Sheriff Graybeal: Methadone clinic ‘not a good fit for this neighborhood’

WASHINGTON COUNTY, TN (WJHL) – Over 100 people waited in line Friday night to get inside Daniel Boone High School’s Little Theater to voice their concerns about a proposed methadone clinic that could be coming to Gray.

East Tennessee State University and Mountain States Health Alliance want to open a methadone clinic at Gray Commons Professional Park.

Several people showed up to the public meeting Friday to plead their case to the Tennessee Health Services and Development Agency, who will decide whether the clinic’s certificate of need will be approved.

“The members of the board are to judge by state law every application to whether or not the project proposed is necessary, whether it’s economically feasible, and whether it would contribute to the orderly development of health care,” Jim Christoffersen, general counsel for the Tennessee Health Services and Development Agency, said.

Washington County Sheriff Ed Graybeal is one of the many people who are against the clinic.

Graybeal spoke at the meeting Friday saying it’s not a question of whether or not people want to help someone, but said the proposed methadone clinic is “just not a good fit for this neighborhood.”

In his many years in law enforcement, Graybeal said he hasn’t seen methadone help.

“I just had a young man tell me in jail he was glad he was in jail because he got off of methadone,” Graybeal said.

Others, like Executive Director for Patient Access to Addiction Treatment Paul Trivette, said the clinic is crucial in the battle against drug addiction in our region.

“The methadone clinic itself and methadone has shown a 60 to 90 percent success rate of preventing relapse for this disease,” Trivette said. “We have to treat these individuals.”

The board will now take their findings back to Nashville and decide whether or not ETSU and Mountain States will receive their certificate of need.

However, some say it’s already a done deal.

“They need to listen to our voice. Our voice is valid and our voice deserves to be heard,” Gray resident Pamela Davis said.

Even if the certificate of need is approved, ETSU and Mountain States Health Alliance will still need permission from the City of Johnson City to rezone the property in Gray.

Copyright 2016 WJHL. All rights reserved.

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