BANGOR – The Penobscot County Metro Treatment Center, the city’s second methadone clinic, has operated virtually under the radar for about two months and that’s just fine with the clinic’s management and city officials.
A city advisory committee formed to monitor the clinic, which is located in Maine Square Mall off Hogan Road, met Thursday at City Council chambers. All agreed that the facility’s need is warranted and were pleased that no problems have been reported as of yet.
“We’ve had no reports of any issues in and around the clinic and no complaints from adjacent business owners,” Bangor Deputy Police Chief Peter Arno said. “So that’s good.”
The clinic opened on Nov. 28, 2005, after many months of speculation that it would bring unwanted problems to the city and, more specifically, the other tenants of Maine Square Mall.
But so far, the 60 patients who are receiving treatment have barely created a stir.
“Many of the tenants have said, ‘I didn’t even know [the clinic] was open,'” said Gary Eckmann, an advisory committee member.
The clinic, operated by Orlando, Fla.-based Colonial Management Group, has seen the most patient traffic in the early to midmorning hours, according to Lynn Costigan, Colonial’s associate director for new development.
“Most of our clients are out by 10:30 [a.m.], and our employees are gone by 2 [p.m.],” said Costigan, who participated in Thursday’s meeting by telephone from Rhode Island.
Committee member Rick Fournier and others expressed minor concern that the number of patients has grown rapidly, but Costigan explained that “initial influx” is normal.
“At the beginning, everyone is basically waiting for us to open,” she said. “But I don’t think it will continue to grow as rapidly.”
“We’re not going to allow it to grow any quicker than we can handle,” Costigan added.
Colonial has said previously that the maximum number of patients treated at the Penobscot County Metro Treatment Center will be no higher than 250.
Bill Lowenstein, associate director of the state Office of Substance Abuse, said the clinic likely will be inspected in a few weeks, but like city leaders, he said his office has not heard any complaints.
“This committee [in Bangor] has really been a testament to that need and should serve as a good model,” he said.
As for the future of the committee, chairwoman and City Councilor Susan Hawes said it will meet in the next three months for an additional update.