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‘Methadone clinic’ almost licensed

By MELINDA WILLIAMS

melinda@southwesttimes.com

 

Licensing is almost completed for a “methadone clinic” that will be locating in Pulaski Mall.

Les Saltzberg, director of licensing for Virginia Department of Health and Developmental Services, said Friday, “It looks fairly likely they’ll be licensed within a few weeks.”

That clears the way for Pulaski Medical LLC to proceed with setting up the clinic in the mall unit formerly occupied by Pulaski Drugs and New River Valley Community Services. The company has already been advertising for employees.

Gary Gavornik of Easton, Pa. filed with VDHDS in late 2011 for a license to operate the “opioid treatment center.” The clinic will dispense medications, including methadone, to persons with addictions to opiate drugs and pain medications. The goal is to wean the person off the drugs.

The town of Pulaski and Pulaski County filed objections to the clinic with VDHDS. However, since the clinic was consistent with town zoning at the time the application was filed, officials were doubtful they would be able to stop it.

The property’s B-2 zoning allowed medical clinics as a “use by right” in December 2011. Since that time, council has amended the ordinance to require a “special exception,” thus giving the town more control over such facilities in the future.

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

Comments

comments

43 Responses to ‘Methadone clinic’ almost licensed

  1. Cathy

    July 29, 2013 at 10:21 am

    Are these privately owned clinics? If so is this one locally owned?

    • Town Citizen

      August 2, 2013 at 1:52 pm

      Cathy…
      The owner of this “clinic” lives in PA. He will not be taking up residency in the Town of or County of Pulaski. So we the residence of the Town and County of Pulaski will have to suffer the rise in crime that will take place. THANK YOU STATE LEGISLATION!

  2. Mark Capps

    July 29, 2013 at 12:18 pm

    Wow this is a great thing. Let’s bring more drug users into one of the most pillhead towns in America. This is why people call it Pillaski. Think you have poverty and crime now. Just wait till the hard core druggies from the woodwork get to have a really cool place to get a fix in a broke little town like Pillaski. Wake up voters, there has come a time to clean house of the looney tune so-call elected officials. JOBS and really good paying JOBS would be a better idea, don’t you think.

    • Zac Talbott, Director | NAMA Recovery TN

      August 1, 2013 at 9:47 am

      If your assertion that Pulaski is “one of the most pillhead towns in America” is true then the potential patients of this new opioid treatment program are clearly ALREADY there. Furthermore it’s important to know that multiple credible studies and research reports on outpatient opioid treatment programs – like the one about to open it’s doors in Pulaski – have NO affect on or a relation to increases in illegal drug and otherwise general criminal activity. The statistical facts, interestingly and importantly, actually clearly show that there is a direct correlation between new opioid treatment programs (OTPs) & a DECREASE in criminal activity, convictions and incarcerations. Property values have been proven to NOT be affected by the opening of an OTP, new incidences of HIV and HCV infections decrease, previously dysfunctional people during active addiction return to work, school & refocus on their responsibilities, families and overall health. For every $1 put into medication-assisted treatment taxpayers get an $14 return – mostly in reduced incarceration costs! There is a LOT of stigma surrounding addiction disorders and substance use disorders & even MORE stigma & misinformation surrounding medication assisted treatment for opioid dependence. Let’s try to all research, focus on & raise awareness about and around the scientific, medical and/or research *facts* and data. It’s important to know the truth if we truly care about addressing the opioid addiction and overdose epidemic plaguing our country in truly proven effective ways. The opening of more OTPs, like this one, is probably the single most effective and accessible thing ANY community can do to turn the tide that is taking lives and freedom at alarmingly increasing rates. We have a moral obligation to the truth and what the medical and treatment community KNOW with certainty from 45+ years of research and studies. Lives are at stake here. There’s no place for stigma or even one word of misinformation.

      Why this outpatient opioid treatment program is continually referred to as simply a “methadone clinic” by the media is misleading because methadone is only ONE of the potential medications their patients may incorporate into their individualized treatment plan, and the medications (plural) available for the treatment of opioid dependence, regardless of which medication is chosen & most appropriate in each individual patient’s situation, are ONE part of a comprehensive treatment modality. Folks are reacting & commenting as though this is going to be a place where “drug addicts” from wide and far will flock to obtain methadone & that’s it. NOTHING could be further from the truth. Individual counseling, group therapy, medical care and oversight by a physician and nursing staff, fully functional lab, patient advocacy and advisory groups & other services, approaches & opportunities that have been proven to encourage and aid in recovery from opioid use disorder are equally available, encouraged, emphasized & (in some cases, like ongoing individual counseling, group therapy & urine toxicology screens) REQUIRED in addition to adherence to an approved & proven effective pharmacological component for which there are more than 5 different medications and/or formulations to consider – methadone is ONE (proven extremely effective when administered properly) potential medication that might be used.

