Sups backing town against clinic


Pulaski County Board of Supervisors will back the town of Pulaski in its objection to a proposed “methadone” clinic in Pulaski Mall.

I have mixed feelings (about the clinic), but I think the town has some good points,” Draper District Supervisor Dean Pratt said. He was referring to a letter the town sent to Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services in Richmond, stating its objections to the clinic.

The town received a letter from Health and Developmental Services in December indicating Gary Gavornik of Easton, Pa. filed for a license to operate an “opioid treatment center” in the store adjacent to Save-A-Lot and originally occupied by Pulaski Drugs.

Pratt’s motion to support Pulaski’s position was seconded by Robinson District Supervisor Charles Bopp and was approved by a 4-0-1 vote. Ingles District Supervisor Ranny O’Dell was absent from Monday night’s budget work session, where the vote was taken.

The motion included three reasons for supporting the town: principle, alternative programs already available locally and lack of local control over clinic operations.

Community Development Director said he feels the town evaluated the issue thoroughly before making a decision to object.

Utt noted town officials took a good approach, making valid objections as to why it would not be good for the town, such as the ongoing tornado recovery, the fact the town is economically restructuring from its industrial background and that there are alternative programs available.

They didn’t want to take the ‘NIMBY’ (not in my back yard) approach,” he added.

Massie District Supervisor Andy McCready said he served on New River Valley Community Services Board for six years, so he called its executive director, Harvey Barker, to get his input.

He said Barker indicated that while it would offer community services another tool for drug treatment, the impact it would have on the community would be determined by how it is run.

If the facility has a full-time doctor and counselors on staff, it “could be a positive” for the community, McCready said of Barker’s summation.

But we have no idea from this (paperwork filed for licensing) whether it will meet those guidelines,” said McCready. “There are way too many unknowns.”

It was pointed out that methadone treatment is “not a cure, it’s harm reduction.”

In other words, the methadone is not as hard on the addict’s body as the other drugs they are addicted to and since addicts certified for the program can get the methadone free, they don’t turn to theft and other crimes to support their habits.



13 Responses to Sups backing town against clinic

  1. andrew

    March 7, 2012 at 12:23 pm

    Methadone would not be free. Patients would pay a daily dosing fee and induction doctor fee. ALL clinics have full time doctors who provide the patient with the prescription for the program. During induction all patients must be evaluated by the doctor to verify addiction, and be admitted into the program. They all have full staffs of counselors and nurses to dose patients. Clinics also maintain strict guidelines as far as patient cleanliness (I.e;) urine analysis and mandatory drug counseling. It would drastically reduce opioid related crimes in the area, and give addicts some hope for quality of life. It’s time our community treat these people and their disease, rather than criminalizing them. Not to mention the tax payer money saved from avoided unnecessary drug incarceration. The war on drugs has failed, because it’s not actually a war on drugs, it’s a war on the people addicted to them. Alcohol is the most deadly and habit forming substance out there. So imagine if we through all the alcoholics in jail.. that will never happen because half on Congress, and even the previously mentioned local members of government.

    • Jackie

      March 26, 2012 at 11:41 pm

      Instead of drug detox and drug rehab programs, which actually qualify as treatments, methadone clinics use the heroin-like prescription narcotic painkiller methadone to “treat” addictions to narcotics, switching patients from the original narcotic addiction to another narcotic, methadone. Methadone clinics do no good as most who start down the path of methadone never get off. Sure that’s great for the pharmaceutical companies, the clinic, and the doctor, but it is not helpful to the patient at all. We need to build treatment facilities in Pulaski, but Methadone doesn’t even begin to qualify as “Treatment.”

