County judge postpones drug clinic opening

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 20, 2004

The warehouse on U.S. Highway 31 in Saginaw that was planned to house Shelby County’s first methadone clinic will remain closed pending a third hearing on the controversial drug treatment center’s fate.

On Monday, Circuit Judge Dan Reeves scheduled a third hearing for Aug. 9, when attorneys representing the clinic’s owners can call witnesses. Plaintiffs against the clinic will also call witnesses.

Clinic owners Susan Staats-Sidwell and Dr. Glenn Archibald asked Reeves to reverse his earlier ruling that the clinic remain closed until its operators reapply for their operating license.

The license, called a Certificate of Need, was issued by the State Health Planning and Development Agency in Mongtomery.

Shelby County District Attorney Robby Owens and Pelham attorney Mickey Johnson, representing plaintiffs in the case against the methadone clinic, claimed Saginaw residents were deceived and were not given a fair chance to speak about the clinic set to open in their unincorporated community.

Originally, Sidwell and Archibald applied for a Certificate of Need for a clinic in Calera.

After failing to secure a lease, the license was modified for a Saginaw location.

Clinic attorney David Belser said Monday that the Certificate of Need applied to the entire county.

&uot;The evidence was that we applied for a Certificate of Need in Shelby County, and we would lease a facility if we could find it in Calera,&uot; Belser said.

&uot;That was our intent.&uot;

Arguing that residents were unaware of the forthcoming clinic, Owens said the clinic operators should reapply.

&uot;The adequate remedy is simply to reapply,&uot; Owens said.

Methadone is a prescribed drug used to treat addiction to prescription painikillers, heroin and other opiates.