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Probe: Drug clinic followed regulations

Hagerstown City Police Chief Arthur Smith initiated the investigation after five bottles of methadone with Hagerstown Treatment

Hagerstown City Police Chief Arthur Smith initiated the investigation after five bottles of methadone with Hagerstown Treatment

July 17, 2002|by KIMBERLY YAKOWSKI

kimy@herald-mail.com

State officials investigating The Hagerstown Treatment Center's operating procedures have found the methadone clinic to be in compliance with regulations, according to the Maryland Office of Health and Mental Hygiene.

Spokesman J.B. Hanson said investigators visited the 217 E. Antietam St. clinic last week and thoroughly evaluated its records and procedures.

The investigation was prompted by a letter to the Office of Health and Mental Hygiene by Hagerstown City Police Chief Arthur Smith, Hanson said.

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Smith said during a raid of 108 S. Locust St. in February, police found five bottles of methadone with Hagerstown Treatment Center labels.

The vials were not dispensed to the residents named in the search warrant and the clinic hadn't reported the drugs stolen, Smith said.

In his June 10 letter, Smith asked Dr. Georges Benjamin, secretary for the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Office, to review the treatment center's policy of dispensing methadone and determine what controls are in place to prevent the drug from being taken from the clinic and sold.

Hanson said the clinic is not open on Sundays, and doctors dispense methadone to be taken on Sundays in advance.

Hanson said Smith's complaint was the only one lodged against the clinic.

The office generally inspects the facilities it licenses every 12 to 18 months, he said.

The Hagerstown Treatment Center is a methadone distribution and addiction counseling center for people addicted to heroin and other opiates.

The treatment center, run by Florida-based Colonial Management, opened May 18, 2001, despite opposition by the police, some city officials and some residents.

Officials from The Hagerstown Treatment Center and Smith did not return phone messages.

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