Launch of methadone clinic may shift

St. Lawrence County’s first methadone clinic for treatment of opioid use disorder will be housed at the St. Lawrence County Human Services Center, 80 Route 310 in Canton. Ellis Giacomelli/Watertown Daily Times

CANTON — The launch of the new opioid treatment program in Canton might be pushed back, but not by much, according to Jay S. Ulrich, director of St. Lawrence County Community Services.

During an update he provided Monday to the county Services Committee, Mr. Ulrich said he expects the clinic to open May 17, but approvals from various agencies and renovations might postpone the start of services.

The clinic will be St. Lawrence County’s first OTP that dispenses methadone. It will be housed in the county Human Services Center at 80 Route 310.

Mr. Ulrich has said in the past that it will offer a higher level of care for people with “severe” opioid use disorder — severe meaning daily intravenous drug users.

While the Human Services Center already offers Suboxone and Subutex for treating opioid use disorder, long-acting methadone fills more opioid receptors in the brain and helps reduce craving and withdrawal symptoms.

During the Services Committee meeting, Mr. Ulrich said the clinic is still waiting on doors and some painting.

He said the dispensing window has been framed out, but it took 11 weeks to get it approved by the Drug Enforcement Administration.

He said the flooring will arrive in about two weeks and won’t take long to set down.

NCC Systems Inc., will run wiring for the security system this week, he said.

Mr. Ulrich said the clinic is working on obtaining an “open purchase-order request” so the site can continually order medication without running out.

“One of the things that may set us back,” Mr. Ulrich said, “is that once the DEA comes on site, after it’s completely done, there’s an approximate 10-day lag for their approval.”

He said the completed site will also need approval from the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the state Office of Addiction Services and Supports.

Mr. Ulrich said there are roughly 30 likely candidates who will use the clinic when it opens. The county is working with the Seaway Valley Prevention Council to advertise the service to people in need across the county.

Those with substance use disorders may contact the Department of Community Services at 315-386-2167 for more information.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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