  2. Mrs. Concerned parent

    March 8, 2012 at 6:36 pm

    There have been a few writings that I have read about this particular matter. There has been information that is incorrect being relayed to the people of Pulaski County and I feel someone needs to correct some of these false statements. First off, there are two clinics that are relatively close to the county, as is. One in Roanoke and the other is located in Galax. If or when the clinic goes up–the only positive thing is for the addicts, which is they will be saving gas. It has been written that if an addict qualifies, or such, that they will receive Methadone for free. This is absolutely false–each person who goes to the clinic pays for their dose, whether daily or weekly. The last I was informed, was that each dose costs around $20.00 or so. The clinic does not deal with insurance companies, thus the money comes directly out of the pockets of these addicts. Some have stated that the clinic will help bring the crime rate down that is caused by addicts trying to get their “fix”, such as break-ins. I don’t feel this will cause any changes, as the addict is going to be faced with having to make sure they can pay for their daily dose from the clinic anyhow. It has also been said that the clinic may help to prevent addicts from wandering the streets-selling and purchasing their drug of choice. Again, this is not true. As a matter of fact, some of those who go to the clinic and are able to take a weekly dose home, have turned back around to place it on the streets-offering a “fix” for another addict to continue his addiction via illegal purchase. It is, sadly, a revolving door. Also, the program is constantly being praised for helping the addicts that truly want to come off of their opioid of choice–I’d like for them to offer proof of this, as I’ve been told that the clinic begins a patient on a particular dose and continues to move it higher until the “patient” tells them that they are not craving any longer. Once this addict is on the dose that he/she desires, then they are able to stay on that amount for quite a long time…years, in fact. This becomes a long-term managing program with no real intent in bring the patient down. Why? Because they are a legalized form of drug dealers. Because the government gets to put their hands in the pockets of the profits from the clinic. The intent of the Methadone clinic when it was created was to offer a substance that could help those on heroin-a horrifically addictive drug that a person can die from when withdrawing from the substance, unlike those who just feel like they are dying when withdrawing from opioids. The town of Pulaski doesn’t need an additional mark on it’s already tarnished reputation. Recently, the town has been trying to improve the area, including re-facing and building homes. The town wants to bring people back-people that want to rebuild. This clinic will bring people, indeed. Yet, it will be addicts that the town attracts and with the decline in home purchases and increase in rental property at lower than normal prices–well, the town will finally begin to repopulate. You may say this is just my opinion on the matter, and perhaps it is, but what I say is validated. I have, unfortunately, watched family and friends go to the clinic in Galax. One of them, who was addicted to opioids, stated that she wishes she’d never have gone; that it was the worst decision of her life and is unable to break from the addiction to the Methadone. As a parent of a child(ren) within Pulaski County, I don’t feel I need to have one in my backyard! It’s also been said that the clinic complies with the zoning requirements-that it is, at least, a half-mile from an school in any direction. A HALF OF A MILE?! There is a daycare that is located near where the clinic is possibly going up–small children near a place that will be flooded daily by addicts. This concerns me for several reasons, but one that most don’t consider is how many vehicle accidents occur near the Galax clinic due to the “patients” getting higher doses than they should be and getting behind a wheel. This is beyond dangerous! The one thing, that bothers me above all else, with these clinics is the fact that even if a “patient” comes up “dirty” during a urine screening–even numerous times, that they are allowed to continue in the program! How can this help any addict? Just slap them on the wrist and let them continue on? This clinic doesn’t offer or require additional counseling or other outpatient help. It doesn’t offer psychological help, as it’s been medically proven that the majority of addicts have some kind of mental illness to some degree. If someone or state is concerned about addiction and such in an area–why not try to figure out how to be able to offer help for addicts such as rehab for particular periods, counseling, and so on. Let us not just hand out drugs as if we are handing out trays to the hungry from a church! Why? Because the majority of income-based addiction helping centers/clinics are run on government/state funding…and apparently, these type of places aren’t as important as a clinic that does no more than offer drugs legally, which is much more of a profit gaining place. Also, there are other medication, which contain blockers that are now available for opioid addicts–why not only allow such to be offered for these particular types of addicts. These medications block them from being able to take more opioid, which Methadone does not. Let us look at other options to help these people, instead of placing them on something they are already addicted to and go to get for $20/day verses paying $1/mg!! What would you choose if you were an addict? Yeah, I’d take my money elsewhere—to the clinic in the middle of a town! This is NOT what our, already easily influenced, children need!

