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Hundreds rally in opposition to Holmesburg methadone clinic 11


People lined up outside Guppies Childcare Center Tuesday to sign petitions and T-shirts in opposition of a methadone clinic on the 7900-block of Frankford Avenue.

As the sun beat down and the skies darkened to the north with the threat of rain Tuesday evening, Milt Martelack stood in the bed of a pickup truck, leading the crowd.

“Just say no to methadone,” the crowd cheered, speaking out against an addiction treatment clinic planned on the avenue by Healing Way, Inc.

Hundreds of people were chanting as cars whizzed up and down Frankford Avenue and police officers reminded those at the rally to stay out of the street. Residents and business owners of Holmesburg, Upper Holmesburg, Mayfair and beyond gathered to rally against the opening of a methadone clinic at 7908 Frankford Ave., across the street from schools and a daycare center.

“Can you imagine having to walk my 18-year-old son to the bus stop?” Sonia Latouche asked. Her son takes the 66 bus to school, waiting for it on the corner of Frankford Avenue and Decatur Street, where the clinic is set to open.

Teachers from Holmesburg Baptist Christian Academy have been fielding calls from worried parents, and business owners worry about drug addicts hanging out on the avenue.

“This thing flew under the radar,” says Mike Kaplan, whose furniture store is just doors away from the clinic site. Kaplan is referring to the permit obtained for the medical facility, which the applicant obtained without making the Holmesburg Civic Association, neighbors or local politicians aware of the plans.

But once they became aware of the plans for the site, the pols formulated plans of their own.

The office of 6th District Councilwoman Joan Krajewski has filed an appeal of the clinic’s permits, and is prepping for a hearing with the Zoning Board next month. Holmesburg’s Patti Vaughn and Melissa Casey will go, donning shirts signed by neighbors expressing their opposition to the clinic.

Wednesday, 172nd District Rep. Kevin Boyle will meet with the state health department. Boye will ask that the clinic’s permit be denied, or at least delayed, and called it a “disgrace” that such a move hasn’t already been made.

Meanwhile, other Northeast civics have pledged their support for Holmesburg. Holme Circle, Morrell Park and Tacony submitted written support earlier this week, expressing their opposition to the opening of a methadone clinic in what Holmesburg Civic President Fred Moore calls the “heart” of the neighborhood.

Coverage Timeline

7/26 meeting at Lincoln HS

7/20 Rep. Kevin Boyle to meet with state health department

7/19 other civic associations pledge support

7/15 Krajewski’s office says it will appeal clinic’s permit

7/13 Rep. Kevin Boyle pens letter to the editor

6/30 HCA member Patti Vaughn contacts NEast Philly about the clinic

“We can’t say we would want [a clinic] anywhere in the neighborhood,” Moore said as the rally died down around 6 :30 p.m.

Moore called 7908 Frankford Ave. an “inappropriate spot,” and not just for the parents, schools and shoppers on the avenue. There is no privacy, he explained of the busy corridor, and the property itself, which hosts 11 residential units above the proposed clinic site. Those seeking treatment wouldn’t be able to do so in private.

Moore will join Mayfair Civic Association President and CDC member Joe DeFelice next Tuesday at a meeting at Lincoln High School for the public to discuss the issue. City and state politicians are expected to attend, and opponents are hoping someone from both the state health department and Healing Way will attend.

As Moore put it, “We want to get as much explanation as we can.”

  • http://8buckcuts/ Domenick and Dawn Parris

    Domenick Parris Owner of the property that is closest to the sight will also attend the zoning board hearing. 7912 Frankford ave.

  • Barry

    To the poeple of Holmesburg,I would like to say that Northwood Civic also stands with you. Barry Howell Pres. M.W.C.A.

  • Elsie Stevens

    It was such a GREAT turnout on a hot, humid summer night indicating that the topic is a “hot” one, as well. Congrats to the organizers, civic leaders, and neighbors for showing their unified support in opposition to the meth clinic at this inappropriate site.
    A Supporter from Holme Circle

  • Brian Shumsky from Foxchase

    I wasn’t there but I hope there will not b a Meth. Clinic in Holmesburg. area,

    a supporter from Fox chase. PA.

  • Ignoranceisnotbliss

    Fact: most of the people on methadone are ob it because of past use of pain killers ie. from car accidents, the WAR, back pain, high school/college sports accidents, etc. Some who were teens partying (in the northeast and outtet suburbs ie. Council rock school district) and that one pill with there bud lite ran them down a road they never thought possible. There are people in the reserves on methadone, war vets, those who served in iraq, college students (some ivy league), some had horrible childhoods (forced child prostitution so their parents could buy drugs and they ended up going down the same road, victims of molestation at the hands of family members and even priests, boy scout leaders, and even parents; unthinkable things). Men in the union, maybe your neighbor, are at clinics. This is 2011 when millions are on prescription drugs. Ignorance will always judge. Educate yourselves. Did you take a patch or gum when you quit smoking? How about a pill for your depression or stress? If it was life or death, methadone is no different. It keeps people at a medium (which means no highs or lows). You can’t tell they’re on it. They get their medicine and leave – they do have to pay for it by working those jobs like teacher, nurse, union worker, your co-worker. They put clinics where their patients live. And, if you don’t want to explain the clinic to your child, then why let that child then hold a sign that says no meth? It’s methadone. I should call a&e, the betty ford clinic, and the councils on addiction to educate the area. Theres bars by the schools, think about that. Alcohol is a drug, legal like methadone.

