[EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is a Letter to the Editor, written by a Reader. It does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Waterland Blog nor its staff:]
Letter to the Editor:
Several weeks ago, while driving past the Woodmont School and lines of parents and neighbors with signs protesting the the Woodmont Recovery Center’s proposed Methadone Clinic, I decided to write of my experiences and also provide web sites of other cities facing methadone clinics and crime.
Historically, methadone clinics started to treat heroin addicts in New York City in the mid 1960s and affiliated crimes became a major city-wide issue. Then and now, the crimes have to do with the rampant drug marketplaces that operate nearby. Crimes are concentrated in the trading of patients methadone doses for illicit street drugs including crack cocaine, heroin, marijuana, morphine, methamphetamines and others. In recent years, adding such prescribed drugs as Oxycontin, Oxycodone and Adderall for example, provided by local as well as out-of-town drug dealers and drug cartels has led to continued drug overdoses. On occasions when these criminal drug dealing issues go bad, there were and there continue to be major stabbings and shootings taking place on neighborhood streets within the five boroughs of New York City. Methadone patients, street drug dealers and innocent passers-by were and are injured and killed.
In New York City, I have personally walked through drug marketplaces operating right outside methadone clinics on the street where I would transfer from a suburban commuter train to a N.Y.C. subway to the south Bronx and my position as Director of Clinical and Rehabilitation services of a large mental health clinic for mentally ill substance abusers.
In Spanish Harlem in 1970, as the Program Director of The East Harlem Center of the Children’s Aid Society, I supervised social workers who concentrated their assignments on providing services to substance abusers returning from the Vietnam War. Shortly thereafter, I was appointed by the N.Y.C. Bureau of the Budget to a position of Senior Consultant for the N.Y.C. Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation Services, where I served for eight years.
During my seven years as an Assistant Professor in the Social Work Program at Pacific Lutheran University, I was appointed to a Prevalence Study Work Group for the Pierce County Chemical Dependency Program, where we evaluated the major cities of Pierce County for substance abuse issues and plans for recovery.
There are times when drug dealers operate in front of or close to a clinic and there are times when they choose nearby areas to carry out transactions. I submit several websites as examples.
- Methadone Clinic’s Move is Blocked/San Mateo County’s Residential Area had been intended new site (CA)
- NYPD Lacks Resources to Battle “Drug Market” Outside Clinic (Methadone)
- Probe Confirms Dealing of Drugs near D.C. Clinics (Methadone)
- Drug Dealers Target Clients of D.C. Methadone Clinic
- Drug Market Thrives Methadone Clinics
- Neighbors say Methadone Clinics Bringing in Crime (Orange Co., Florida)
These websites help to focus our attention on our concerns about the opening of a Woodmont Recovery Center Methadone Clinic in Des Moines, especially near the Woodmont School and the Woodmont and Redondo neighborhood homes. There have already been dirty needles found on the corner of 16th Avenue and 272nd Street near to the Woodmont School, the Public Library and other places where local children play. The proposed Pacific Highway location in and of itself is a dangerous idea in its proximity to already existing crime. Our Des Moines Police Department needs our full support if and when these additional criminal behaviors arrive.
Dr. Alexander Szabo
Candidate, City of Des Moines, Council Position No. 2
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