Here are a few articles that do follow up on this posting.
Methadone clinic ban meets little dissent
By Patrick Maloney The London Free Press
Last Updated: November 16, 2010
A one-year ban on new methadone clinics was approved by council Monday night, despite the impassioned plea of one departing politician.
Amid ongoing concerns from Old East residents over the problems created by a Dundas St. clinic that serves 700, council won’t allow any new ones as city staff review ways to control where such facilities are opened.
In his final meeting on council, David Winninger was the lone vote against the plan — and urged his colleagues unsuccessfully to shoot it down.
“I feel very strongly that the planning committee and (planning) department has gone in the wrong direction,” Winninger said.
“It sounds non-productive. It sounds insensitive to the needs of people who need methadone.”
Methadone is a medication that helps addicts get off opiates such as OxyContin and heroin.
Coun. Roger Caranci said in response to Winninger that the problem isn’t with the clinic’s patients, but the other elements it attracts.
Sarah Merritt of the Old East Village Business association, whose neighbourhood has deep concerns about the Dundas clinic, had made similar comments earlier in the day.
“(The clinic) can attract more people to the area who can prey on users of methadone,” she told politicians.
Though he admitted zoning can be a “blunt tool,” city planning boss John Fleming says he will study using it to control where clinics can be opened.
Staff also will study the use of licensing to control methadone clinic locations. The one-year ban gives staff time to study the issue and report back to politicians.
It prohibits the opening of any new clinic or methadone dispensary — defined as a business where offering methadone is its primary service — but doesn’t affect pharmacies.
There are 22 London pharmacies licensed by a provincial body to dispense methadone. The province won’t tell city officials where they’re located.
Methadone clinic fight looming
By JONATHAN SHER, The London Free Press
Last Updated: February 2, 2011
Canada’s largest operator of methadone clinics has set its sights on a London neighbourhood struggling to revitalize, The Free Press has learned.
Ontario Addiction Treatment Centres, that claims to treat one of every three methadone patients in Ontario, wants to open a clinic on Bathurst St. along a commercial strip that frames the city’s SOHO community.
Its intentions came to light after it hired prominent London lawyer Alan Patton to fight a temporary ban on such clinics imposed in November by city council.
“353 Bathurst Street (is) ideally suited to meeting the needs of its patients,” Patton wrote in a notice of appeal obtained by The Free Press.
Council adopted the one-year ban in the hope city staff could draft new rules and limits on clinics to avoid problems associated with an already existing clinic a stone’s throw from Beal secondary school.
But the hoped-for window may be closing, at least if Patton prevails at an Ontario Municipal Board hearing that may come as soon as March or April.
That prospect has drawn concern from employees at a Canadian Tire just next door. The store, located near two big homeless shelters, already suffers from more than the normal share of theft, employees said.
They fear long lineups of addicts may make matters worse.
“It raises a concern,” said an employee who requested anonymity.
The clinic would be about 700 metres from a Catholic elementary school and closer than that to what a resident said was a new church on Colborne St. south of the CN Tracks.
Patton is a familiar name for London taxpayers; he successfully fought a different sort of development freeze on 2006 all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada, a battle that cost the city more than $300,000.
Back then, Patton argued politicians had wrongly debated the freeze in secret.
This time he doesn’t object to the way the freeze was passed but rather the reasoning. Though Patton wouldn’t discuss his concerns Tuesday, his notice filed with city hall outlines his concern: There was no urgent need to put a moratorium on new methadone clinics.
In November, the city’s planning staff recommended politicians consider new limits on where methadone clinics could be located, potentially requiring that they not be adjacent to a residential neighbourhood or within 200 metres of a school, park, church or community centre.
Politicians went even further, imposing a moratorium on new clinics while new limits were considered — only former city Coun. David Winninger objected.
The political reaction came after years of complaints and concerns around the site of London’s only stand-alone methadone clinic in Old East Village.
Some in the neighbourhood have said the Dundas St. clinic — not owned by Ontario Addiction Treatment Centres — draws predators who prey on addicts lined up outside the clinic, perpetuating the drug trade.
Methadone is a medication intended to help addicts get off opiates such as OxyContin and heroin, though critics have been skeptical.
In addition to the stand-alone clinic on Dundas that serves about 700 patients, there also are more than 20 London pharmacies licensed by a provincial body to dispense methadone. Pharmacies aren’t affected by the temporary ban.
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