      • BESSIE85

        August 6, 2013 at 9:35 am

        I noticed that you are from Tennessee. I also recently read where the citizens and town council in JOHNSON CITY were able to come up with a way to block the licensure of a similar program. IF they work as well as you indicate and do not cause an increase in crime statistics, then why do the general population argue against them coming to their town? Could it be that even though they are”misinformed” as you intimate, they are tired of witnessing auto accidents because the drivers should not be behind the wheel after they recieve their dose, or perhaps it is because they have evidence that supports the theory that quite a bit of the “dosages” are being sold on the street and not taken as prescribed because the followup is so poorly done? Believe me, I would love to see less drug use and the people be able to live productive lives, but, unfortunately, this is not the way to bring that about.

        • Bud

          August 14, 2013 at 9:44 pm

          Said the one who apparently does not realize the “take home” doses were only made available in the first place due to lack of local clinic availability. Said the one concerned of people behind the wheel after dosing (which, by the way, takes about 45 minutes to take effect), would rather have
          Pulaski residents travel back home from Galax or Roanoke for an hour, rather then downtown and back home in under an half hour. These are the type of logistic most people do not even consider. The fact the you think a better solution would be for these people to give it up cold turkey for you is, frankly, irrelevant.

          • Bessie85

            August 17, 2013 at 9:05 am

            Bud, I have witnessed many people (including family) begging to get off drugs. I have seen the destruction it has caused in their lives and their family. I do not in any way think I am better than anyone else. Nor do I agree with trading one addiction for another. ALL of us have an addiction of one type or another be it drugs, alcohol, cigarettes or food. My worry for many of these folks is this, an employer that does hire them is going to constantly be in fear of being sued by another employee if, as you say, it takes 45 minutes to become effective, and an accident occurs as a result of their sluggishness. Right now, I realize that many employers are unwilling to give them a chance not because they are trying to get clean, it is because of the liability. The person that is legitimately clean will have difficulty getting a job if they have a felony conviction as well. They are virtually trapped in a downward spiral and it all starts with the first time they want to “feel good”. No, by the grace of God, I will never feel that I am better than anyone, I just made the right choices with His help.

  3. ANON1

    July 30, 2013 at 8:51 am

    Actually “My Two Cents”, Suboxone is actually just as bad if not worse than Methadone. I know several people that take Suboxone and it is harder to come off of than Methadone. All these drugs are an alternative to opioids or drug of choice. They are just making it easier and legal to get access to. Both of these drugs are worse than pain pills or drug of choice. Please if you are considering going to this “clinic” think about it, these medications are highly addictive and do not yield much of a success rate. Do your self a favor go to a rehab or use other resources. DO NOT do this, it could change your life and not for the better either. Take some advice from someone with experience and has struggled with this for almost 7 years!

  4. livinganlovingmylife

    July 30, 2013 at 1:22 pm

    I know first hand what methadone maintenance does, I have been driving from Pulaski County to Galaxy for two years, my life is normal now, and no I don’t feel like I need more, and I don’t pond my belongings. Before I went to treatment I ponder all of my expensive jewelry….that I miss. I lost everything I had do to addiction to opiates. When people go to these clinics it allowed for them to actually feel normal. Alot of pointed pole do not realize the extent of this disease. Yes it may start out as a social thing in this Lil ol town that has been fighting opiate addiction for years. Imagine being 18, young and dumb, allowing yourself to fall victim to drugs. Then you find yourself addicted, body hurting because your body doesn’t produce it’s natural hormones anymore due to ignorance at a young age. That is the terrible cycle. Yes it may be replacing, but it is monitered. You are drug tested weekly to make sure no other substances are being . My father was an I’ve drug user, he has been clean himself for over a year. So take it from an addict who no longer steals, deceived, and used trickery to get high the program works if you do right by it, ofcourse there are people who abuse it.

  5. livinganlovingmylife

    July 30, 2013 at 1:26 pm

    Excuse all of my incorrect jargon, I accidentally submitted before I was able to proofread.

