Residents Question Planned Methadone Clinic In Guilford

March 5, 2024 0 By JohnValbyNation

GUILFORD, CT — To provide more information to the public on the planned methadone clinic at 439 Boston Post Road in Guilford, the APT Foundation gave a presentation and fielded audience questions last week at the Nathaniel B. Greene Community Center.

Contentious at times, the majority of residents railed against the facility, citing concerns with the location, public safety and the process that played out to bring the clinic to Guilford.

APT was founded in 1970 by members of the Yale School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry and is among the oldest treatment programs in the U.S., according to the foundation’s website.

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There are clinics in New Haven, West Haven and North Haven.

APT Foundation CEO Lynn Madden spoke at last week’s presentation, and said the facility in Guilford will provide medications for opioid use disorder; primary care services; vocational services; group therapy; individual therapy; and case management.

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The hours of operation will be Monday through Saturday, 5 a.m. to 1 p.m. There are about 400 people who will utilize the facility, with 55 coming from Guilford, 97 from Branford, 33 from North Branford and 22 from Madison.

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About 70 to 80 people will utilize the clinic each day, Madden said, noting the location of the facility was not random, but “very planned.”

“These are services that are badly needed in our state, in this community. There are 400 people who live right here immediately who are our friends and neighbors here who are already receiving services,” Madden said. “They would receive them more readily in Guilford, they will receive excellent and holistic care for their treatment, and the treatment primarily prevents people from dying and allows them to live their lives at full capacity.”

One resident asked how the APT Foundation can assure residents that there won’t be “drug dealers outside, needles found in neighboring yards and parking lots, people defecating on your property, fights, people sleeping out on your property.”

Madden said some of those issues occur around its Congress Avenue facility in New Haven, but those concerns have not been brought to her attention from other locations.

A resident voiced concerns over the planned clinic’s proximity to a daycare facility, residences, and a Dairy Queen, a popular hangout for young people.

“We are not intending or believing that we will disrupt the neighborhood. I think this will be very, very quiet. I don’t think you will notice these things are going on,” added Madden. “People who had concerns in North Haven, we were having these conversations almost exactly 10 years ago in North Haven, a very similar conversation. The things that people were worried about have not come to pass. In West Haven, that was also true.”

Specifically regarding the daycare facility, Madden said there was a daycare in the same building as its 1 Long Wharf facility in New Haven, which at one point saw 700 patients.

“We literally never had a single incident,” she said.

Patients come in to receive their medications and then leave, Madden said, unless they take advantage of other services and stay longer than 15 minutes.

“I personally have worked in clinics like this and inpatient psychiatric institutions since 1990. I don’t have a lot of stories, if any, I can tell you about any security concerns that I have ever experienced,” Madden said.

There are at least two security guards at each APT Foundation facility, Madden explained, who mostly help with traffic management in the parking lot, but they can also step in if any situations arise.

First Selectman Matt Hoey said he has spoken with Guilford Police Chief Christopher Massey about public safety concerns, and he planned on formally introducing Massey and the APT Foundation.

“The chief is… perhaps more concerned about once Target comes into town because of the number of shoplifting, accidents, etc., and that might have a higher impact than the foundation,” Hoey said. “Some of our officers and the chief have talked with other police officers, particularly in North Haven, because that is the facility we are being told most resembles what is going to be here in Guilford.”

Another resident claimed the APT Foundation “knew this was going to be a controversial project,” and asked why a public information meeting wasn’t held “until after you were in a position to say it’s a done deal and nothing could be done.”

Madden said the organization “did not expect this to be a particularly controversial process.”

“We are moving into a building that’s in a commercially zoned area, and what we’re planning on doing in that building is permitted by right. That was a respectful decision we made based on the zoning laws of this community,” she said. “There’s been absolutely nothing secret about this process whatsoever.”

Hoey said the Board of Selectmen will consult to determine if more informational sessions on the planned clinic are needed.

For a couple of hours before last week’s meeting in the community center, residents had the chance to sign two “adjourned referendum” petitions aimed at amending town zoning regulations and moving the facility to another location.

A previous petition that sought to stop renovations on the building at 439 Boston Post Road was rejected by the Guilford Board of Selectmen last month.

View the entire information and Q&A session on the GCTV’s YouTube page. Part 1 of the informational meeting can be viewed here. Part 2 can be found here.

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