  • Kevin P

    Your comparison to alcohol is ignorant. I can go to a bar have a drink and a good conversation with a friend, maybe even a burger, listen to a band. Bars are a social place like a restaurant. How does that even compare to a building with the exclusive purpose of an addict getting a prescribed medicine to help them kick their habit?
    No one is saying there shouldn’t be clinics, there just shouldn’t be one on Frankford Avenue. The neighborhood has been going down the past few years the only thing keeping it together at all are the people who care about it. This will be a devastating blow to those people. Do you think the methadone users give a shit what happens to the neighborhood? Was there a single person out on the street during the rally with a sign that says “Say Yes to the Clinic”? Will they care if it’s over by State Road instead? Keep it out of the heart of the neighborhood.

  • Brian Shumsky from Foxchase

    agree With Kevin P.

  • LennyC

    I’ve seen what happens when these methadone clinic patients gather outside the clinic. It looks like everyone is energized from some other drug or what have u. Most use Methadone as a sustaining tool until they can go buy other drugs on the street. Most look like their eyes are gonna bug out of their heads. Most are tattooed from head to toe. Most are loud, obnoxious, and socially inept. I know if I had a business on Frankford Ave, I would not want to have a clinic near my store. There’s a clinic in the Northeast that sits secluded from all other storefronts in a shopping mall. Even still, the Dunkin Donuts that is 2 city blocks away , gets swamped with these clinic patients. Most are carrying bags, sweat rags, and talking like they are on speed. It’s really a shame what they do to the DD workers who are just trying to make a living. SOmeone posted that these people simply go and get their methadone and leave…NOT TRUE. They are required to complete 5 hours of meetings per week. Clinics usually have an 8, 10 and 12 meeting. So may times, there are patients hanging outside the clinic waiting for the next meeting. Not to mention, most just hang around outside anyway because they all have something in common….DRUG USE. Since tax payers foot the bill for these people, it should be taxpayers who descide where the clinic should go. And it should go to a remote, out of the way area, where the average working person, school kid, and decent upstanding citizen won’t be affected. On the taxpayer note: Most of these people are on PA welfare, receiving a minimum of $200 cash, $200 food Stamps (EBT), medical assiatance, and a free Septa transpass. How many working people get that kind of help? NONE OF US!!!!

  • Pingback: BREAKING: Zoning Board revokes permit for proposed Holmesburg methadone clinic « NEast Philly

  • James Nogowski

    I don’t understand how you can block a clinic from being opened up just because you don’t want it there. You do not get to decide something like that just because you don’t want a certain type of person there. Apparently everyone can see the future and just know that “scumbags” are going to invade their neighborhood. Let’s say they do. So? There shouldn’t be anything you can do about it because your comfort should not be above anyone’s rights.

  • OasisMike

    you only qualify for $200 PER MONTH if you are homeless – if you live with a relative and have no car and no money in the bank you qualify for much less (like $80 per month)…. In what Bizarro World is that kind of “help” really going to help you get by? It’s not going to pay for a place to stay.

    People need to know that the welfare state is a thing from long ago – and that there is NO social safety net – We The People allowed the rich in our country to talk us out of that long ago…and that the rich have led us to our beliefs and our understanding of addiction (specifically who is and who is not possibly going to get addicted, ever…only 17 out of 100, and not just anyone, only those whose parents did not remain emotionally calm and emotionally available, but the facts don’t fit into the model of the world the rich have developed so they mislead us through the nightly news and make it seem like anyOne could get hooked, and police only deal with that population so they’ll say all day that anyOne could commit a heinous crime).

    Once the Magna Carta was written the rich immediately went to work on tearing down the protections it granted – and it only took them a couple of hundred years to do just that. In the USA it’s taken the rich just over two hundred years to not only tear down every protection our constitution granted us, but to also brain-wash us into believingthey still exist and that they care, while they maintain their strangle-hold on access to our nation’s airwaves, and work tirelessly to work their “spin” on reality into our access of the Internet. The scripts we allow the rich to write which filter out view of reality also work on the addicts, who are denied any real understanding of their condition, which is simply a dystrophy of the Human Reward System…something the medical community isn’t even allowed to think…that their precious DSM is just a list of “symptoms” related to secondary dopamine pathways when anyOne cannot develop the pathways most natural to the human species…the orchestration of meanings related to relationships!)

    If you can find a place to stay and get by on $80 a month I will eat your shoes and buy you a new pair.

    It is also important for People to know that one year after discontinuing Opiate Replacement Therapy, only 2.5 People out of 100 remain clean (and many die).

    How different would society be if our politicians, and the rich who pick them to chear-lead for capital, could get past their success at getting us to vote against our economic interests by presenting this as a criminal issue, and tell the truth, that it’s a public health issue? Imagine a world of Peace, where a parent could tell their child the addicts and pedophiles and rapists are just emotionally retarded, and not evil…? But there is no mileage out of changing their tune now, especially since it would begin to clue People into the truth, that if they only watch the news on television, they have the same condition, and have been self-medicating it while they’re fed a world view that has little to do with reality, and only satisfies the rich’s need to be able to effect election outcomes with money, because to do that you have to have a captive audience.

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