Methadone clinic bill passes Senate
By JOHN FRIEDLEIN
The state Senate earlier this week passed a bill that would tighten regulations on methadone clinics, such as the one that opened four months ago in Elizabethtown.
The controversy surrounding that facility, E’town Addiction Solutions, spurred Sen. Elizabeth Tori, R-Radcliff, to file the proposal. The House will consider it next.
Tori said she is “very optimistic” about the chances Senate Bill 220 will become law. She said there is still time for House members to pass it during this session, which lasts until the end of the month.
The bill passed the Senate on Wednesday by a vote of 37-0.
Methadone is a synthetic narcotic administered to patients as a substitute for opiates such as heroin. (AND narcotic pain killers! When are they going to start putting that out there? It isn't just for heroin addiction anymore. When article only list heroin addiction as the reason for methadone treatment, I think that helps fuel that stigma that people have about ALL methadone pts)
The new regulations would make methadone clinics submit a memo identifying how much support the programs have and explain their relationship with “various entities” in the area. Tori said a major aspect of the bill is to ensure clinics work with local hospitals and doctors.
Also necessary would be a traffic impact study and a resolution of support from the local governing body.
Opposition to the local clinic has included leaders of county and city government and law enforcement agencies.
A former Division of Behavioral Health director was removed after last year’s controversy, at least in part, according to a city official, because of a failure to properly investigate opposition to the clinic’s application.
The proposal also calls for a public hearing within two months of submitting an application and notifying local media about it.
The bill would make existing centers comply with the licensing provisions when they apply for an annual renewal.
If a clinic does not meet the rules, it will have to shut down, and those not in compliance would be guilty of a misdemeanor.
Because the bill has an amendment with an emergency clause, it would go into effect immediately as opposed to July 15.
The law now isn’t very definitive as to what an operation must do to receive a license, Tori said.
Dr. Lori Nation, medical director for E’town Addiction Solutions, said her facility will “comply with whatever regulations are in place.”
She said the clinic, which is on U.S. 62, has about 20 patients. Most are from Elizabethtown and had been driving to Indiana every day for treatment. She said the program improves their lives.
“We have great patients,” Nation said. “We’re happy to be there.”
She said the area’s pain pill problem seems to be getting worse.
The clinic assessed approximately 50 patients who were not accepted, Nation said.
Methadone clinics are regulated by four agencies, including the Drug Enforcement Agency.
Besides administering methadone, the local facility provides suboxone, which treats pain and nausea associated with narcotic withdrawal.
This article comes from the THE NEWS-ENTERPRISE out of Hardin County Kentucky
original article link http://www.thenewsenterprise.com/cgi-bin/c2.cgi?053+article+News.Local+20100318173025053053008
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