  3. andrew

    March 12, 2012 at 5:55 pm

    Which addict has to steal more?; the one supporting a street habit of HUNDREDS of dollars DAILY, or the on paying $14 a day. Which is the price of Roanoke, and Galax clinics. Oh, and while you’re on your misguided crusade against legal drug dealers, point your finger at the A.B.C. store, and every other alcohol retailer.

  4. andrew

    March 12, 2012 at 5:59 pm

    Oh, and the alternative blocking Med you refer to is still under copyright, and not available for generic manufacturing, cost upward of $24 a day from the pharmacy, plus doctor fees. Oh, and by the way, that drug is offered at the clinics too. Everyone’s genetic makeup is different. One size does not fit all.

  5. Mike

    March 25, 2012 at 9:34 pm

    The only “winner” in this scenario is the clinic that makes money by keeping people coming back for their substitute drug. Methadone is not a cure. In fact, it’s not even a satisfactory Band-Aid.

    If someone really needs a clinic “services”-they should move to Roanoke or Galax. Our town should have other priorities than funneling money to an out-of-state enterprise.

    I support the government officials attempts to prevent the opening of such a clinic in Pulaski.

  6. Concerned Resident Pulaski Co

    March 27, 2012 at 11:48 pm

    First, Supervisor’s – I pat on the back for fighting this issue and for thinking of the citizens and children in our community. I recently saw a Reality Show on Cable that showed citizens taking back their town by placing a Ban on Medicinal Pharmaceuticals because they found that if they are private owned, it could be done. Once other towns found that the citizens were winning, other towns started doing the same. The ban against these Health Food Medicinal Pharmaceuticals came to pass and they had to close. They were illegal.

    Place it on the Ballot. Put it up for a Vote. Each town in Virginia can take their town’s back by placing a Ban of Methadone and even Suboxone Clinics on the Ballot since they are individually and privately owned; letting the citizens speak by casting their vote. Make them illegal. The Medicinal Pharmacy’s thought that they would win but found there were more citizens against it.

    For Government Officials: If the clinic wins – laws and regulations ought to be placed on these clinics.

    1. All individuals should be placed in the DEA’s and Pharmaceutical Drug Database just like all who receive prescriptions for narcotics and get them from pharmacy’s locally. They should not be anonymous. This will let the authorities know who they are and how much they are physically under the influence of.

    2. If these individuals choose to take more than 50 mg of Methadone a day, medical suspension of their driver’s license should be mandatory to protect every one on the highway. It’s illegal to drink and drive and it doesn’t take much alcoholic to make it illegal to drive.

    3. If these individuals go to the Methadone Clinic to spend this much money on a habit, it should be illegal for them to receive financial assistance from Social Services. If they can afford their habit, they can afford to buy food and clothes for their family.

    4. If these individuals choose to go to the Methadone Clinic and they fail their drug test more than once, they should at that time, be removed from the program and not allowed to utilize the facility again. It should be illegal for these clinics to give a patient any Methadone on top of the drug that is in their body at that time. After the first failure, they should be drug-free before they are allowed to utilize the program again.

    5. The government or town should set a mandatory regulation that any individuals that utilize Methadone Clinics which is to wean those off of other opioid, have a maximum of 6 months time to do so. If they are not off in 6 months, then it is not a weaning program at all.

    6. Make it so that the DEA, Drug Enforcement Agents, and Local Enforcements officers are able to keep an eye on the clinic and all those that utilize the facility. The individuals shouldn’t have a problem with this if they are really going for help and not for a “fix”.

    This is for Andrew:

    Andrew you are right. One size doesn’t fit all when it comes to drug of choice. You seem to miss the fact that most responders have friends, relatives, and acquaintances that are utilizing the methadone clinic so they are well aware of what the end result is.

