In the spotlight: local methadone clinics — Brooklynian

In the spotlight: local methadone clinics

...I think that real change will only come in the unlikely event that CH can find a neighborhood that actually wants a methadone clinic.

Yesterday the Daily News reported on police crackdowns on two methadone centers in Crown Heights and Clinton Hill where addicts are known to hustle drugs on the street after treatment. Officials say a three-strike rule will be implemented if patients are

I wonder how long Interfaith's lease on that site is, because a savvy politician might be able to close it if they could find another social service program to take it's place. Western CH now might have enough power to start whittling away at the bottom tier of local social service providers....

I've never met someone who isn't secretly a NIMBY.


  • Very unfortunate. The potential for methadone abuse is very high, hence the black market sales and low rate of recovery for those on it. There are currently two other options that (as I am aware) have less abuse potential. LAAM and Bupernorphine.

    Removing supports and aides for the disease of addiction is very dangerous and is always detrimental to the community as well as the addicts.

  • edited May 2014

    Removing supports and aides for the disease of addiction is very dangerous and is always detrimental to the community as well as the addicts.

    Of course, those against the clinics argue that the community has changed, and state that the clinics now serve a population that comes from largely outside the community. (Hereafter referred to as Scenario 1).

    Until we have info on where the patients live, we can't say that they are wrong. However, we can say that while no one wants a methadone clinic near them, it is absolutely brutal for a community to have to house both the addicts and the clinics. (Scenario 2)

    Scenario 1 rarely lasts long, because the neighbors effectively close the clinic.

    Scenario 2, on the other hand, often lasts a long time because it creates a ghetto in which only those devoid of power (and desire) live in a community.

  • What is the worst quality that a methadone clinic brings to a neighborhood? Is it the likelihood that patients will try and sell methadone after they leave? If this is the case, wouldn't it make the most sense to put clinics in the most affluent areas of the city where the residents are least likely to purchase the stuff? For example, a guy could try hawking as much stuff as he wanted outside the Park Slope Co-op, but is unlikely to get all that many, if any buyers. Without the reward of making sales I would guess the amount of people trying to sell their stuff would go down. If nothing else, it would make sales more obvious and catchable.

    Every time a crime went down it would get blamed on the patients (as was recently suggested about Phoenix House and P.H.). But would this really be a risk? Do methadone users also have a higher likelihood of robbing and/or maiming people?

  • -And I'm not trying to be obnoxious, I'm genuinely curious.

  • As far as scenario two goes... there's one around the corner from me as well as one in union sq. that I'm near frequently. Other than groups of people congregating and smoking outside of the locations (which is a pain in the ass) I haven't encountered any problems.

    The real issue is for treatment centers to stop using methadone, which can keep one high as hell for many hours when an individual takes enough of it. There are medications that do not have that effect. Dispensing these would reduce the resale of doses. Although to avoid or "cure" withdrawal addicts would buy ANY opioid (or opioid analog.)

    Scenario one is difficult because not having addiction treatment services available is a recipe for disaster.

  • tate-

    As I understand it, a purchased dose or "spit" of methadone won't get you high, but it will keep someone who is presently using opiates that get you high (heroin, prescriptions, oxy, synthetics etc.) you from having to go through withdrawal. If you score a lot of it, you can get high....

    So, folks who are about to go into to withdrawal tend to gravitate toward methadone clinics despite not being enrolled because they are confident they can buy a spit.

    Likewise, not everyone who is enrolled in the methadone clinics remains abstinent from the "real" opiates that do get you high. The principal reason for not remaining solely on methadone is that although it takes away the withdrawal, opiate users miss the high of the real stuff.

    So, we have two phenomena:

    a. Active users of opiates continue to remain enrolled in the methadone clinic so they can sell the spits for money to buy opiates to get high.

    b. People who have opiates to sell know that methadone clinics are good place to make a sale.

    As a result, those seeking drugs (or money from drugs...) follow the clinics no matter where they go, and putting a clinic in a good neighborhood is not going to stop patients from selling the methadone.

    Likewise, putting a clinic in a good neighborhood is not going to stop sellers and customers of methadone, oxy and heroin from gravitating toward it.

    For good reason, no one wants a methadone clinic nearby. However, the clinics do effectively keep large numbers of people stable on a substance.

    The clinics are sort of like a homeless shelters in that everyone wants the cities to provide them, but no one wants them to be located in their 'hood. The clinics are unlike shelters in that they are small and thus easier be relocated to a less powerful neighborhood.

    Tish James and other politicians are well aware that the demographics of their districts have changed, and they now perceive themselves as having the power to get rid of clinics in their districts AND as having a group of constituents that demands they do so. Folks who own property and vote have her attention....


