Methadone clinic considers Lewiston site, schedules neighborhood review

LEWISTON — A Massachusetts company is proposing to build the city's first methadone substance-abuse-treatment facility on Mollison Way, near the Sparetime Recreation bowling alley.

Officials from Community Substance Abuse Centers of Quincy, Mass., have scheduled a neighborhood meeting for Mollison Way businesses and tenants at 6 p.m. Jan. 12 at the Ramada Inn on Pleasant Street.

Gil Arsenault, director of Planning and Code Enforcement for the city, said the operator would be the first to test the city's methadone center licensing rules.

Methadone is used to treat addiction to opioid drugs, such as heroin or OxyContin. Lewiston's methadone clinic rules were adopted in 2006 and require substance-abuse-treatment centers to get a business license from the city. That license must be approved by the City Council and is then reviewed annually by the City Council.

"The Council's concern at the time was that a well-run clinic could be OK, but some are not run terribly well," Arsenault said. "Licensing them allows them in many locations throughout the city, but gives them many different requirements they have to meet and other regulatory hoops."

The company has not filed any applications with the city yet, but has met with the city administrator and the police and fire chiefs, Arsenault said.

Bob Potter, vice president of development for Community Substance Abuse Centers, said he expects the company will file an application with the city next week.

Auburn City Administrator Ed Barrett said Lewiston's approach is different than in Bangor, where he worked as City Manager until Jan. 2010. Bangor has three methadone clinics and uses zoning codes to review them initially.

"Lewiston's approach gives the council a chance to check on them each year and evaluate the situation the business is in," Barrett said. Bangor eventually created a committee to monitor the clinics.

Lewiston's ordinance allows substance-abuse-treatment centers to be built as long as they are a minimum of 1,000 feet from churches, schools, parks or day care centers or facilities.

Community Substance Abuse Centers' proposal fits those criteria, Arsenault said. At 18 Mollison Way, it is 1,490 feet away from Levers Day Care, at 50 Mollison Way.

The company operates 11 clinics in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and a 12th at  2300 Congress St. in Portland.

Bob Potter, vice president of development for Community Substance Abuse Centers, said the Portland clinic currently treats several patients from Lewiston.

"They told us they know of several people who would seek treatment if it were more local," Potter said.

The company would employ 15 to 20 people, including doctors and nurses.

The center's philosophy is mostly medical. Potential patients receive a full medical examination, including blood tests, before beginning treatment.

"One is to gauge their medical condition," Potter said. "The second is testing for controlled substance."

Patients also receive counseling from the staff while they are being treated.

The company would provide the methadone in a drinkable form to patients, who take the medication under a nurse's supervision. They're blood pressure is monitored for the first few visits, and then they are free to leave.

Potter said the company would plan a public open house for Lewiston residents, if it is built.

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 's picture

the article is incorrect

Methodone use is NOT drug treatment, its addiction maintence. it does not stop anyone from being addicted it only allows them to go thru life with less complications. take away the methadone an your still opiate addicted, you still have cravings and withdrawl. siboxin is now the number one drug smuggled into our prisons does that sound like therapy to you? true drug treatment requires abstinance from use.

 's picture


 's picture

what about the daycare?

Regardless of the quality of childcare is provides, Lever's is in that area. And these kiddos shouldn't be subjected to be that close to a facility like this.

 's picture

To all of you

To all of you detractors...god (or substitute the deity of your choice, but I'm going to assume it's god) forbid addiction should ever afflict you or your are obviously uneducated about substance abuse and its treatment...methadone clinics are called "harm-reduction" models of treatment....contrary to popular belief, it is more than just the addiction that is the problem, that is why people can't "just stop doing drugs/drinking". Things like depression, anxiety, PTSD and such are usual co-occurring issues. Not to mention the fact that an extremely high percentage of women who experience addiction also have some sort sexual abuse in their past (usually incest as a child) that has never been addressed. You are all a group of unfeeling, un-empathetic people, and I repeat my previous statement...I hope addiction never strikes you or someone you love!

 's picture

Hrmmm.... someone needs to go

Hrmmm.... someone needs to go to the back woods. I think it is funny that you mention Main St., Sabattus St. and Main St. I didn't realize those were the only streets in Lewiston. My apologize, if I was you I would get my head out of my rear and actually take a look at Lewiston as a whole. You grew up on outer College St. exactly, you are one of those stuck up people, that explains it all.

 's picture

Sorry I meant Main St.,

Sorry I meant Main St., Sabattus St. and Lisbon St.

 's picture

I do not want to see this here in Lewiston!

I am not educated on the benefits of providing free Methadone to drug addicts, but I really don't support this at all. I would much rather support a 12-step or other similar programs to help people to overcome their addictions. I am not comfortable with people addicted to opiates having another (and legal!) avenue by which they can get their "high" and then drive home past the bowling alley, Pediatric Associates and Levers Day Care and on into the thickly settled neighborhoods nearby.

I hope we residents and not just the local businesses get a say in this - makes my blood boil if we do not!

 's picture

Why not put it next to the

Why not put it next to the plasma center? One stop shopping.

RONALD RIML's picture

It so much cheaper to incarcerate them

And provides more jobs for corrections and prisons staff.

Yep, there ya go!!

 's picture

Substitute one addiction for another...

this is so true... the only true way to handle an addiction is to first admit and accept you have it, then make a decision to stop...there are plenty of programs in place to help people stop - IF a person truly desires to stop! I'm tired of my tax dollars paying for these people to go in and out of detox and rehab like a freaking revolving door and sustaining their addiction by adding another substance which they then become dependent on. Just my opinion....

 's picture

Yes that is what I meant. I

Yes that is what I meant.

I do apologize if I caused any confusion

 's picture

I, for one, am glad that they

I, for one, am glad that they are considering opening a methadone clinic here. More people might be able to get the help they need...including therapy. We can just stick our heads in the sand and pretend Lewiston/Auburn doesn't have a heroin/opiate problem (or just complain about the problem), or we can advocate for, and support, places such as this.

 's picture

"Auburn City Administrator Ed

"Auburn City Administrator Ed Barrett", last time I checked he was Lewiston City Administrator, nice job Sun Journal.

Also, Scott it really isn't Lewistons fault that it is what you call a "social program mecca", between the Catholic Charities and the state of Maine dumping millions of dollars to build low-income housing in Lewiston, we really have no say in it. Also, calling the entire city of Lewiston a dump is hilarious, you ever been out of the downtown area? Chances are you haven't if that is your whole outlook of Lewiston.

 's picture

I don't mean to nitpick but

I don't mean to nitpick but in the article one sentence reads, "They're blood pressure is monitored for the first few visits, and then they are free to leave."

The word "They're" is incorrect and it should read "Their" instead.

"They're" is a contraction for they are.

I just wanted to point this out.

 's picture

Thank you

Thank you for bringing that to our attention.


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