    Genetic make up has nothing to do with the available options, it is the mental choice of the addict. What they prefer. Severe Alcoholics take Anti-buse, makes them deathly ill if they were to drink alcohol; they know this and choose not to get sick. The choice for addicts will not make them sick unless taken while on opioids, it will only help prevent them from getting their high from other drugs but they can get high from taking it.

    As far as ABC stores – It is 100% illegal to drive drunk. So are you saying it should be illegal for Methadone patients to drive, as well. Me too! Also, Alcoholics – when they go to rehab, I guarantee you, they don’t start them on a gallon of Beer and wean them down until they are clean. Not going to happen. It’s cold Turkey. Detox for 7 days, and then rehabilitation and counseling. Serious alcoholics go through tremors and withdraw, some even hallucinate but they don’t open clinics supplying beer (a lesser of the two evils) for years telling every one they are weaning them down. That just sounds ridiculous.

    Does it matter which one has to steal more? The one getting it from the street or the one getting from the Methadone Clinic. Come on…Stealing is stealing, it doesn’t matter how much. Does it make it okay to steal $20 for Methadone over stealing $40 + for the street?

    Someone also mentioned most of these addicts are prescription addicts. That is not at all true. Most of those prescription addicts were addicts before they began doctor hopping, emergency room visiting, or searching for a doctor to give them a prescription. All the ones I speak of below, received all their drugs by peers from teenage years, neighbors, and other relatives.

    I, too, have relatives that go to Galax. Two have been going for over 8 years. What type of wean down is that? They have each failed their drug tests and just have to go every day for a couple of weeks and then back to once a week. No one at the clinic seems to care that they may be overdosing on the combination. One couldn’t function to get to work so doesn’t. They receive financial assistance through Social Services because they don’t work and yet have money to go to the clinic. The other works but receives financial help through social services and instead of spending their hard earned money on their family, it’s spent on a trip to Galax. Social Services picks up the slack. The government is helping them accomplish their mission of making sure they get their methadone by enabling them (feeding their families, etc.); taking the responsibility off of them. Both sleep all the time. I’ve never seen anyone sleep so much in my life. One has had over 5 speeding tickets just after visiting the clinic and then rolled their car, totally it. One other particular person, bio-member, no longer in picture went and totaled their car the first week of daily trips to Galax. During visitation with younger family members, they played with toys alone on the floor, zoned out, and then dozed off, sleeping their entire visit. This went on for about 2 months until they were court ordered to get off the Methadone or legally no more visitation. They chose no more visitation and moved closer to the clinic. They have been going to Methadone Clinic for almost 10 years now. I’ve know others that have tried the wonder drug Suboxone and it’s just another failure. Those clinics popped up everywhere and addicts have been going for 8+ years. Who is weaning off of what? Haven’t seen any evidence of this. Getting a drug cheaper at the Methadone clinic and saving money because they are not buying it off the street does not make it better for anyone except the addict wanting a cheaper option. They are still looking for a drug, still getting a drug, and will continue to get a drug. Those that don’t have the money can’t go to the clinic. If they have one week where they can’t come up with the money, they have to go through the withdraw process until they come up with enough to make another trip to get their Methadone. The clinic doesn’t care. It is a money making business only. You don’t think so, try going up there with no money and see if you can get your dose. Bet you can’t.

    The size that fits all is holistic rehabilitation and zero tolerance. Withdraw is the consequence that the addict pays for making a wrong decision. Withdraw will only happen once if they really don’t like the suffering. A doctor once told a relative, that they were looking forward to the suffering they went through each time they went through withdraw and not the high because they were searching for a high they were never going to reach. And it made sense. It was inevitable. Just like with the methadone. When they wean down, they go through withdraw somewhat, not drastic but they do. These addicts don’t want to even go through that so they don’t want to wean off or do without.

    As far as the other options, there are many clinics providing it, not just the money hungry Methadone Clinics. Type it into Google and you’ll find a multitude of Suboxone Doctors. They are almost on every corner. If you have medical insurance, no problem. If you use Medicaid, there are doctors that take that, as well. But again, not a good substitution, just a replacement.

