City Council is considering putting a ban on new medical offices in the 1st Councilmanic district (which includes parts of Center City, Old City, South Philly, Fishtown and Port Richmond) into the zoning code. Though it would keep new dental offices and small family practitioners from opening up shop without zoning appeals, the real purpose of the ban would be to keep new methadone clinics from opening up.
The question now, though, is whether banning methadone clinics in certain areas will realistically help the city deal with addiction and mental health issues. Philly's commissioner of the Department of Behavioral Health said "There is no part of the city that doesn't have drug addiction or mental health challenges. We think it's important to have facilities in those places"
Indeed, Philly currently only has 14 methadone clinics to serve at least 4,607 patients. The clinics draw patients from long distances. One patient being treated at a clinic at 8th and Girard told Plan Philly that he commuted daily from South Philly.
The clinics, however, are known to bring problems: patients loiter outside clinics, and prescription pills are sold nearby. Some legislators, like Councilwoman Maria Quiñones-Sanchez say that the key is not to restrict the clinics, but to make sure that they're managed better.
· Some on Council look to manage methadone clinics, not ban them [Plan Philly]