Drug fight continues in county – Other methadone clinic applications looming

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Reporter Staff Writer

Attorneys announced Monday that other applications for methadone clinics in Shelby County are pending, regardless of the outcome of the county’s first proposed methadone clinic.

Attorneys for Susan Staats-Sidwell and Dr. Glenn Archibald called three witnesses Monday, preparing a defense for Shelby Treatment Center in Saginaw.

The clinic was forced to remain closed by Shelby County Circuit Judge Dan Reeves, who continued Monday’s hearing to Aug. 20.

Since a Certificate of Need was issued for Shelby Treatment Center, it seems inevitable that other clinics will follow if Saginaw residents succeed in blocking the county’s first methadone clinic, the defense claims.

Robert White, founder of the Northwest Alabama Treatment Center in Bessemer, said he will pursue a methadone clinic in Shelby County.

In a matter unrelated to the location of the clinic in Saginaw, White is suing Staats-Sidwell for opening Shelby Treatment Center. Sidwell, along with White, is a board member of the Northwest Alabama Treatment Center.

The second part of Monday’s hearing centered on litigation between Staats-Sidwell and White. White responded that he would pursue a Certificate of Need for a methadone clinic in Shelby County despite the outcome of the Shelby Treatment Center.

&uot;I sure am. Amen to that, brother,&uot; White said from the witness stand Monday. &uot;I’m going to do it the right way.&uot;

Dozens of residents from unincorporated Saginaw attended hearings leading up to Monday’s witness accounts. A smaller crowd sat before Reeves Monday while defense and plaintiff attorneys questioned three witnesses over the course of four hours.

Patsy Seales, who owns property adjacent to the yet-to-open Shelby Treatment Center on U.S. Highway 31, said she will not oppose future methadone clinic proposals if they are not in her neighborhood.

&uot;I have no objection as long as it’s not next door to me,&uot; Seales said.

Her husband, Charles, said medical facilities should house such clinics. Shelby Treatment Center is planned for a metal warehouse.

Others, such as John Edwards from Saginaw, said no place is suitable for methadone treatment.

&uot;I’d be opposed to it being anywhere in the U.S.,&uot; Edwards said on his way out of the courtroom Monday.

At least one Saginaw resident felt targeted by the Shelby Treatment Center.

&uot;None of the people proposing this actually live close to here, so they don’t care if it hurts our community,&uot; said Cullen Miculek.

Miculek, who said he is opposed to methadone treatment, said Monday’s testimony strayed from course.

&uot;It seems to be more about the potential owner’s profits more than actually helping anybody,&uot; he said.