Pubdate: Fri, 30 Aug 2002
Source: Portland Press Herald (ME)
Copyright: 2002 Blethen Maine Newspapers Inc.
Author: Associated Press


BANGOR - A for-profit methadone provider whose clinic in the Portland area 
has come under scrutiny following a rash of fatal drug overdoses is seeking 
to open a clinic in Bangor.

Rhode Island-based Discovery House wants to provide the heroin substitute 
to as many as 250 patients in what would be Bangor's second methadone 
treatment facility.

Acadia Hospital, the city's first methadone provider, is simultaneously 
looking to expand its year-old drug treatment program from 150 patients to 300.

Discovery House operates a dozen clinics in five states. Its clinic in 
South Portland and a competing clinic in Westbrook are under review because 
of the wave of fatal overdoses in Greater Portland, some of which have been 
linked to methadone.

Methadone is a synthetic narcotic used to treat those addicted to heroin or 
other opiates including the prescription painkiller oxycodone.

In Bangor, the city's advisory group to the Acadia clinic hailed its record 
of success and suggested in a letter to the state that any expansion of the 
methadone program take place through Acadia Hospital.

Despite the letter, Kimberly Johnson, director of the state Office of 
Substance Abuse, said there's nothing that state licensing officials can do 
to prevent a clinic from opening in the city if it meets all the requirements.

Whether there is room for two competing clinics in Bangor is open to debate.

"I don't know if that's enough or not," Johnson said of Acadia's proposed 
300 patient slots. "That population is still growing."

Discovery House officials defended their record on Wednesday, noting that 
they are already serving many Bangor-area patients at their clinic in 
Winslow. And of Discovery House's 12 methadone clinics in five states, only 
its South Portland site has found itself linked to street abuse of the drug.

"It's not happening any other place that we operate," said Discovery House 
project director Steve Gumbley. "I don't think it has anything to do with 
Discovery House."
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