Archive

Drug clinic arrival likely | TribLIVE.com
News

Drug clinic arrival likely

A martial arts school and a history museum do not qualify as the types of establishments that under state law could prevent a methadone clinic from being built in Hampton, a state Health Department spokesman said Thursday.

“In the end, this is a local issue,” spokesman Richard McGarvey said.

A state law known as Act 10 gives municipalities the right to prohibit construction of methadone clinics if they would be within 500 feet of a home, church, school, child-care center or playground.

The proposed Hampton clinic, which would be run by Addiction Specialists Inc., would be on Route 8 just north of Wildwood Road. It has drawn vociferous opposition from many residents, with about 100 showing up at recent council meetings to urge officials to block the clinic.

Opponents wondered whether a martial arts studio in the nearby Coventry Square shopping plaza or the Depreciation Lands Museum would qualify as legal impediments.

“It does not appear to us that either of those establishments would qualify under Act 10 requirements,” McGarvey said.

Township officials have said nothing can be done to block the clinic as long as it complies with local zoning laws, which they believe it does. Municipalities are not required to prohibit clinics that fall within the limits set by the state law, but “we are not aware of any municipality in the state giving an exemption to Act 10 requirements,” McGarvey said.

Hampton Council president Richard Dunlap said any improperly taken vote on the matter likely would be successfully challenged in court.

“We are bound by what the ordinance was at the time that this company applied,” he said.

Methadone, a synthetic narcotic, helps heroin addicts overcome their cravings, preventing the sickness associated with withdrawal. The clinic would draw clients from a radius as large as 30 miles, said its director, Roz Sugarmann, who has worked as a drug and alcohol therapist for two decades. It would be open from 5 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Residents expressed concern that the center would increase crime in the area.

The Hampton clinic would be the sixth in Allegheny County, but the first outside Pittsburgh. The five in the city are at 1391 Washington Blvd., 1425 Beaver Ave., 729 Ensign St., 2900 Smallman St. and 6714 Kelly St.

A methadone clinic also is located in Cranberry, Butler County.

Heroin addiction rates in Allegheny and Butler counties have risen sharply in recent years, officials said.


TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.