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Business owners uneasy about proposed Bevo methadone clinic

ST. LOUIS, MO - A proposed methadone clinic in the Bevo neighborhood of St. Louis is raising concerns among businesses. The site is a now-vacant building on Gravois Blvd. that had formerly been a quick cash business. Business owners along Gravois say they heard from a city hall representative that a private business has filed for an occupancy permit to operate the clinic.

They say they fear a methadone clinic will increase crime in the area and hurt the neighborhood’s economic development. Restaurant owners I talked with didn’t want to go on camera but said they feel a drug treatment center would be out of place in the Bevo area.  Maximus Coric, the owner of C&C Quality Printing, is outspoken about his opposition.

“We’ve raised the tax rate.  We’ve lowered some of the street lights, made it more of a walking pedestrian zone to cater to some of the restaurants and small businesses,” said Coric. “Here in the midst of all that, they’re going to put something that I would equate with the criminal element right here next to us. So, I think it’s very unfortunate."

Methadone clinics provide a place where a person addicted to opioid-based drugs can receive medication-based therapy. This treatment is often referred to as replacement therapy.

Business owners say Colonial Management Group LP in Florida is the company that wants to put open the methadone clinic. The company has not yet responded to our requests for comment.

The alderwoman from this area is expected to meet with Colonial Group representatives and Bevo business owners Wednesday.

Statement from Colonial Management Group:

"As you know, we are in the midst of a National Opioid Epidemic.  Everyday in the U.S, 115 people die of an opioid overdose and this disease does not discriminate.  Currently, St. Louis has been the hardest hit by the opioid crisis in the state of Missouri and leads the state in opioid deaths and emergency room visits caused by prescription painkillers and heroin use.

  • There were 908 opioid overdose deathsin 2016 in Missouri, a 35% increase over 2015.  St. Louis had the highest rank in this unfortunate statistic.
  • St Louis City and St Louis County has the highest counts of opioid related ER visits2011 - 2015 at 6,924 and 7,268 in the state of Missouri.  Overall, ER visits in Missouri rose by 21% over prior year.

Many don't know that the The National Institute of Health states that opioid addiction disease can be treated with Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT), which offers the surest path to recovery for people afflicted with the disease.

Colonial Management Group, LP offers these vital services to help communities begin the healing process.  We own and operate over 70 locations and currently serve approximately 900 patients a day in the St. Louis area alone.  All our treatment centers are accredited and licensed to provide outpatient treatment which includes a wide range of services including counseling.  Most of our patients work, and so the majority visit the clinic between 5am and 7am and the clinic closes at 1pm.  As a result, neighboring businesses will not be impacted by our patient traffic.

Analysis of the area around the new location indicates that there are over 1000 people affected by opioid addiction disease that live within 20 miles of the site. We have begun the process of obtaining an occupancy permit from the city and if we determine to open a facility at this location, we will do so in the same manner and means that have allowed us to operate in over 70 other communities.  Our company prides itself on creating secure facilities and processes that not only meet national standards but go beyond the requirements to provide the best experience for our patients and neighborhoods alike."