St. Louis County Seeking Input for New Methadone Clinic

By KBJR News 1

St. Louis County Seeking Input for New Methadone Clinic

September 26, 2012 Updated Sep 26, 2012 at 6:29 PM CST

Duluth, MN (Northlands NewsCenter)
-- A new methadone clinic is in the works in the wake of controversy surrounding the Northland's only provider of the drug.

The Lake Superior Treatment Center could lose its license soon after the state found serious violations with the clinic's operations.

For years opiate addicts walked through the doors of the Lake Superior Treatment Center and hoped to leave someday clean.

It's a problem that has plagued the northland.

"I feel like we have an opium problem in this area, in Northeastern Minnesota, Northwestern Wisconsin, the upper Midwest," said St. Louis County Commissioner Steve O'Neil.

Now, the place that's attempted to help people reach sobriety using methadone is under fire for multiple violations.

Pending an appeal to the state, the Lake Superior Treatment Center will lose their license October 8th, prompting St. Louis County to expedite their search for a new methadone clinic.

"The big difference is we want a treatment center that's focused and based on treatment, that it's primarily about treatment, not simply dispersing methadone," said O'Neil.

Next week, the county will send out requests to providers to get another methadone clinic in Duluth to address a growing opiate problem.

"Do we have a provider that is meeting those needs, but doing it in a conciseness way," said Ann Busche with St. Louis County Health and Human Services.

But, until the state signs off on the recommend treatment center or the Lake Superior Treatment Center appeals their license revocation, hundred of patients could be out of medication.

"We're concerned about the 400 plus folks since this is happening in our city and in our county, and their families that are using this facility. We want people ideally to reduce their levels of methadone, ideally we would like people to end using methadone," said O'Neil.

So the battle to combat opiate addiction hangs in limbo for the time being, until action is taken on behalf of those struggling to get clean.

St. Louis County still plans to send the request for proposals if the Lake Superior Treatment Center appeals their revocation.

They plan to discuss their findings with the state to see if two methadone clinics are necessary in Duluth.

Zach Vavricka

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