RUTLAND - A decade ago, a proposed methadone clinic to treat opiate and heroin addiction in Rutland was roundly denounced and defeated at public forums.
The exact opposite took place at a public hearing Tuesday where a comprehensive drug treatment model that would include a methadone clinic in the city was universally approved by residents who offered an opinion. A crowd of about 100 people attended the two-hour forum at the Howe Center.
Granted, many of the speakers identified themselves as pharmacists, counselors, lawyers and other professionals with connections to either drug enforcement or drug treatment programs.
But compared to the debate generated at meetings held 10 years ago concerning methadone treatment, the public forum hosted by Rutland Mental Health Services and Rutland Regional Medical Center was far less fractured — a difference that was noted by a number of panelists who participated in the forum.
“Thirteen years ago, this discussion didn’t go so well,” Rutland City Police Capt. Scott Tucker said. “Law enforcement said we didn’t like that idea.”