Dade residents oppose methadone clinic

Dade residents oppose methadone clinic

April 4th, 2011 By Mike Chambers in News

TRENTON, Ga.-Dade County residents turned out in force last week to say how much they don't want a methadone clinic in their community.

Melissa and Scott Hancock have plans to open a clinic called the Tri-State Treatment Center in Wildwood. Methadone is a synthetic opiate that is used to treat heroin addiction.

But county leaders oppose the plan, and county commissioners voted unanimously last week on second reading to ban the facility.

At a public hearing before the vote, Sheriff Patrick Cannon left no question where he stands.

"We don't want this in our county," Cannon told the audience. He cited federal statistics pointing to methadone as the "fastest growing cause of narcotic death" in the nation.

County Executive Ted Rumley said, "We oppose it and the majority of the people oppose it."

He said commissioners' phones were "ringing off the hook" in support of the ban.

The Hancocks disagreed.

Melissa Hancock said such a clinic would "not be a bad thing" and could help those addicted to heroin and other opiates.

"I know the unknown is scary," Hancock said, adding that building the center could "put a lot of drug dealers out of business." She said the couple also hopes to conduct and support drug education efforts in Dade County schools.

But she got no support from Dade residents.

Wes Hixson said such a clinic would bring "an influx of heroin addicts" and "criminals" into Dade county.

Commissioners must hold a third and final vote this week before the ban can become law.

Hancock said she's not going to give up. She questioned the legality of an ordinance banning methadone clinics in light of the federal Americans with Disabilities Act.

Contact Mike Chambers at chambers@tvn.net.