City holds first reading for treatment clinic ordinance

Published 1:37 pm Thursday, July 19, 2018

One of the most pertinent topics of discussion during the Middlesboro City Council meeting on Tuesday was the first reading of the Outpatient Drug or Alcohol Treatment Clinic ordinance.

The presence of these facilities, often dubbed “suboxone clinics,” is a point of controversy among communities hit hardest by the opioid crisis.

The ordinance states an outpatient drug or alcohol treatment clinic is a program or facility operated for the purpose of and specializing in the care, treatment and/or rehabilitation of persons suffering with addictions or dependency to alcohol or controlled substance addiction.

These facilities often distribute methadone, suboxone and other substances for said treatment.

Key highlights of the of ordinance state that no person or business is permitted to administer or prescribe medication that is commonly used for the purpose of drug abuse or addiction within the corporate limits of the city within a 1,000-foot radius of any state licensed operator or regulated school or daycare center for minors, public park or playground.

Also, no outpatient drug or alcohol treatment clinic shall be located within 1,000 feet of any property that is occupied by a school or daycare or any other facility for minors and public parks and playground.

In regards to the radius in which one clinic can orbit another, no outpatient drug or alcohol treatment clinic will be located within 2,500 feet of another outpatient drug and alcohol treatment clinic.

One guest at the meeting asked what the benefit of having one of these clinics within city limits even is.

Mayor Bill Kelley stated in response, “I’m not going to try and argue that. My opinion is I don’t see the benefit, but you do have a lot of people out here that will argue the other side.”

It was noted that due to health-related concerns, a city cannot completely zone out a clinic.

These clinics, per the new ordinance, are prohibited from being located in zoning areas B-1, B-3 and I-1. B-2 zones are the only zones approved in the ordinance.

“We’re trying to get the best plan to put in place to get things organized as they go in,” said Kelley.

For more information on these ordinances, contact your local city council member. Further reading and discussion of this ordinance will occur in the future.