UPDATE | Hamlin residents voice concern over proposed MAT program location
Hamlin residents gathered Thursday evening to have some of their questions answered after Lincoln County Primary Care Center announced their plan to add a Medication Assisted Treatment clinic to their area.
When the idea was originially proposed the center discussed placing the clinic in downtown Hamlin. However, Chief Medical Officer, Greg Elkins says after hearing citizens concerns they've decided against placing the clinic downtown.
"We want to be responsive to the community and because of their concerns, we felt downtown would not be the best site for the success of the program and the community as a whole," said Elkins.
Elkins says they are now on an ordinance that prohibits the clinic from going in the downtown area. He says it will most likely be placed in the current Lincoln Primary Care Center campus which is located on Route three. Route three is West of downtown Hamlin.
Another concern citizens had at Thursday night's meeting was the abuse of Suboxone in the clinic.
Suboxone is a combination of two medicines that help patients who are going through withdraw. Some citizens said it could lead to a bigger problem down the road and others were afraid patients in the clinic might take advantage.
Elkins says they are planning to take precautions such as, matching serial numbers to prescription boxes given out and only giving patients the minimum amount of dosage they need.
Right now, Elkins says they do not have a set date or location for the clinic but hope to start the process within the next nine to twelve months.
Lincoln County residents are concerned after hearing about a proposed drug treatment facility that could be coming to their area.
Lincoln County Primary Care is working toward adding a Medication Assisted Treatment program. They received funding for the program and integrated behavioral health in 2017.
Last summer, they started discussing options for a facility based on the need in the community and new administration.
The business owns a building on Walnut Street in the heart of Hamlin. Due to limited space, they are considering putting the facility in that building, but residents don't like the idea.
"I'm totally against it, and I know that any neighbor that you ask will be totally against it," Hamlin resident Coletta Young said.
Young said the effects of the opioid epidemic are already too common in her area. "Many people found needles in the back alley, so that's already going on. It would be much worse if that were put there," she said.
Plus, Hamlin PK-8 is about 700 feet away from the proposed location.
"They're threatening our safety and the children," Young said.
Mayor David Adkins said he has received many complaints about the proposal and he hopes to work with Lincoln Primary to come up with a solution.
"We're not against it. They're just against the location," he said.
Lincoln Primary CEO Lisa Leach said they will work diligently with the mayor and city council regarding their concerns over the program and the location of the program.
"They're a good bunch of people and I'm sure we'll get it resolved," Mayor Adkins said.
"I hope they change their mind because Lincoln Primary has to depend on people like me for business," Young said.
The program is still in the early stages. They have trained doctors for this form of treatment, but they still have to recruit additional staff and submit an application for a license to the Office of Health Facilities Licensure and Certification.
There is a town hall meeting scheduled for May 30. At the meeting, Lincoln Primary will provide more information on the program and Hamlin residents will have the opportunity to voice their opinions.