    I completely agree that clinics for persons addicted to opiates are needed: We live in a world in which people are going to continue to use and get addicted to opiates.

    Re: Methadone. I believe that the alternatives to methadone have draw backs such as increased cost, that prevent them from being implemented.

  • I grew up in a neighborhood where there was a methadone clinic (it was on the corner of Bergen and Smith). Most of the patients were local people who were known to most of us in the neighborhood. They also had no qualms about snitching (i.e., when a neighbor had a TV stolen he asked the people outside the clinic and they gave him a description and area of someone trying to sell a TV).

    They never bothered me and matter of fact (and I know this sounds terrible) we used to watch them to see how low they could teeter over without falling.

  • This site lists methadone clinics in Brooklyn and (with the exception of clinics located at hospitals), most clinics already seem to be located in low income neighborhoods.

    It is silly to think that CH and Fort Greene are not going to attempt to use their new found power to get rid of these clinics, but it is anyone's guess whether Tish James and the others will be successful at forcing the local clinics out.

    It is likely a matter of:

    1. Getting the police to bother the addicts so much that they choose a different clinic, causing the present clinic to be financially weak.

    2. Finding a non-profit that everyone loves (such as a senior center) to fill the space, so we are not accused of being against social services.

  • I too work near the Union Sq clinic. There are tons of addicts that congregate in the neighborhod Starbucks as well as in Union Sq and Madison Sq parks during the day that are either waiting to go get their stuff, selling their stuff or hustling with their fellow addicts. Clearly none of these people live in the neighborhood, and like the 9-5 folks they pretty much disappear from the area by the evening rush hour.

    Why can't there be a methadone clinic on 7th Avenue in Park Slope, or Downtown on Fulton Street instead of on residential blocks in minoriy neighborhoods.

  • I would imagine that the clinic on Union Sq is there because it is a relic from when addicts did live locally; they used to live in large numbers in the parks, on the street, and in SROs, and the flophouses that used to dominate the Bowery Ave.

    Given how much the area has changed over the last 20 years, it strikes me that it would be nearly impossible to open a NEW clinic in Union Sq.

    Has CH and FG changed enough that these clinics are now relics of the neighborhood's past?

    For racial, aesthetic and class reasons, we live in a society that tends toward Scenario 2. I think we can all admit that the argument that "it is convenient and economic for services to be available near where patients live" is merely cover for "we have the power, and we are going to put this clinic that no one wants in your neighborhood, not ours".

    ...for these reasons, I imagine it would be politically impossible for a clinic to open a location 7th Ave in the Slope. I also imagine that it would be fiscally impossible, because commercial rents are so much higher in wealthy areas.

    Trash depots, water treatment plants and other services no one wants are often located in poor, minority neighborhoods for similar reasons.

    Tish will likely state that she would like the clinics to remain open, but have none of the side effects that are inherent parts of providing such programs.

    To which I respond, "I would like to go to the beach, but I don't want to get sand in my swimsuit..."

    Make no mistake about it: No one wants these programs and anyone with power would use it to get rid of them. is just that Tish and everyone else can't state our real motivations publicly.

  • Here's the OASAS data on the Methadone clinic operated by Interfaith that is located in CH, at 800 Bergen St.

  • Not sure if this is related to this post, but I have been noticing people twice now at different times in the past few weeks nodding out in the street. What's the deal?

  • The local scene is actually much better than it has been.

    To get a sense of how active your local scene is, befriend a bodega owner that is open 24 hours. Those guys see the underbelly of NY.

    In this case, ask him about what % of his candy and soda sales go to the local opiate addicts who come in craving sugar at all hours.

  • Wow! Really? Never seen people nodding out around here before, but maybe I was just too busy to notice or care back then.

    I always worry the bodegas are there 24 hours for people selling other illicit substances.

  • Not to be trite, but the more you look for opiate users and sales, the more you will see. Heroin remains in demand in NYC, regardless of the neighborhood you live in.

    Here's a somewhat recent story about a Park Slope/Windsor terrace heroin dealer. ...but, yeah, you might see more folks in CH doing the "opiate nod out", and less news coverage of the busts.

    Like many drugs of abuse, addiction to opiates and their synthetics tend to make one poor pretty quickly; addicts end up more concerned about getting high than paying rent, or pursing excellent performance that results in a raise at work. ...and, more often than not, living in the cheapest apartment they can find.

    Whether the politicians like it or not, I think there continues to be a need for methadone maintenance in CH.

  • This round of battle between the Brooklyn clinics in neighborhoods of increasing power and wealth vs the methadone clinics has now come to a close.


