Townshend Residents Worry About Suboxone Clinic
12/22/11 12:04PM VPR Staff
(Host) People in Townshend are raising concerns about a suboxone clinic slated to open in their community. They worry it will attract drug addicts and invite crime to the town situated on the Upper West River.
Suboxone is a prescription medication designed to ease withdrawal from opiates like heroin, OxyContin and Percocet. It is prescribed for take-home use unlike methadone, which, under federal law, can only be administered under strict controls.
Doctor Mario Hasaj of Townshend wants to run the clinic from his home along Route 35.
Hedy Harris is the chair of the Select Board in Townshend. She says there's not much that local government can do to stop him because the Windham County town doesn't have zoning restrictions.
(Harris) "We have a town plan but that is really very advisory. And in it there is a health services zone, which encompasses Grace Cottage Hospital, a couple of private physicians, dentists, a pharmacy. And this is definitely out of that zone."
(Host) There are 32 physicians and 11 treatment programs scattered across Vermont who prescribe the drug, and state Department of Health numbers indicate a sharp spike in the number of patients seeking help with opiate addiction.
Chairwoman Harris says the Select Board held a hearing earlier this week to extinguish rumors and calm any fears.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported that there are 45 suboxone clinics in Vermont.