Methadone clinic on hold after state issues moratorium - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Methadone clinic on hold after state issues moratorium

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GUNTERSVILLE, AL (WAFF) -

There's good news for communities fighting against new methadone clinics.

The state has issued a one year moratorium on building any new facilities.

City leaders are pleased with this decision.

State leaders say they need to reevaluate these clinics.

The moratorium has now put a proposed clinic for Guntersville on hold until at least next September.

State Certificate of Need Chairman Neal Morrison said the clinics are popping up all over the state, he feels, with no accountability.

Morrison said many patients trying to get off street drugs like heroin are now getting hooked on legal methadone. He said he knows of cases where some people have been on methadone for a decade.

Guntersville city leaders agree and are pleased such a clinic won't be able to come to town - at least for now.

"Just haven't heard anything positive about it," said Mayor Bob Hembree. "Law enforcement was concerned about it.  As you know, we requested it not be granted, and so we're pleased that it's put off and isn't going to happen."

County Commissioner Bill Stricklend has said a previous clinic in Guntersville became a problem and worked to have it shut down.

The news comes a little late for opponents of an approved clinic in Jackson County, but the new methadone clinic at the former Stevenson Medical Clinic on Highway 85 will be under heavy scrutiny.

Morrison said this site will serve as a test case for accountability.

If they don't come up to snuff, Morrison said he won't hesitate to pull their certificate.

This law won't impact already existing clinics around the state, including six clinics in North Alabama.

There are two in Huntsville and others in Cullman, Sheffield, Gadsden, and Hamilton.

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