Pubdate: Thu, 09 Jul 2009
Source: Calgary Sun, The (CN AB)
Copyright: 2009 The Calgary Sun
Author: Bill Kaufmann
Bookmark: (Treatment)
Bookmark: (Methadone)


'Calgary Is Absolutely Hostile'

Stung by what its backers call hostility from aldermen and the 
public, an embattled methadone clinic is giving up on Calgary.

Less than three days after opening at a new location in a Braeside 
strip mall, the Second Chance Recovery centre will shut its doors, 
potentially putting hundreds of clients at risk of returning to 
destructive addictions, said clinic lawyer Hugh Ham.

He also said a meeting of more than 500 residents furious over the 
presence of the clinic, which helps wean opiate abusers off their 
addiction, was decisive.

"The staff are intimidated -- they've received threats," said an angry Ham.

"The city of Calgary is absolutely hostile ... as a Calgarian, it's 

The clinic will remain open for the next few weeks while the centre 
moves its 500 clients to Alberta Health Services, which Ham says 
appears ill-equipped to take them all.

Ham also singled out Ald. Andre Chabot, but even more, Ald. Bob 
Hawkesworth, who he accused of whipping up hysteria and doing nothing 
to enable the clinic to remain through zoning changes at its old 
location in the northeast Greenview industrial area.

"Hawkesworth should be embarrassed ... the attitude of the city and 
the province are that they'd rather see people suffer the hell of 
addiction than receive treatment," said Ham.

A lawsuit by the shopping centre's landlord to stop the clinic added 
to the uncertainty, he said.

Hawkesworth called Ham's accusations grossly unfair, saying the 
clinic was at fault from the beginning by locating without the proper 
land- use approvals in the northeast while failing to act on the 
city's re-location advice.

"Anybody who accuses me or the community of not welcoming addictions 
programs are full of hogwash," he said.

But he also said the province must take a greater ownership of the 
addictions issue.

Braeside community association president Kim Edwards said it's 
possible residents might have accepted the clinic.

"We didn't have anything to alleviate the fear," said Edwards, adding 
a component of the community would have accepted the clinic as "an 
opportunity to give back."
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom