A fact-finding public hearing is scheduled for May 28 on a proposal to locate a methadone clinic in Johnson City.
The Tennessee Health Services and Development Agency will hold the hearing at 5 p.m. in the Jones Meeting Center at the Johnson City Public Library, 100 W. Millard St.
A certificate of need for the clinic was filed with the agency in March by Steve Kester, co-owner of Tri-Cities Holding LLC, a company started to locate a methadone clinic at 4 Wesley Court.
Kester said previously that he did research and found about 1,000 people in the Tri-Cities region are seeking opiate-addiction treatment and prescription medication abuse exists in the area.
He also said the closest locations for these patients to get methadone treatments are in Knoxville or Asheville, N.C. That can mean a 100- or 200-mile round trip depending on location.
The application for the certificate of need proposes a clinic that will be a non-residential substitution-based treatment center for opiate addiction.
Mark Farber, deputy director of the Tennessee Health Services and Development Agency, said only one request was received for a public hearing.
Farber said if need be, the hearing will last until the library closes at 8 p.m.
He and other staff members of the agency will be at the hearing.
“This is just an opportunity to submit testimony,” Farber said. “A summary of the public hearing will be written up and submitted to our board members as part of the packet they receive on this application.”
Agency board members will meet June 26 to either approve or decline the certificate, Farber said.
Supporters and those in opposition to the clinic will be able to attend and speak at the June hearing.
Opposition has already been voiced locally. At the March 25 Washington County Commission meeting, a resolution opposing the certificate of need was unanimously approved.
The resolution cites a decline in property values around methadone clinics and “questionable treatment that has been known to lead to methadone addiction” as reasons for opposition to the clinic.
Anyone desiring to make comments may present oral testimony at the public hearing but are encouraged to submit these comments in writing at the public hearing or mail them to the Tennessee Health Services and Development Agency, Frost Building, Third Floor, 161 Rosa L. Parks Blvd., Nashville, TN 37243 to the attention of Mark Farber.