HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Meth Clinic Bill Passes Senate
Pubdate: Wed, 04 Feb 2004
Source: Bristol Herald Courier (VA)
Copyright: 2004 Bristol Herald Courier
Author: Mike Still 
Bookmark: (Methamphetamine)


BRISTOL, Va. - The state House of Delegates could get its turn in two weeks
to consider a measure limiting the establishment of methadone clinics.

Senate Bill 607, co-sponsored by Sens. William C. Wampler Jr., R-Bristol,
and Brandon Bell, R-Roanoke, passed the Senate on Tuesday by a 39-1 vote.

The bill would:

* prohibit establishment of methadone clinics within a half-mile of public
or private licensed schools and day-care centers unless placed in an
approved hospital setting;

* require the state Department of Mental Health, Mental Retardation and
Substance Abuse Services to notify the local governing body and community
services board within 15 days of a license application in that locality; and

* allow local governments to submit comments to the commissioner of the
state Department of Mental Health, Mental Retardation and Substance Abuse
Services within 30 days of receiving notice of an application.

Wampler said he would find it "interesting" to see how the House deals with
the measure when it reaches that chamber on Feb. 18. That is "crossover
day," when each house of the General Assembly sends its approved legislation
to the other chamber for consideration.

"The House of Delegates chose not to impose the half-mile spacing in its
version," he said.

Wampler, Bell and other legislators on both sides of the General Assembly
had introduced similar bills this year in response to three unrelated
attempts to open new methadone clinics in the Roanoke area and in Washington
County, near Bristol.

Washington County officials in December learned of South Carolina-based
Appalachian Treatment Services' plan to open a methadone clinic on Old
Dominion Road near the Lowry Hills community and John S. Battle High School.

Washington County's county administrator, Mark Reeter, said this week that
the county has 90 days instead of the 45 first thought to make a decision on
whether to allow the clinic to locate near Lowry Hills. That could put a
decision by the end of February.

Wampler earlier said his and Bell's legislation would not affect the Roanoke
clinic, although it, in effect, could limit the Appalachian Treatment
Services effort because the clinic has not yet obtained a state license.
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