, Newburyport, MA


December 19, 2013

Our view: methadone clinic dispute should be closely watched


The stakes here are high. No city should be forced to accept against its will a methadone clinic in a business or residential district.

Methadone is a synthetic drug used to treat addiction to heroin and other opiates. But its use is controversial. Some argue that such treatment in effect trades one addiction for another.

Nor is methadone as safe as its advocates claim.

Methadone was the leading cause of drug overdose death in New Hampshire from 2005 to 2010 and ranked third after heroin and oxycodone in 2011 and 2012, the Concord Monitor reported in June citing statistics from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.

Methadone clinics are associated with an increase in crime and the drug will find its way into the general population as users swap their doses for cash or other narcotics.

Haverhill and other communities must stand up for the right of their citizens to keep the scourge of drugs at a distance and at least under a measure of control. And while they are fighting this specific case in court, they ought to petition local legislators to set some limits on the use of the Dover Amendment, which has become another example of legislative zeal falling victim to the law of unintended consequences.

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