Pilot Program For Opiate Aid
By Elena Olmstead
Herald staff writer
A California company is considering bringing a methadone clinic to the Mid-Columbia.
Dave Hopper, Benton County’s human services director, told county commissioners Monday that CRC Health Group is looking at Benton and Franklin counties as possible sites for the clinic, which helps treat people addicted to opiates.
Opiates include everything from heroin to prescription painkillers such as OxyContin, Vicodin and Percocet.
“There is a problem out there,” Hopper said, estimating there are at least 20 to 25 people in the county human services system who would benefit from a methadone clinic.
Methadone clinics typically provide a daily dose of methadone to people who are addicted to opiates. Hopper gave the commissioners information from the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services that said methadone blocks the craving for heroin and helps block the highs and lows that can come with opiate addiction.
Hopper said the process of locating the clinic still is in early stages, but something he wanted to let the board know was a possibility because it could be controversial.
“I appreciate the FYI,” said Commissioner Leo Bowman, “but we need to know more about it.”
Hopper assured the board that placing a methadone clinic anywhere in the state is a lengthy process, and said more information will come to the board before a final decision.
Phil Herschman, president of CRC Health Group’s opiate treatment program, said the company has been working with the state to determine if a clinic is needed in the area. He said the state’s Division of Alcohol and Substance Abuse has agreed there is a need for a clinic, and now the company is doing its own needs assessment.
The next step will be pinpointing a location for the clinic. Herschman said once a spot is chosen the company will work to get community approval.
CRC Health Group operates 50 clinics in the United States, including four in Washington in Lynnwood, Renton, Lakewood and Vancouver.
This would not be the first methadone clinic in the area, but Hopper said it has been 20 years since a clinic operated in the Mid-Columbia.