Pubdate: Tue, 01 Feb 2005
Source: Kingsport Times-News (TN)
Copyright: 2005 Kingsport Publishing Corporation
Author: Charles Kitts, Jr.
Bookmark: (Methadone)


In response to the article "Pennington To Revoke Business License For
Methadone Clinic" Jan. 21, it struck me that of all the persons,
organizations, law enforcement officials, agencies, and "other
municipalities" that Town Attorney Donnie Williams "was checking with
in hopes of finding an effective tool to prevent the clinic from
locating in town," he did not choose to contact any medical
professional or community in which a successful Methadone Maintenance
Treatment center was operating - and there are several not only in
Virginia but 45 states.

Instead, he chose to contact NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) groups and
uninformed law enforcement officials that have taken the myths and
hysteria that always accompany the issue as gospel. The principal of
an elementary school two blocks from the Life Center MMT clinc in
Galax stated that the clinic had been opened and operating for over a
year before he even realized that it was there. And this is not an
isolated case.

It never ceases to amaze me that the only controversy caused by these
treatment centers is the fervor and uproar that happens when the
clinic is first proposed and during the licensing procedure when the
NIMBY contingency makes all the noise and gets all the press. Once the
clinic finally does open, that's the last negative press that readers
ever hear about. I just can't understand how people constantly ask
questions and demand ways to curb the drug problem, yet when a
suggestion is proposed that has proven - after 40-plus years of more
stringent testing, clinical study, and scrutiny than any other
medicine before or since to be effective - they want to turn a deaf
ear to it because of ignorance and prejudice.

MMT clinics are not going to bring the criminal element and addicts to
your community. They are already there, and methadone is one answer to
curbing it. Until our society realizes that the addiction problem in
this country is a medical, more than a legal one, we are doomed to
repeat past failures.

Charles Kitts, Jr.

Bluefield, Va.
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