Home > All Posts > Clinic Plan Denied In Taunton, MA.

Clinic Plan Denied In Taunton, MA.

Parents Lead Outcry Against Proposed Site

http://www.tauntongazette.com/news/x1751715098/Clinic-plan-denied

By Gerry Tuoti

November 13, 2008 Taunton, MA.  Siding with the overwhelming public sentiment in the meeting room, the Zoning Board of Appeals Thursday denied a controversial permit request for a methadone clinic that would treat recovering drug addicts, agreeing that such a facility should not be located just down the street from an elementary school.  (Yeah. Their kids might turn to drugs just by looking at the patients! What the F*@K)!!!

Speaking against the project, James Panziac, a parent of an East Taunton Elementary School student, said the location of the proposed clinic, which would be just over 1,000 feet from the school, was the focal point of his opposition. “They cannot promise me that there won’t be an incident,” he said. “When my child’s safety is an issue, I want a guarantee.” (Whose going o give him a guarantee that his child won’t need a methadone clinic when he gets older? Not that I wish drug addiction on anyone, but how many guarantee’s are there in this world we live in)?

Although the clinic cannot move into the 73 Stevens St. Property, it could potentially locate somewhere else in the city.

Thomas Magaraci, CEO of Habit OPCO, Inc., the company that runs the methadone clinics, said the program, which serves 6,000 patients in four states, has a 90% success rate. Methadone is a clinically administered drug that helps abusers of heroin and some other drugs kick their addictions and overcome withdrawals. Habit OPCO uses a liquid form of methadone that patients drink in the presence of a nurse.

“These are not people who use drugs,” Magaraci said. “These are people who want to turn their lives around.”

The matter came before the ZBA because the property in question is zoned for industrial use. JAMINS LLC, which owns the building on the corner of Stevens Street and O’Connell Way, wanted to lease the property to Habit OPCO, but a zoning variance would have to be granted for the clinic to start up.

The move would have provided Habit OPCO, which currently serves 140 patients at a mobile unit at Taunton State Hospital, with a more permanent facility. It would have also allowed for counseling services, which currently take place at a Brockton facility.

Magaraci said the Brockton facility is across the street from an elementary school and has not had any serious incidents. Opponents, however, pointed out that the clinic is also just down the street from the Brockton police station.

“I frankly don’t care about Brockton,” ZBA member Gill Enos said. “I care about Taunton. This is a necessary service in Taunton, it’s just a bad location.”

The busiest time of the day for the clinic is between 6 and 9 a.m., Magaraci said. ZBA member Tony Medeiros, who is also a vice detective with the Taunton police, said he thinks there’s a reason for that besides accommodating people’s work schedules.

“People on heroin, when they wake up, they need to get high so they don’t feel dope sick,” Medeiros said.

When questioned by the board, clinic nurse Amy Medeiros admitted that “one or two” people a month typically show up to the clinic impaired.

Attorney Marc Antine, representing Habit OPCO, reiterated that nearly all the patients are good people who are trying to turn their lives around. “These are not the people you’d see on ‘Law and Order’ or in a gallery of rouges,” Antine said. “These are not people who are looking to buy drugs from drug dealers.”

More than 100 people crammed into the council chambers at City Hall for the ZBA meeting. Dozens who couldn’t fit in the room spilled out into the hallways. Whenever a speaker made a point against locating the clinic near the school, they were greeted by a loud burst of applause.

Many people, including parents, neighbors, police officers and city officials spoke out. “It’s a fine program,” School Committeeman Peter H. Corr said. “I just feel the location they want is not the location it should be placed at.”   (Nobody wants a methadone clinic “In Their Backyard.” So where do they propose they should be located”?)

Advertisements
Categories: All Posts
  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: