Pubdate: Sat, 23 Jul 2005
Source: Calgary Herald (CN AB)
Copyright: 2005 Calgary Herald
Author: Colette Derworiz


An alderman who has raised concerns about a private methadone clinic
operating near downtown held a meeting with interested groups on
Friday to try to get a handle on regulating the controversial programs.

Ward 8 Ald. Madeleine King met with representatives from the health
sector -- the Alberta Alcohol and Drug Abuse Commission, Calgary
Health Region and Alberta College of Physicians and Surgeons -- as
well as city police and a representative from the Alberta Solicitor
General's Department, to discuss the rules surrounding the clinics.

Following the afternoon meeting, King said it was a good first

"It's a relatively new issue for Calgary," she said. "There hasn't
been any regulations.

"And it's important to develop a framework within which people can
benefit from methadone treatment . . . in a way that sufficiently
respects the surrounding neighbourhoods."

The controversy arose last month when community groups approached King
about a private clinic operating in the Beltline.

The First Street Medical Clinic, which houses a methadone program at
1010 1st St. S.W., opened 18 months earlier. However, some social
service agencies and businesses were upset about escalating drug use
in the area and dangers for homeless people after a 24-year-old man
died when he overdosed on methadone he got on the street.

The clinic, which has changed its procedures on take-home medication
since the death, was planning a move at the end of the month.

However, a spokeswoman at the clinic said Friday they haven't made any
progress on trying to find a new location.

"We still have our lease here," said June Postnikoff, a nurse at the

Clinic staff had briefly considered moving to Forest Lawn, although
she said they decided against it after the community raised similar
concerns to those in the Beltline.

Ald. Joe Ceci, who also attended Friday's meeting, said he wanted to
make sure the views of Forest Lawn residents were represented and to
get a sense from the professionals what the challenges are. 
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MAP posted-by: SHeath(DPFFlorida)