Methadone clinic now operational in Carrollton

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By Kristin Beck

A drug treatment facility will soon be open near the corner of 11th and Schuerman streets – a heavy traffic area in Carrollton that sits on the Safe Routes to School path.

Carroll Counseling LLC is located at 539A 11th Street and will be distributing methadone – a drug that can be used to treat addicted individuals.

Methadone is used to relieve moderate to severe pain that has not been relieved by non-narcotic pain relievers, according to the MedlinePlus, the National Institutes of Health’s website. It also is used to prevent withdrawal symptoms in patients who were addicted to opiate drugs and are enrolled in treatment programs in order to stop taking or continue not taking the drugs.

Methadone works to treat pain by changing the way the brain and nervous system respond to pain, according to the website. It also works as a substitute for opiate drugs of abuse by producing similar effects and preventing withdrawal symptoms in people who have stopped using these drugs.

The city of Carrollton held a public meeting June 23 before the regular city council meeting for Mayor Gene McMurry to address the public. About 20 people attended. 

“There is nothing good that is going to come out of the clinic,” McMurry said to the crowd.

Carroll Counseling is a satellite distribution center for Northern Kentucky Meds, McMurry said. City Attorney Ed James said Carroll Counseling was “less than forthcoming” about what their business actually was. McMurry said the company initially said it would only be counseling individuals, not distributing methadone.

McMurry said he tried everything he could to stop it from coming here. However, the clinic is legal under state and federal law and the city’s ordinance does not specify the meaning of “professional service.” McMurry said in a Tuesday interview he will recommend to council that they look at the ordinance and attempt to project what might occur. However, the city cannot simply disallow a certain type of business just because it does not like it; there must be a reason against it, he said.

James said the city of Somerset was able to stop a methadone clinic from opening because they caught it ahead of time and put an ordinance in place against it.

McMurry said he does not like the clinic’s location because of all the school traffic on Schuerman Street and its proximity to the hospital, health department and schools.

Carrollton Police Chief Mike Willhoite also did not think the facility will be a positive thing for the community. Carrollton has a local drug problem, but now this will make the county a regional location for people with opiate additions to come to, he said.

The treatment principal is good in theory, but Willhoite said he has seen some people on methadone for multiple years, so it is like having a legal drug addiction rather than an illegal one.

Like any controlled substance, methadone can cause impairment, and Willhoite said he also is concerned people leaving will still be impaired. “This will be our first experience with a treatment facility like this in our community,” he said.

McMurry said he does not know much about the drug, saying its success rate depends on whom you talk to. The intent of the drug is good if the users decrease their usage to eventually no longer taking it.

Property owner Vernon States said Tuesday that he just leased the space to the company and is not clear on what it does. The company has a five-year lease, beginning Jan. 1, 2014, he said.

McMurry encouraged the residents at the public meeting to contact their state representatives about changing the law.