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Methadone clinic is being misunderstood by critics

You might want to ask yourself why has there been so much said and written in condemnation of the placement of a methadone clinic in a dual residential-commercial area of Buffalo’s resurgent West Side.

One factor may just be that the average citizen in our communities has an inaccurate depiction and bias against the methadone client as an undesirable “not-in-my-backyard,” as continually and implicitly promulgated by our leaders and spokespeople, some of whom, like those in the health and behavioral health medical communities, should know better.

I have been involved in the direct care of the behaviorally compromised in that five square miles of inner-city Buffalo for the past 30-plus years, and I can tell you first-hand that the methadone client can be one of the more stable of the behaviorally compromised.

New York State recently got it right when it passed laws promoting more and easier access along with insurance reimbursement parity. There is no “big money” in addictions care. And putting clinics in industrial smokestack zones certainly doesn’t encourage folks to come for help. Those other unfortunates on Main Street being disruptive in the community we read about recently are not the methadone client, by the way.

Lastly, that clinic can come into my neighborhood as I personally know folks and their families struggling with this terrible disease.

Keith G. Gruchy, R.N., Ed.M.

Cheektowaga