Brewer Weighs Methadone Clinic Ordinance 

Opening a methadone clinic in a neighborhood can cause controversy. That’s why some Brewer city leaders want to head off the issue entirely.A team of city leaders recommended to the planning board Monday that Brewer modify its zoning, to regulate where narcotic treatment facilities could open – and where they’d be prohibited.”We ran into a situation several years back with adult entertainment, and we didn’t have an ordinance in place, and it caused the city quite a bit of heartbreak and headaches,” says Code Enforcement Officer David Russell.He says Brewer wants to stay ahead of what could be another controversial issue.Even though no methadone clinics have approached the city, he says they should have a zoning ordinance in place now.”Without an ordinance they can basically go anywhere they want to. We’re trying to keep this within the business district in the Wilson Street and Dirigo Drive corridor.”The ordinance includes a 250-foot restricted zone around schools in the area. One neighbor shared a concern Monday. “I’m just a property or two away. That’s the distance.”The city’s team researched case law and clinics in other towns before recommending the zoning change.”These treatment programs are for people who have the addiction they just can’t battle by themselves,” says Brewer Police Chief Perry Antone, “so, there is a place for them in our society.”Methadone clinics are federally protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act.”The clinics that have more of a holistic treatment approach, that have psychotherapy, and work with the clientele to rebuild life skills – in combination with the methadone therapy are typically more successful clinics,” says Brewer Police Lt. Christopher Martin.”Law enforcement,” says Antone, “holds people accountable who abuse these sort of programs.” All but one member of the planning board OK’ed the zoning change. The ordinance will go before the Brewer City Council at their meeting next month.