PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The city's first methadone clinic will open on Tuesday.
Spectrum Health Systems announced on Friday that the new outpatient clinic will begin treatment and counseling beginning Oct. 9.
The clinic's Summer Street location had been the cause of controversy since news leaked of the 43-year-old nonprofit health agency's intention to locate a methadone clinic in the downtown. City officials attempts to block the move ended when a federal court found in Spectrum's favor.
Now the company will begin the services that many in the city protested against, fearing the clinic would draw an unsavory clientele and hamper downtown revitalization. The court settlement did ask the company to consider moving to facilities offered by Berkshire Health Systems when space becomes available; city officials are still hoping for that.
Debate has centered mostly around the location and not as much on the need for the clinic. Officials have agreed that the city has an opiod abuse problem and cite statistics that show it has one of the highest per capita rate of abuse in the state.
"There is a need in the treatment community, and Department of Public Health data shows that," Kristin Nolan, Spectrum's director of outpatient services, said in the prepared announcement of the opening. "Local residents will no longer have to travel roundtrip as far away as Springfield and Holyoke on a daily basis to get treatment. That travel time is certainly a hindrance to an individual trying to integrate back into being a productive member of the community."
Spectrum provides counseling, treatment and after-care planning. For more information, contact the intake department at 1-800-464-9555, Ext. 1161.
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