Methadone clinic to open in Hanover
A second methadone clinic is expected to open in York County, making it easier for more heroin and opioid addicts to access the daily treatment.
"It's in negotiations right now with the current methadone provider," said Steve Warren, county administrator for mental health and drug and alcohol programs. "The state has already approved funding that would go toward the start-up."
The $100,000 in approved funding will go toward finding and securing a site, setting up the clinic, hiring staff and other start-up costs, he said.
"It's definitely a significant need," Warren said.
York County has one methadone clinic, run by Pyramid Healthcare Inc. and located in Springettsbury Township. It previously was licensed to serve 210 patients and is now licensed to serve 280, according to Warren. There is currently a waiting list of about 50 people, he said.
"In January, it was over 120," Warren said.
Daily regimen: But recovering addicts can't access the treatment if they can't make it to the clinic every day.
Methadone works by occupying the brain receptors affected by heroin and other opiates, "blocking the euphoric and sedating effects" of the drugs, according to the Centers for Disease Control website. It is distributed in single doses at licensed clinics only, according to the CDC, meaning addicts using the program must travel to a methadone clinic daily.
"Is it still difficult to get into treatment sometimes in York? Yes, definitely," said York County Coroner Pam Gay, who co-chairs the York County Heroin Task Force. "And we know that it's a problem."
There is currently no timetable for opening the Hanover clinic, according to Warren.
"It will happen," he said. "But there's still a lot of work to be done."
Relieves 'burden': Hanover Police Chief Dwayne Smith said he thinks the clinic will be a good thing for the greater Hanover community.
"I think we're going to find that better treatment availability will better serve people of the Hanover/Adams area, as opposed to having them travel 45 minutes to the other side of York," Smith said. "It does relieve the burden on persons seeking treatment. And that's a positive."
As of last week, there were 17 confirmed heroin deaths in York County so far this year, with eight more pending deaths that are expected to involve heroin, according to Gay.
In 2014, York County had 62 heroin and heroin-related deaths, Gay said. Records from the coroner's office show that as of this time last year, there had been 29 heroin-related deaths.
According to Gay, 61 percent of the fatal heroin overdoses in 2014 happened in rural or suburban areas — including Hanover — while 39 percent occurred in York City.