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Methadone clinic fights relocation

The Calgary Sun – Methadone clinic fights relocation.

Drug addicts could flood city emergency rooms if the city doesn’t grant a northeast methadone clinic some extra time to find a new home, warns the recovery centre’s executive director.

The city has told operators of Second Chance Recovery, which moved three months ago from its downtown location to an industrial centre at 41 St. N.E. near Highfield Park, that it has to move because the area isn’t zoned for a medical clinic.

Bill Leslie, who runs the private clinic that caters to about 500 clients, about half the number in Calgary, said he understands the city’s stance but closing the doors with no back-up would leave addicts on the road to recovery few options.

“If we closed our doors, the emergency rooms would be filled with patients looking for pain killers, pharmacies would have to be notified,” said Leslie, who has been operating in Calgary for six years.

“The war on drugs has to start somewhere and unfortunately NIMBY (‘Not in my backyard’) is alive and well.”


Leslie said the majority of his clients are employed and are addicted to prescription pain medication like OxyContin and morphine and about 85% operate opiate-free thanks to the centre. None of its clients stay overnight at the facility.

The nearby Highfield Park Community Association complained to the city about the operation that opened around the same time a 50-bed addiction treatment centre opened in the same area.

But area Ald. Bob Hawkesworth said the difference is the Fresh Start treatment facility worked with community leaders and got the proper zoning while the methadone clinic set up shop without consulting with residents or acquiring the proper permits.

“To lay a guilt trip if the city doesn’t allow it isn’t fair and hopefully they take a different approach next time,” he said.

“The community association is feeling a bit betrayed that their goodwill has been taken advantage of — nobody ever saw this area as a focal point for all kinds of addiction services.”

Hawkesworth said the city has provided Second Chance with a list of properly zoned medical buildings that fills 31 pages and will work with the operator to find a new home

In the meantime, Leslie said the centre will appear before the city’s Subdivision and Development Appeal Board next month to request an extension of three to six months to find a new place to operate.

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  1. March 1, 2009 at 4:39 pm

    Please let us know how you make out!

  2. Kirstin
    February 25, 2009 at 12:09 am

    I live in the neighbourhood and I’ve written my alderman and I’m going to go to the community meeting tonight (if I can) to try to save the methadone clinic.

    But I hope I’m not there alone.

  3. February 18, 2009 at 11:21 pm

    They may need to know waht a few patients can do.

    Beltrami County Board Supporters fight for drug clinic.


    Can you let them know… I am busy as hech right now.. You too?

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