    • Va Girl

      August 12, 2013 at 5:06 pm

      I’m glad you and your dad have been successful cleaning up from your addiction. Sadly those who think they are better than others (who have illegal addictions) are not willing to look into the mirror and realize they are NO different. Judging can be an addiction for many. When someone judges another without having experienced what another has been or is going through is downright wrong (IMO). Looking down one’s nose at another who is simply trying to get their life back is…well….evil to me.

      I grew up in Tampa. Been here almost 30 yrs. now and trust me…Pulaski’s drug and crime problems are NOTHING compared to what I left behind 30 yrs. Some folks just have no clue and never will. This is a great area. One simply needs to find the GOOD and not do all they can to find what’s wrong.

  6. Alive today

    July 30, 2013 at 9:36 pm

    By the grace of God I was able to use methadone under the supervision of the Galax clinic to wean off pain medicine. Crime rates will decline and addicts get their lives back. So grateful others will be able to experience recovery now. So many in need. The cost is minimal compared to using on the street so there will be fewer crimes. Hide and watch. Also, these comments are hurtful when you are judging people and treatment options if you haven’t walked in our shoes.

    • Zac Talbott, Director | NAMA Recovery TN

      August 1, 2013 at 10:09 am

      Well said, “Alive today.” What you have just born witness to is what I see and hear from patients on a daily basis. I hope people will look at the science & facts and put aside stigma and personal biases. The National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) consensus panel on ‘Effective Medical Treatment of Opiate Addiction’ is the most unbiased, credible & comprehensive resources/statements on this issue.and the NIH’s internationally renowned, recognized & respected unbiased objective credibility can NOT be questioned. The Consensus Panel research projects from the NIH culminate in definitive findings and declarations on the subject before them, and the consensus panels we’re created as a sort of “science court” on matters that have lots of disagreement & are extremely important. The Consensus Panel statements declare what all currently known & accessible science, research, facts & data say about the matter. And when it comes to the medical treatment of opioid addiction they are VERY clear that methadone is the “gold standard” and that medication assisted treatments should be expanded to increase access, covered by all gov’t and private health insurance plans, fully implemented in every aspect of the criminal justice system, AND many other things. This treatment saves lives… Recovery happens; YOU are the evidence! Keep speaking out!

  7. OMG

    July 31, 2013 at 1:04 pm

    At first allow me to congratulate Alive Today for successfully getting off of your addiction. Now as for the Pillaski Comments, please move. Yes, there is an addiction problem in Pulaski, but look around ya, there is addiction problems everywhere!!! I know people who unlike Alive today who did not benefit from the Methadone Clinic, because they did not want to. I am proud to live in our community and I am not an addict. The problem in Pulaski is the people who can’t get off their high horses and think they know what is best for everyone else.

    • Va Girl

      August 12, 2013 at 5:08 pm

      Amen OMG….Amen!!!! I suggest those who find Pulaski to be a problem move to Ybor City in Tampa. Let’s see if they survive a walk down any alley in DAYLIGHT!!

  8. Pamela Ramey

    July 31, 2013 at 10:43 pm

    I know people who have went through their program and have since gotten their lives. back. they have been able to hold down jobs have a home a new car,provide for their families,The only thing that bothers me is its cost yet these people are safer going there instead of buying from the streets,Most people get started on these drugs innocently from injury or surgery mostly starting from a hospital or doctors office.

  9. Toni smates

    August 4, 2013 at 10:25 pm

    Pulaski does need help with drug issues (remember Donald Boysaw, & Elliott Webb), denial is why it continues to breed in the small town mentality .
    Also , do not believe it is by coincidence that a person from Easton ,Pa has selected Pulaski . Money is available and the county has been too Ignorant to open such a facility and offer much needed services as well as jobs to the surrounding communities .

    Wake Up Pulaski & Face Your Demons !!!!!!

  10. Skeptic

    August 8, 2013 at 5:46 pm

    The answer is the manifest presence of a holy God. Unfortunately we have many churches on every corner and many people walking around denying the power thereof complaining about an issue that can only be changed by a tangable life changing anointing from our father. It will take a dying to ourselves, loving, serving, and reaching out to the hurt and broken. Unfortunately when most realize to reach that place takes holiness, cleans hands, and a pure heart they fall into the place of judgement not understanding that people are hurting and don’t wanna be where they are no more than we want them in that state. The only answer to anything is love, and a holy God working through us. To be connected to him we must plugged in. And we can do things as he did because he goes to the father. We surely are a lost people. No worse than a broken and wounded person that’s battling with an addiction.God help us.

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