A behavioral health clinic offering methadone and other treatments for substance use disorder is expected to open at 2 Old Point Ave. in Madison. Above, Phil Daigle of Madison walks past the building Monday. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

MADISON — The center of town is not a good location for a planned behavioral health clinic offering methadone and other treatments for substance use disorder, some town residents and officials said during a public forum Monday night.

But Madison town officials say there is nothing they can do to stop a private business from opening.

“We have no dog in the fight, other than the moral issue we are presented with tonight,” Town Manager Denise Ducharme said at the forum, which drew more than 25 residents to Old Point Avenue School.

Acadia Healthcare, a Tennessee-based behavioral health care provider, is under contract to buy 2 Old Point Ave., the former Taylor’s Drug Store, according to Ducharme.

The company has yet to file plans with Madison’s Planning Board or code enforcement office, said Albert Veneziano, chairman of the Board of Selectmen.

A representative of the company at Monday’s public forum said Acadia plans to open what it calls a Comprehensive Treatment Center at the Old Point Avenue building in the center of Madison.


The center, an outpatient clinic, is expected to offer medication-assisted treatment for substance use disorder, using the medications methadone and Suboxone, said Adrienne Sass, Acadia’s regional director for its clinics in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont.

Methadone and Suboxone, a combination medication containing buprenorphine and naloxone, are used widely to treat opioid addiction in adults. They are administered to patients — every day, in most cases — by medical professionals under the supervision of a physician on-site, Sass said.

To offer the medications, Acadia is overseen by regulations from state and federal agencies, including the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, Sass said.

The center would also offer therapy, counseling and other services, including advising on jobs and housing, Sass said. Patients are required to receive the services, in addition to the medication treatment.

Acadia has six similar clinics in Maine, Sass said, including one at 40 Airport Road in Waterville. In total, the company operates 253 behavioral health clinics nationwide, according to its website.

The company chose Madison for the site of a new center because about 250 of its Waterville clinic patients live in Somerset County and 150 live in Madison, Sass said. State officials also asked for a service like Acadia’s in Somerset County, she said.


“We’re trying to reduce the barrier so that they don’t have to make that 45-minute trip every day,” Sass said.

Many of the residents who attended Monday’s public forum agreed there is need for another treatment center, but said it should not be in the center of Madison. The Old Point Avenue site is at the intersection of routes 8, 43, 148 and U.S. Route 201A, near Madison’s main business district.

About 25 residents attend a public forum Monday night during a meeting of the Madison Board of Selectmen regarding a new behavioral health clinic offering methadone treatment, among other services. Jake Freudberg/Morning Sentinel

Madison resident Joyce Lawrence said her family has firsthand experience with drug addiction, but she is concerned that without a local police department in Madison, those seeking medication-assisted treatment could cause disruptions to people in the area, which is frequented by children playing and walking to school. The town has a contract with the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office, which provides deputies assigned only to Madison, but the agency has said lately that recent staffing shortages have caused some shifts in town to go uncovered.

“There is going to be a lot of bad things that happen,” Lawrence said.

Tim Dunn said he moved to Madison with his young family, but the new clinic would discourage people like him from coming to the area. “Families that are looking to move from southern Maine — they’re not coming here,” Dunn said.

Selectmen Ron Moody and Sally Dwyer also questioned why Acadia decided on the central location rather than one in another part of town.


Sass said her company considers many factors, but she could not speak for why Acadia settled on the Old Point Avenue location rather than another piece of real estate. The clinic would work to not be a burden on the community and would enforce a “good neighbor policy” for its patients.

“We have very low tolerance for shenanigans in the clinic, in the parking lot,” Sass said.

Methadone and Suboxone do not affect patients in the same way as other opioid drugs, Sass said. “When taken appropriately, it’s not going to get someone … high,” Sass said.

Other residents shared different concerns, including how the clinic might affect the local housing market. People might move to the area to be closer to the clinic, said resident and business owner Stacy O’Brien.

“It’s already an issue in this town,” O’Brien said. “There isn’t enough housing.”

A behavioral health clinic offering methadone and other treatments for substance use disorder is expected to open at 2 Old Point Ave. in Madison. The building, left, is framed Monday in the archway of Somerset Abbey at 98 Main St. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

Sass said that at other Acadia-operated locations in New England, there has been no impact on local housing from patients moving to the area.


John Martins, another resident, asked town officials what the community can do to stop the clinic from opening at its planned location. He offered $5,000 toward legal efforts.

Town officials said several times Monday that Madison cannot stop the business from opening without drawing a legal battle from Acadia, since it is a private company. Acadia will pay property taxes, Ducharme said.

Veneziano, the board chairman, told Martins and other residents he would entertain a petition against the clinic, because he could take no other action on the matter Monday.

“There’s two sides to every pancake,” Veneziano said. “We’re going to follow our rules that we have set up for every business.”

Martins, who said he believes it is important to help people with substance use disorder, disagreed with that notion.

“We can say ‘no’ and break the rules,” he said.

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