Our view: Methadone concerns legit no matter the operatorThe concerns and questions proved legit.
The concerns and questions proved legit.
Would a second methadone clinic in Duluth attract unsavory activity and congregations of addicts looking to buy illegal narcotics? Would another clinic be well-run? How about its location; would it be inappropriately near homes, parks or schools? Is there a need in our community for another facility? Does the treatment even work?
The questions and concerns came from a former police chief, from the St. Louis County Board, from the Duluth City Council and from many others in the Duluth community. And late last week, the Minnesota Department of Human Services commissioner denied the Superior Treatment Center’s request to open a second methadone treatment clinic in Duluth. The center failed to prove an adequate need for the clinic, the commissioner wrote. She indicated the St. Louis County Board’s opposition weighed in her decision.
So kudos to the County Board, county officials and others for waving yellow flags of caution, for voicing opposition and for asking hard questions. But will those flags continue to be waved?
Curiously, while publicly opposed to the Superior Treatment Center, the county has indicated a willingness to work with the Center for Alcohol and Drug Treatment toward the same goal of opening a second methadone clinic in Duluth. “We would be more open to CADT because of our historical positive relationship,” the county’s Public Health and Human Services Director Ann Busche told the News Tribune last week.
So the county simply likes CADT better? Did that factor into its opposition?
Surely, there’s more to it than that.
Just as surely as questions persist over whether the treatment even works. Minnesota has 14 methadone centers; they became popular during the 2000s. Admissions grew from 43 to 1,001 during the decade, according to data from the Department of Human Services. But the percentage of patients successfully discharged never rose above 22 percent, and in 2009 it bottomed out at 3 percent.
Some very real concerns remain and demand to be satisfactorily answered — no matter who’s proposing a second methadone clinic for Duluth.