‘Methadone clinic’ proposed

Pulaski officials to express opposition to state


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. Wendy Schleich

    June 13, 2012 at 10:12 am

    How about bringing jobs to this community. Agree with the statements that it will impact the community in a negative way. How about bringing a COSTCO, Target or some other big company to this community to provide employment and growth to this community. The people who live here have nothing, our youth have very little to look forward to in this community. We have such a high drug problem because there is nothing here for people to want to make things better for themselves. Our youth are not going to want to stay in this community. No growth, no youth, ends up to be a dead town.

    • Ashley Watson

      November 15, 2012 at 11:59 am

      seems like the youth need help getting off drugs you would be surprised what a strong mind can accomplish
      A franchise really yeah that will really help bet the small business owners would love that

  2. Melissa

    June 13, 2012 at 1:14 pm

    Pulaski is dead already. Im guessing this is how they chose to bring business to the area? This county is full of drugs already. Now they are just making it legal! Our kids have nothing to do for recreation. When I was young we went to the movies, skating, to the arcade and bowling. All that is here now is bowling. After living in Pulaski county for 46 years I moved out last year, and I will NEVER go back. Methadone treatment is just a legal way of swapping one drug for another. Pulaski has changed so much since I was a teenager. Ive watched it turn to trash.

  3. Geez!

    June 13, 2012 at 1:20 pm

    The only people who are happy about this clinic coming to Pulaski are the druggies that are having to drive to Galax or Salem to get your dose right now! Any positive comments on here are coming from addicts. No clean person would be in favor of this! So when you see comments from these people, dont comment on their post, just look over them!

    • Ashley Watson

      November 15, 2012 at 12:03 pm

      Im clean and totally condone and u know why im clean thanks to the clinics and counseling guess you never had a drug problem so you wouldn’t know the pain and anger it provides blame the government for all the addicts strung though the U.S.

      • shaylyn huff

        February 15, 2013 at 4:15 am

        I couldnt agree with you more! people who have never fought addiction really dont undersand what it is like!!


    June 18, 2012 at 9:58 am

    I would like ot propose that the potential clinic representatives have an open meeting with the citizens of Pulaski and allow them to ask questions. I personally would like to know just how much profit the clinic operators stand to gain. I would also like to know how much the dosages cost per person perday,year and potential cost outlay for the remainder of the time they will be on it. I want to know how the individuals plan to pay for their dosages and how much the of the cost will come out of their checks from public assistance and just how many of the participants are employed and are insured. In some of the emails I have noticed that there is some confusion between Methadone and Methamphetamine. There is quite a difference but the potential for abuse is still there for each of these substances. Hillbilly Crack as methamphetamine is commonly called has nearly destroyed the rural communities in this area. I also see the possible damage to our environment related to that drug. Methadone may not be “cooked” in the household and be environmentally dangerous, but the increase in traffic accidents after the individuals recieve their dosage and get behind the wheel could be as potentially harmful, if, perhaps they pull in front of a fuel truck, or get stuck on a railroad track and cause derailment. Farfetched? Not really. Just watch some of these individuals drive away from the clinic in Galax and then get back to me.

  5. jj

    August 21, 2012 at 12:03 am

    methadone is legal. methadone is help to those trying to be legal. methadone is help to those with back problems and pain (because the doctors dont want to help their patients)

  6. Ashley Watson

    September 14, 2012 at 2:45 pm

    a methadone clinic saved my life after a car accident i was put on so many narcotics I was severely dependent and if not were for the clinic that gracefully weened me off I would have been buying of the streets contributing to the crimes that come with unperscribed drugs sales, and or possibly overdosed. At a clinic they monitor the methadone to a specific persons needs. They do help. Saved my life I can finally have a normal existence again.

  7. Eugene Mathena

    September 15, 2012 at 11:16 am

    In Pulaski it is a Bad Idea to have such a facility. I’ve heard of people going to those places 20 years or more for their “WEENING” and only to have the Clinic become their LEGAL DEALER. If you have any STREET smarts about yourself, then you know this is a Bad Idea.

  8. David

    September 19, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    Hey this is a great way for all the addicts to get high legally!!!!! The State of Virginia and the Department of Health needs a “Romney Reboot!”

    • Amar

      October 6, 2012 at 7:58 pm

      You need to be straight with him. Ask him what is more imanotprt the drugs or ur family? If he can not confidently say ur family end it with him. You and ur kids do not deserve that. It is best for them to be as far away from him as possible. If he can honestly say the family (try to ask him when hes straight) then tell him he needs to get help or he is going to lose the best thing he could ever have. Don’t use it as a threat just be honest with him. The treatments won’t help him unless he lets them help him. Try to be understanding to what he is going through be supportive but at the same time be strong and firm and smart. Do what is best for you and your children. Most addicts are abusers. Theres a very good chance that he will become violent. Do you really want your children growing up around that?! They are so young, so impressionable. If they see him acting this way they will grow up to think it is ok. If he begins being violent or abusive in any manner and you tolerate it they will think that all women should accept being treated like that. My father was an alcoholic/drug addict, and he could get violent. I am his only child. When she saw what hed become she got rid of him. I saw him once when I was 6 for a visitation and I remember everything was fine then towards the end he became very irrate and i remember him and my mom arguing. And she put me in the car and he grabbed me out he was all sweaty and I was terrified and screaming my mom got me off of him and i remember him putting his sweaty face close to mine and saying something to me i couldnt understand. at the time i didnt no what was going on, but now it makes me so angry to no that he came to see me high!!! and the argument was he watned to stop the visit and go get high then come back to finish the visit he reallly needed it. It makes me sick. I love my mother everyday for getting rid of him and doing everything in her power to keep him away from me (not that it was really hard half the time he forgot i existed) I saw him about 7 yrs ago i was 14 he didnt recognize me i didnt recognize him. My sis told me who it was and when it was brought to my attention i saw he looked just like me .or i looked like him whatever.the point is dont make your children live through that hell.

  9. Britt

    October 4, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    As a resident I think this is a BAD idea. If you just drive through Pulaski on any given day you can see so many drug deals going on, sometimes the same people at the same spots more than once in a day. Lots of these people whom will go to this clinic to get help will more than likely sell for money to buy the drugs they like to take. So some of the people that are for it are these folks who would like to be able to have it here to be able to walk to since they are criminals with suspended driver licenses and or people who have NO money from buying drugs to afford a vehicle. Some and that is a very slim few will use the clinic for what it should be used. As a mother I DO NOT want to be on the rode driving with my child in the car while there are legally high people out not caring about anything but themselves. BAD IDEA PULASKI!

  10. Freddie

    October 5, 2012 at 11:22 pm

    Ok for people that get on here and talk like they know
    Everything about it! Sure sounds to me like maybe some of them have done a little drugs there self! Who ever these people are that don’t know what they are talking about very badly!need to read up on what methadone really does.


      October 15, 2012 at 9:36 am

      Freddie, I myself have not done any drugs of any kind, but I have worked in the healthcare field for over 40 years. I have seen the aftereffects of the “treatment” when the person being treated gets behind the wheel and gets lost going home when he lives less than a mile from the facility. I have also seen many that say they are “drug free” stoned and trying to do a job that they are hopelessly unable to perform because of the treatment. And, because it is LEGAL you must put your other employees at risk of being injured by this moron that is nodding off and nearly falling into the equipment that they are supposed to be using to do a job. Sorry, I don’t see it as a viable alternative to getting off drugs.

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