    Money is not a option when it comes to zero-tolerance rehabilitation. If someone really wants to be free from addiction, there are several alternatives to get this help. Social Services will assist, several places take Medicaid, Medicare, private insurance, etc. You don’t need a rehab center with ocean front property, individual counseling, private rooms to get the help you need. You just have to do the research. It’s there if they want it. When they say they can’t get help, it’s just another excuse why they don’t.

    You need to realize that with all the addicts you speak of, their are friends, family, and acquaintances that are suffering more than the addict because the addict has found another sources and is still “using” while the others have to live around and watch them high. So every time someone says that “you don’t know what you are talking about” when it comes to not wanting the Methadone Clinic, it sounds more like you are trying to justify it to all addicts and to yourself. Just like an addict, Justifying everything they do and every move they make. But…it won’t work on those that do know, do understand, and live with the fact that the Methadone clinic is not there to help anyone wean off. It couldn’t make money if it did. It’s like the drug dealers that don’t take the drug themselves but make sure you’re hooked so that you’ll come back for more.

  7. Mrs. Concerned parent

    March 28, 2012 at 6:05 pm

    ANDREW AND THE LIKES: I am NOT pointing a finger at anyone. I know all that I’ve written to be true because I have very close ties with those who have or do currently go to the Methadone Clinic in Galax. I am not afraid to say that there is a bit of a personal story when it comes to such matters, though I will be honest–I’ve never nor ever would, go to the clinic. My concerns lie with the area that I live in and the fact that I’ve to raise children in this area. Pulaski, the town, is a struggling area, which most people try to avoid as much as possible. Business is dying…the town is dying. Is it fair to place such a place in such an area? I think not. Sadly, more flourishing areas are able to and have fought to prevent these clinics from “setting up shop” in their area. Pulaski doesn’t have much to stand on, as statistics WILL show a large majority of Pulaski is riddled with drug addiction. My concern is for the welfare of my children and other family’s children…not for MYSELF, nor any other adult. Addicts suffer-YES, I know. Addiction is a horrible and often misunderstood DISEASE, especially by those who aren’t one–BUT what do all addicts have in common? We’re selfish. Plain and simple. It’s the root of most of our problems, but once in TRUE “recovery”, one can see what kind of damage such a place can do. I am different, in that I believe, that whatever it takes to get “clean” by all means-DO IT! Yet, I’ve NEVER seen ANY good come of the Methadone Clinic. EVER!!! Sure, maybe John or Jane Doe has a steady job now–why wouldn’t they want one? THEY NEED IT…because they have to pay their Clinic bills! All that money that they are working for just gets flushed away! Obviously, it is a cheaper and LEGAL alternative than on the street–but it’s A LOT of money! And then the rest of the money that’s left barely allows the person to scrape by! These addicts will do what they have to do to maintain their appts at the clinic, yet watch their little ones walk around in tatters. I realize that the alternative, suboxone or subutex, is an expensive medication and is, also, offered at the clinic. I, also, know that not everyone can tolerate one type of medication, it goes without saying. I wasn’t trying to justify one or the other. What I DO like about Suboxone is that it blocks any “high”, which usually will deter the addict from looking elsewhere for an opioid. Yes, it is also FAR EASIER to get into the “clinic” than it is to find a willing and participating doctor within the New River Valley who prescribes it. The problem that I most often hear about some of these programs is that they are TOO strict!? Some of these doctors insist that you take counseling, group therapy, and frequent drug tests…plus, you fail one of those bad boys, and the likely-hood that you’d be allowed to return would be null! Sure, that’s STRICT. But if recovery is what one seeks…sometimes that is needed. I’ve seen the devastation that addiction plays out onto the world…within a family unit. Seen the tears of a mother cry for their child who’s addicted to something that grips them…and watch their child cry as their own children are being removed! I’ve seen addiction follow a family line…generation after generation burdened with a devil on their back. So please, Andrew, before you write in reference to anything-do YOUR research. I feel for the addict-applaud the “recovering” addict-proof that good programs and support aid in success-and hope all those with a family member who is an addict, much love, luck, and strength…but I WILL NOT accept a clinic that is put up in MY area that does little to actually HELP an addict! Addicts NEED lots of support, that includes other “help” besides a swig of liquid and be sent on their way—mental help is the key! ALSO: The clinic does require drug tests, YET-patients are allowed to continue to receive their dose, though they have to go daily. Counseling? A few minutes talk with someone when you pick up your dose does not fit my definition of counseling! As far as your CONSTANT remarks about alcohol-it’s a problem and that is why addicts consider it a “drug” and seek rehab for it, as well. We can go on and on about alcohol or cigarettes being “legal” and how much more often people are killed, blah blah. But…THIS is about the Methadone Clinic, at this time. Not how I, nor anyone, feels…or should feel about such matters, including the A.B.C. store. There are “illegal” ventures in alcohol such as “moonshine”. Most medications are written by doctors..”legally”…it’s those whom are “addicts” that take it a step beyond what is legal. So, please stop babbling on about what other substances should be pointed at or what should or shouldn’t be “legalized”. There is ALWAYS some kind of war—and there will ALWAYS be some kind of war on drugs. It’s the dealers, which are people, who bring it and distribute it–so wouldn’t it make sense that it is a war on THOSE type of people? As I mentioned before, I battled often with those who don’t understand what it IS like to be an addict, whether active or recovering–it’s hard for those, even within the family of a user to understand the WAR that goes on inside that addicts body, heart, mind, etc….but let addicts THINK OUTSIDE the box—addicts need help, some want help….some WILL succeed–unfortunately, some will fail…YET, we can’t allow drugs to keep following down an unbroken chain! For the sake of the next generation and the NEXT! How do I explain to my child, when they ask what the clinic is and for? Do I say: “It’s a place that helps addicts by giving them a medication….Yes, the medication is an opioid. Oh, yes dear-that’s right…that’s what they were on beforehand. No, no…it’s different since it’s being handed out by the hands of a medical staff..” AND SO ON?! Come on!! All I’m telling my kid is—hey, if you turn out to be addicted to drugs, don’t worry…PULASKI HAS A METHADONE CLINIC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


