Pubdate: Mon, 23 Oct 2000
Source: Bangor Daily News (ME)
Copyright: 2000, Bangor Daily News Inc.
Author: Joan Belsky
Note: Joan Belsky lives in Bangor.


I am writing to thank our elected council members who have patiently
asked the opiate committee's spokespeople from Acadia Hospital
excellent common-sense questions. I think it is fair to say that with
each meeting of this opiate committee, only more questions have come
from the questions that our council members have asked.

The location of the proposed clinic would be the site of Acadia
Recovery Community (ARC), near Indiana Street in Bangor. The questions
and concerns regarding the proposed site of the clinic were well
founded and, I am sorry to report, left unanswered by the
spokespersons from Acadia Hospital. Bangor's opiate committee needs
more time to study this complex issue and time to clarify details of
drug treatment programming for our community.

Here are some of the blanks. Actual need because of numbers of opiate
addicts is in question, preparation and communication with the
relevant social agencies such as Shaw House have not begun,
discussions with treatment providers who work outside of Acadia who
would also be treating this population at some point have not yet
occurred, issues brought up regarding security at ARC have not yet
been addressed. There is no security at ARC.

City Councilor Patricia Blanchette asked if the city is jumping the
gun with the placement of a permanent methadone clinic when
alternative methods have been reported in clinical papers and have not
been discussed by Acadia and local health care providers. Lynn Madden,
vice president of Acadia Hospital answered her by saying that the
alternative-treatment discussion is for another time.

When City Councilor Joe Baldacci asked questions of concern for safety
in the neighborhood surrounding the clinic being that there is no
security at ARC, Madden acknowledged that this was a real problem that
needed to be addressed. Nichi Farnham's question regarding drug
dealers infiltrating the respite area of ARC and potentially dealing
opiates to two vulnerable populations at ARC, the people who come in
to utilize ARC who are still on drugs and-or alcohol and need respite
and those patients who would be coming to this same location daily for
their methadone dose, was answered by Madden with, yes, this could
very well happen.

Councilor Daniel Tremble assertively asked all members of the opiate
committee if this proposed clinic was a "done deal" or did these
members really have an open mind? All of the Bangor City Council
members responded that they had not yet heard all that they needed to
hear and indeed were coming to these meetings with an open mind. The
Acadia trustees all said they favored Acadia Hospital getting the
methadone clinic because Acadia was the one place here that could do
it. This is reflected in the tape recording of the meeting and kept by
the city manager. It was unfortunate that there was no Bangor Daily
News reporter present to cover this important meeting.

The State Office of Substance Abuse asked Acadia Hospital to place the
clinic in Bangor thinking that Winslow's clinic would close. Winslow's
methadone clinic won its right to stay open. So Acadia and the State
Office of Substance Abuse need to prove that Bangor needs a clinic. I
say Acadia's spokespersons have not yet provided our community with
enough information for such a need nor have they given us a detailed,
well-defined clinic to analyze.

I would like to suggest that the citizens of Bangor vote yes on this
methadone referendum and tell our City Council, Acadia Hospital and
the State Office of Substance Abuse that we have not completed the
study process. We need time and we should feel secure there is a
methadone clinic open nearby in Winslow for the patients in need.
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