Public member concerned over alleged clinic actions

Published 12:24 am Friday, June 21, 2019

At the regular meeting of the Middlesboro City Council Tuesday, a community member discussed her concerns over a local clinic and alleged protocols taking place.

Angela Jackson is urging the council and community to write and question the University of Kentucky and Appalachian Regional Hospital on alleged actions happening within the clinic.

“The last meeting I came to I requested you guys to look at the harm reduction program through the University of Kentucky,” Jackson said. “They have a needle exchange program, and I’m for that needle exchange. But, I also found out that they have slid in the harm reduction program in connection with the University of Kentucky and ARH Regional Hospital through their women’s health clinic.”

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According to Jackson, there is a clinic for pregnant women within the Women’s Health Clinic.

“They were giving Subutex and Narcan,” she alleged. “I understand from a person, a reliable source they’ve changed to suboxone.”

She explained that it is her understanding that it is a test study through the harm reduction program.

“They have grants, the hospital has a grant for that and a grant for a group therapy,” she said. “I’m opposed to this program. It’s just another suboxone clinic.”

She told the council that the clinic is inside the Apex building on Cumberland Avenue and to her knowledge it was allegedly grandfathered in when work was being done to remove the other suboxone clinics from Middlesboro.

“I think this is a heinous thing to do an experiment on pregnant women,” Jackson said. “The babies are sent home after five days and the mother or the father or whoever takes care of them is told that they are going to be extra cranky for a month. I think the extra cranky is just slang for withdrawal.”

Jackson questioned the follow-up care on the babies due to the side effects from suboxone.

“It’s not just withdrawal,” she said.

She read side effects to the council and audience that include hydrocephalus, glaucoma, congenital heart defects, spina bifida, and many others.

“They don’t follow up on these babies,” she said. “We are the ones that take care of the babies and we are the ones that bear the cost of the babies.”

She continued to explain that the mothers can be arrested and the baby can be taken away because it is illegal for a pregnant mother to take suboxone.

“My opinion is that if you choose to have that baby and you choose to take those drugs, your rights end where that baby’s rights begin,” she said. “I wish we had an advocate for the for the babies like we do the mothers.”

She pointed out that the region experienced this with black lung and Big Pharma.

“I resent that every time we turn around they are experimenting on Southeastern Kentucky. We are not human guinea pigs and I resent it,” she said. “They always put it off on the taxpayer and it seems like Big Pharma, Big Tobacco, and Big Coal, they get away with murder. First, hydrocodone, oxycontin, and now it’s suboxone. We don’t have to put up with it.”

She explained that the harm reduction program is from a grant that Hal Rogers created for the needle exchange.

“We don’t have to put up with it,” Jackson explained. “We are left with the horrible cost of what happens to these babies. It’s womb to tomb addiction.”

Before closing, she encouraged again that the council and community write and question the actions allegedly taking place.

“I wish you would write University of Kentucky and ARH to explain themselves,” she encouraged. “Why weren’t we notified of this program? Did this program have to get a license from Code Enforcement because it is a suboxone clinic? It’s a shame. It’s a crying shame and we should write to the University of Kentucky and ask them why they would do this to us.”

Councilman Bo Green spoke up and explained that there is an ordinance in regards to clinics.

“We do have a treatment clinic ordinance we adopted,” Green said.

Mayor Rick Nelson explained to Jackson and the audience that he and the council would look into if the clinic was operating under correct ordinances through the City’s Code Enforcement Board.

There will be a work session with the Middlesboro City Council on July 9. The next regular council meeting will be July 16.