    March 30, 2012 at 12:31 pm

    Please Mrs.Concerned Parent, contact the state director of Health and Welfare, Dr.Hazel and tell him how you feel. I actually sent a letter to the governor and it was redirected to this office. Basically, if no one else complains to the government entities, they will think that the town is ok with the clinic. I applaud your opinion as it is one that I share as well. We are having this basically shoved down our throat because no other community wants it. How about putting it in Richmond? I understand they have a large drug problem there as well. How about Fairfax, Annandale, or some are in Northern Virginia. Don’t tell me that there is not a problem there as well. Why here? Because no one will stand up to the government of Virginia and say no. Everyone that complains in any type of forum needs to contact the offices of our representatives and tell them how you feel. Complaining to the local officials will do nothing, we need to go further up the ladder. If you do contact them, at least we can if nothing else go down fighting instead of sitting back and accepting something we do not want!!

  9. andrew

    April 5, 2012 at 10:41 am

    I did my research. I personally am a former patient of the clinic. No second hand gossip. You’re right, its not the best option for all. However, there’s not a person posting so far speaking from experience, other than myself. I’ve been clean and successful for two years now. The platform, and quality of life provided for me, allowed me to mature to a point of personal responsibility. Oh, and alcohol detox is much longer. Its the only substance that can kill you through withdrawal.

  10. andrew

    April 5, 2012 at 10:49 am

    There are several clinics in Richmond and Fairfax both. I also agree that total sobriety is the best way for NEARLY everyone. But, why leave the others in the dark? Of course nobody pays attention to the ABC issue because it would require personal accountability. Not to mention hundreds of thousands of tax dollars saved by.not housing additional inmates.

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