Methadone Clinic Opening Surprises People

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OLD LYCOMING TOWNSHIP -- A clinic that treats people addicted to heroin has opened near Williamsport.

In just the past few days, the Williamsport Family Medical Center opened in the Garden View Mall in Old Lycoming Township.

The clinic offers counseling and methadone treatment to people addicted to heroin.

Business owners and township officials said they were under the impression the clinic would be just another doctor's office, not a treatment center for people addicted to drugs including heroin.

"If any thing I would think it would be more located around the hospital, a couple of miles down the road from here," said Jan Kott, owner of Grand Rental Station.

Many people found out about the clinic from an advertisement in the paper. Kott is concerned the clinic's arrival could lead to a rise in crime.

Others said the clinic's presence is better than pretending there's no heroin problem at all.

"I don't feel unsafe, I don't feel it's going to disrupt my life in any way," said Stacey Mitstifier, a social worker.

Officials in Old Lycoming Township are meeting Friday to discuss what options there are when it comes to the methadone clinic.

"We want to find out is this something allowed where it is, is it not allowed, what steps should townships take from here," said township manager Bob Whitford.

So far, putting drug dealers or drug users behind bars has not seemed to stem the tide of heroin use in the greater Williamsport area. City police said it seems each year more and more people are dying as a result of heroin overdoses.

"It's really a sad day to have to come to terms with the fact the problem has gotten that far out of control," said Williamsport Police Captain Timothy Miller.

Captain Miller said heroin has been cheap to buy and is so pure, that it causes more people to become addicted.

Whatever the future holds for the new methadone clinic near the city, police see the facility as a sign of the severity of the drug problem in the Williamsport area.

"You'll know you have a heroin problem when the first methadone clinic opens up in your community. Lo and behold we find out there's a clinic opening up just down the road," added Captain Miller.

A spokesperson for the clinic had no comment.