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Everything Bremerton | Commentary
For some time now, the Bremerton City Council has faced ongoing decisions surrounding methadone distribution and possible dispensary clinic locations within the city limits.
Within just the last couple of months, a series of media investigations at the regional level into methadone, its use, distribution and failings have revealed some very serious concerns that now have the State of Washington Medicaid officials issuing emergency health advisories that include methadone.
Currently, Kitsap County is essentially dumping the issue on Bremerton by virtue of a county law against methadone clinics that continues to violate state law and Americans with Disabilities Act.
If the county is going to dump the countywide methadone issue on Bremerton, then it is Bremerton that needs to retain firm control over the precise location through zoning restrictions and the ability of the methadone distribution facility to remain in an approved annual operation status via a specifically implemented and adopted city licensing process.
Currently, within the Bremerton community there are a few people researching the subject of methadone distribution centers and the ramifications that they can have on a community. Local business owner Robert Parker is one of the individuals and we have had some lengthy discussions on this very issue. Robert continues to present some very valid points and the local leadership and city council would do very well to listen to his perspective and educate themselves via the data he has complied and is willing to share. The issues extend to traffic type and volume, police response volume increases and emergency medical response volume increases that would occur under current budget conditions that already have these services being limited and stretched.
To date, the location focus has been about the proximity to parks and schools. Yes, there is truly a concern when it comes to schools. Parks, not so much.
The real concern should be about the proximity to available alcohol sources such as bars and stores with liquor licenses. It has been shown that alcohol mixed with methadone can kill. When listing possible locations to zone for potential methadone distribution centers, alcohol locations should be marked, named and factored in.
I am not against treatment centers that offer and dispense solutions to community problems. I am against bringing in solutions that offers just as many if not more community problems than what they are intended to solve.
Proceed carefully with this Bremerton. And, most importantly do the hard, detailed work necessary to retain as much local control over what could be an expensive, problem-riddled method of addiction treatment and the manner in which methadone is dispensed within our community.