can. As far as complaints about drug use in Pulaski being so High. Well that is simiply not true. Our problems in Pulaski are similar to other local small towns in the area and the crime statistics as published by the Virginia State Police show that Pulaski is not more of a drug haven than towns like Christiansburg, Radford, Wytheville, Marion, etc., What Pulaski has is a REPUTATION problem. And remember, everytime you complain and moan about Pulaski you just continue to perpetuate the problem. Show some pride in your Town. Stop complaining and do something instead of whining and complaining.

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