Puyallup city staff say they need more time to study a proposal to site a methadone clinic on Puyallup’s South Hill.
They are asking the City Council to extend its moratorium on such drug treatment clinics, first imposed in early November, by 90 days.
The council will hold a public hearing on the proposal at the end of its 6:30 p.m. council meeting at Puyallup City Hall on Tuesday.
Puyallup has formed an internal work group of representatives from the city’s major departments to consider issues surrounding methadone clinics.
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Northwest Integrated Health wants to expand its drug treatment regimen by adding methadone administration to its existing program of counseling and other measures. Methadone maintenance treatment uses a synthetic substance as a substitute for illegal drugs such as heroin and pain killers.
At the time the council approved the first 90-day moratorium, City Attorney Steve Kirkelie said the city’s unfamiliarity with operating methadone clinics handicapped it in drafting proposed rules.
“We’ve never had this type of use in the city before,” Kirkelie told The News Tribune. “We need to look at what impacts we can expect from this and how to mitigate the impacts.”
The Northwest Integrated Health clinic is at 3800 3rd St. SE behind a strip mall that includes businesses such as T.J. Maxx and Office Depot.
The clinic employs two full-time and four part-time physicians and five counselors. The clinic has told the council that the need for such a clinic in East Pierce County is great, as evidenced by approximately 30 calls it gets weekly from addicts who want to become patients.
The two other methadone clinics in Pierce County are located in Tacoma and Lakewood.
John Gillie: 253-597-8663