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Update: Proposed Johnson City methadone clinic denied

June 26th, 2013 5:22 pm by Rex Barber

Update: Proposed Johnson City methadone clinic denied

Proposed location for methadone clinic.

Johnson City will not have a methadone clinic any time soon.

Members of the Tennessee Health Services and Development Agency denied a certificate of need filed by Tri-Cities Holdings, Inc. earlier this year to locate a methadone clinic at 4 Wesley Court in a hearing Wednesday in Nashville.

Mark Farber, deputy director at THSDA, said via email Wednesday evening that the CON was denied.

A representative who answered the phone Wednesday at the THSDA office said there was a lot of opposition to the CON at the hearing.

Specific details of the hearing were not immediately available Wednesday evening.

Steve Kester, a co-owner of Tri-Cities Holdings, filed the certificate of need for the clinic back in March.

He said his own research indicated about 1,000 people in the Tri-Cities were seeking treatment for opiate addiction and that the closest locations for these patients to get that treatment was in Knoxville or Asheville, N.C.

A call to Kester seeking comment was not immediately returned.

Methadone clinics dispense methadone, a schedule II narcotic analgesic, for people who have abused heroin or other opiates.

A suit was filed on behalf of Tri-Cities Holdings April 19 claiming Johnson City’s refusal to grant a permit for the clinic to locate at 4 Wesley Court caused financial damage and forced opiate-addicted residents to travel unnecessary distances to seek treatment. Johnson City was also violating the Americans with Disabilities Act, the suit alleged.

U.S. District Court Judge Ronnie Greer dismissed the suit earlier this month, concluding that the plaintiff’s claims were not “ripe for decision” in part because it was impossible for the court to know whether the harm alleged would ever happen.

The public was able to make arguments for and against the clinic by writing THSDA and at a public hearing in late May at the Johnson City Public Library.

Many people showed up at that hearing to express opposition to the clinic but so did those who supported the clinic.

Kester said at that hearing that the clinic would have offered services other than just opiate treatment.

Shortly after the CON was filed, a resolution opposing a resolution opposing the clinic was drafted and presented at the March meeting of the Washington County Commission.

That resolution was unanimously approved.

Read more about the proposed methadone clinic here.

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