Pubdate: Wed, 08 Jul 2009
Source: Calgary Herald (CN AB)
Copyright: 2009 Canwest Publishing Inc.
Author: Colette Derworiz and Sherri Zickefoose, Staff Writers


A debate over a controversial methadone clinic continued to rage
Tuesday as the centre opened its doors to clients and the community
held a town hall meeting to address concerns.

Second Chance Recovery, which moved into a vacant medical clinic in
BraeCentre mall, opened this week after having to move out of a
northeast industrial area that wasn't zoned to accommodate the facility.

Residents were invited to an evening meeting to talk to the clinic
staff -- as well as police and the local alderman. However, no one
attended from the clinic. The crowd was told Second Chance was facing
legal action and couldn't speak publicly.

Ald. Brian Pincott said a lawyer representing the clinic head called
him half an hour before Tuesday night's meeting at the Braeside
community centre to say no one would be on hand to answer questions
because of legal action.

"The reason Second Chance isn't here tonight is that the mall owner is
taking them to court to have their lease revoked," Pincott told an
emotional and noisy crowd.

Hundreds of irate Braeside residents lined up only to be turned away
from an already packed 500-person capacity centre to oppose the
methadone treatment clinic.

"Schoolchildren are taking those buses," one woman told the gathering.
"You do not put it in this area."

Emotions ran high as Braeside residents called for the clinic's
licence to be revoked.

Shouts of "not in my backyard" and "no clinic here" rang out as
Pincott addressed the raucous audience.

Pincott said he is committed to seeking an amendment to the city's
land-use bylaw to have methadone clinics scratched from allowable use
for medical clinics.

Neighbours say they are worried about their children's safety,
potential break-ins and property crime, property values, and
Braeside's reputation as a desirable community.

Kim Edwards, president of the Braeside Community Association, told the
Herald that residents are worried. "There's a lot of fear because we
really don't know what the clinic is all about. So when we don't have
enough information, the fear takes over--and rightly so."

One of the clients visiting the clinic Tuesday afternoon said that
there's no reason for residents to fear the patients.

"They are misconceiving the entire program," said Pat, who asked her
last name not be published because not everyone knows she's a
recovering addict. "It's under a doctor's care."

Methadone, an opioid, is considered a relatively inexpensive way of
getting addicts off heroin, morphine and crack cocaine and some
painkillers. There are about 500 clients who receive counselling and
get their prescriptions for methadone, which is a powder dissolved in
orange juice, at the clinic.

Pat, who was addicted to painkillers after an accident, said she only
visits the clinic once or twice a month to pick up her

"You see a doctor and you leave," she said. "I work for a living, I
take care of my family, I take care of my mother, but I am not a criminal.

"This clinic gives me a chance at a normal life." 
- ---
MAP posted-by: Richard R Smith Jr