The controversial Healing Way methadone clinic at Frankford Avenue and Decatur Street seems ready to open, following last week’s issuance of a state health department license to operate.
The license permits the Healing Way to treat 85 patients per day.
In a letter to Holmesburg Civic Association members, president Rich Frizell wrote, “It is an outrage that the proﬁteers have trumped the profound negative impact this facility will have on our community.”
Frizell also thanked the Mayfair Civic Association and neighboring community groups for their support.
City Councilman Bobby Henon, U.S. Reps. Allyson Schwartz and Bob Brady, state Sen. Mike Stack and state Reps. Kevin Boyle, John Taylor and Mike McGeehan issued a statement that read, in part, “Though our appeal to the state Supreme Court is still pending, the recent Commonwealth Court decision makes it clear that it is shortsighted to rely entirely on the court system to prevent the disruption to our neighborhoods and the erosion of our quality of life.
“While it seems to defy reality to pretend that treating hundreds of drug addicts every day will have the same community impact as any other medical facility, that is the current state of our laws and we must acknowledge that. Still, there is much we can do to preserve our community. First, we must push forward with proposed changes to those laws to prevent this situation from being repeated in other communities across the Commonwealth.
“Second, many of the problems associated with the methadone-for-money dispensation are not protected by law and can be mitigated by community action and vigilance. We are working closely with city departments to ensure that zoning, health, tax and facilities laws are followed and that deviations are addressed promptly and decisively. Once the Healing Way does open for business, its operators should understand that it is doing business in a community fiercely intent on protecting its schools, its children, its businesses and its way of life.
“Today, we continue to invest in our appeal through the legal process, but we have also begun to prepare Protocols of Protection for our community that includes a listing of contacts, resources and instructions for calling police, zoning officials and the Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) in the event of disruptive behavior related to the facility. Should the courts fail to protect the community, that job will fall to us.”
Methadone is a drug that is used to help addicts kick the habit. It is usually administered in liquid form.
Neighbors opposed to the clinic worry about loitering, a decrease in property values, an increase in traffic, a lack of parking and a negative impact on existing businesses. In addition, they point to the clinic’s proximity to day care centers, schools, dance studios and churches.
In her written opinion, Fox determined that a methadone clinic is a permitted use of a C-2 property, and that the zoning board was wrong in its ruling.
The Healing Way is moving into a property that has been vacant since 2008. The Last Call closed that year after a shooting outside the bar. ••