    As expected, the politicians were not able to make the clinics move elsewhere. However, they were able to implement a written code of conduct (MOU), that they will no doubt find violated as time goes on is an article on the Brooklyn agreement, which they state was signed back in Dec.

    Don't worry, the politicians and activists will keep at this issue....

  • Over the weekend, a guy reportedly died from a overdose of opiates at the little park located where Washington Ave meets Atlantic.

  • Late July 2013:

    As a result of the pending closure of Interfaith Medical Center (all over the news), the methadone clinic it runs in Western Crown Heights (880 - 882 Bergen Street) is likely to close unless it can quickly find another provider to take it over.

    old photo: Brownstoner

    Needless to say, many won't be sorry to see it go.

    Those worried about the displaced patients should be comforted in knowing that there are other clinics nearby:

    And, if all goes according to the hopes of some, in the not-so-distant future, the large lot which the clinic occupies (one which has a "mere" single story building, despite being in an area with many mid-rises) will change hands.

    <small>View Larger Map</small>

    It's too early to have this conversation and not be considered a vulture, but should they build condo or rental?

  • It should be interesting to see if the closing of the Interfaith Clinic on Bergen, strengthens the clinic that is located at 705-707 Franklin (near Park Pl)

  • whynot_31 said:

    It should be interesting to see if the closing of the Interfaith Clinic on Bergen, strengthens the clinic that is located at 705-707 Franklin (near Park Pl)

    You mean the place that I refer to as "backdoor downstairs clinic?" AKA the worlds sketchiest looking clinic.

  • Newguy-

    Methadone clinics are often shabby.

    Here's is their latest scorecard:;program_no=51973&amp;action=get&amp;radius=5&amp;eebp=&amp;region=3&amp;submit=Submit&amp;provider_name_1=&amp;region_type=1&amp;county=24&amp;provider_name_2=&amp;program_type=&amp;provider_name_3=&amp;neighboring=0&amp;program_type2=&amp;city=&amp;search_type=2&amp;zip_code=

    On the shabbiness front, let's take a look at how the exterior of the one on Classon and Pacific looked just before it its parent (Saint Vincent's Medical Center) folded, and closed it down:

    As the 1000 Dean St area takes off, it will be converted into something...

  • The Interfaith methadone clinic on Bergen now has flyers on its doors, advising patients that a state appointed ombudsman is now overseeing the care provided, as a result of Interfaith's Chapter 11 status.

  • Following the fatal overdose of famous actor, the media is again focused on Heroin. Brooklyn has the most overdoses.
  • In light of Interfaith's fiscal problems, the methadone clinic located at 882 Bergen will soon be operated by a different provider. It isn't going to close.
  • Here's the link to the new provider

  • edited June 2014
    Media has been regularly pointing out that a lot of people are using heroin:

    As a result, it shouldn't take much work for START to successfully argue it continues to be needed HERE.

  • Since approximately 2012, our local clinics have managed to avoid this kind of attention:

    As the area around 882 Bergen becomes more popular, that may change.      
  • edited June 2014
    Given the current state of opiate treatment in NYC, I view methadone clinics as being a needed service.

    This view is created, in part, by the difficulty in accessing treatment for addiction. Faced by low success rates and high costs, the Medicaid managed care companies deny treatment.

    The rehabs struggle to stay in business. The advocates struggle to advocate for a population many people dislike and/or fear:
  • At this stage of the "new" epidemic, police are put in difficult, conflicting roles:

    Social worker?
    Law enforcement?

    As usage expands, and more communities and families are affected, the conflict will lessen. One of these roles will win.
  • edited August 2014
    This week, not only did a huge beer hall open down the street from the Bergen st Methadone clinic, but new stats are out about the increasing toll heroin is having:
  • I don't see any politicians stepping forward to state they would like their district to be a safe heroin injection site:
  • What about the ones on Broadway near Willoughby in Bushwick? Is there some attention being given as far as we know?
  • There are lots of methadone clinics around NYC. Here's a partial list:

    They have varying degrees of success keeping their neighbors happy.
  • Gothamist has published a pretty good story on a segment of the methadone population:

    The wait list for such programs is significant.
  • Interesting. I live next door to this clinic, which attracts an interesting but seemingly harmless clientele of folks who like to hang out on the block all day. Is it being torn down?
  • No. From the application :
  • edited February 2016

    Right, it is just being converted.

    It also seems the front clinic building and the mid rise behind it are part of the same lot.   

    DOB link

  • edited February 2016
    As a result of it being the same building, this alteration may be in the St Marks mid rise. The methadone clinic does not presently have 2 floors, and the application says "no structural alterations"

    The methadone clinic may not be going anywhere.
  • edited February 2016
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