Methadone clinics often are seen as the bad neighbor nobody wants, says the Baltimore Sun. Residents concerned about crime and other quality-of-life issues protest if they even hear word of a methadone clinic, which treats those addicted to heroin and other opiates, is considering moving into the area. Drug-addiction specialists who say methadone is one of the most effective ways to treat opiate dependency are hoping a new study led by a University of Maryland School of Medicine faculty member debunks concerns that the clinics breed crime and drag down neighborhoods.
The study is the first that takes a geographic look at crime around clinics, says the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Previous research examined the link between crime and methadone users. “The concern is that methadone treatment facilities are related to a higher crime rate in the area, but there is no evidence that this is what happens,” said Antonello Bonci, scientific director of the institute. “We hope this study will alleviate this concern. I hope people will look at this data and realize it is not a problem.” The research, led by Susan Boyd, found that crime doesn’t increase because a methadone clinic opens. “I think there is still a very bad perception of methadone clinics,” she said. “There are many more people out there who need treatment, but there are not enough slots and clinics available, and part of it is because of the community stereotypes they have about methadone clinics.”