LEWISTON — With no complaints to speak of, city councilors had no problem renewing the permits for the city's first methadone clinic.
Jennifer Minthorn, program director at Merrimack River Medical Services on Mollison Way, said the clinic was running fine from an operational perspective. It opened in September 2011 and has 255 patients.
"There was a lot of concern when we first opened, but it's been fine from an operational perspective," Minthorn said. "I've talked to some of our neighbors, and they told me they really didn't realize we were there."
Methadone is used to treat addiction to opioid drugs such as heroin and OxyContin. The Lewiston clinic is operated by Massachusetts-based Community Substance Abuse Centers. The company also operates clinics in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Portland.
Councilors approved the business license for the clinic in April 2011, allowing it to rent space at 18 Mollison Way, behind Sparetime Recreation.
Councilors in 2011 required the company to provide enough indoor space to keep clients from lining up outside before treatment and staff to make sure clients don't linger outside afterward.
It also stipulated the clinic have alarms on all emergency exits leading to shared space in the building, that it follow professional treatment protocols, limit the number of patients to 500 and provide copies of all federal and state licenses to the city clerk.
City Administrator Ed Barrett said they've met all requirements.
"In talking to the police chief, there were very few problems associated with the facility," Barrett said. "Everything seems to be moving smoothly. We are confident they have met the requirements of the license and would recommend it being renewed."
Chief Michael Bussiere said police responded to 10 calls at the address. Three were unrelated medical calls and others were calls for alarms that had been tripped.
"We had one incident, allegation of assault between two clients who knew each other and didn't get along," he said. "There was a car accident out in front and some motor vehicle complaints. And that's basically it."
Councilors unanimously renewed the permit.
"I drive by it all the time, and I truly believe they've met their requirements," Councilor John Butler said.