Shepparton's only methadone clinic may be forced into closure following a dispute over access to the rear of the Chemmart shop.JOHN LEWIS November 10, 2012 4:58am
Shepparton doctors have said the threatened closure of the city’s only methadone clinic would create an ‘‘appalling situation’’, which would need to be rectified by municipal authorities.
Maude St Chemmart business co-owner Nicole Pelaez said unless a dispute over access to the rear of her shop was resolved, she would be forced to shut down the methadone program which she has been running for six months.
Ms Pelaez said the ongoing dispute is harming her business.
‘‘We’ll have to consider our options. We are seriously considering withdrawing the methadone program — we have done our best for the community, but it’s not our core business,’’ she said.
In a letter to The News, three medical practioners — medical head of the Substance Abuse and Dependence Service at Goulburn Valley Health Dr Andrew Lovett, Primary Care Connect GP Dr Paul MacCartney and Mooroopna and Kialla GP Dr John McKellar have voiced their support for Ms Pelaeze, saying her methadone program plays a ‘‘vital role’’ in providing compassionate treatment.
‘‘I am extremely disappointed to hear that the program at Chemmart may not be able to continue due to pressure from local businesses,’’ Dr MacCartney said.
‘‘This would leave Shepparton without a dispensing pharmacy which is an appalling situation. If this was to occur I feel the municipality may need to consider providing a facility for patients who are also its constituents,’’ he said.
The dispute centres on access to a treatment room which requires methadone patients to walk through a door and down a passageway in the Centrepoint arcade, past male and female toilets and through a second door to the treatment room.
Centrepoint body corporate traders have voted to restrict access to the toilets by locking the first passageway door.
Each shop owner has a key and must escort customers who wish to use the toilets.
Centrepoint Owners Corporation independent manager Andrea Tuohey said the toilets were not public facilities and traders had been concerned at their misuse.
‘‘They are not stopping methadone patients using the rear entrance, but all customers have to be delivered to the door,’’ Ms Tuhoey said.
Ms Pelaez said she did not have enough staff to escort up to 70 methadone patients to the door every day.
‘‘We would like to have a key at the front which we can give them to let themselves in,’’ she said.
Dr Lovett said he was ‘‘apalled’’ at misinformation being spread about the methadone program.
‘‘This is extremely unhelpful to both patients and the community,’’ Dr Lovett said.
‘‘Opiate-dependent people are citizens with a well-understood medical problem.
‘‘Many patients are middle class with no previous drug problem until they have an injury, or illness, which leads to pain and they develop a dependence on opiates.’’
He said Shepparton had the same proportion of people addicted to opiates as any other area in the state.
The late Margaret 'Dharrul' Wirrpanda has joined Mooroopna's Alf 'Uncle Boydie' Turner as an inductee this year into the Victorian Indigenous Honour Roll.
Paradise Queen owner Travis Smith is preparing to take on hundreds of runners at this year’s Yarrawonga Mulwala Multisport Festival to be held on October 18-19.
Goulburn Valley Fins and Fenders Car Club is getting ready to host its second annual Show and Shine event at Tatura Racecourse on Saturday, October 18.
Residents are being warned they could face severe penalties if out of control burn-offs damaged someone else’s property.
The Nanneella hall and recreation reserve committee is inviting everyone to join its clearance sale on October 25.
National Party ticket up for grabs
Developer of the Elloura estate wants to build another road to Buckley Park among other changes.
Terry Hogan has stood down as Mayor of Jerilderie Shire due to an ongoing battle with cancer.
Heathcote Community House staff are encouraging people to send a postcard to show their support.
Minister for Local Government and Aboriginal Affairs Tim Bull visits Cobram to assist councils and incumbent MP.
Keen Deni Ute Muster fans rolled into town early for the weekend's event.
The only consistent thing about frost damage in crops was its random nature, a cropping expert told his field day audience at Finley last Friday.
Last week's Coledale poll dorset stud ram sale was the best in the stud's 45-year history.
Discover unbelievable local deals from local businesses every week in the Goulburn and Murray Valley area with Leapon.com.au!
Search properties for sale or rent across North Central Victoria and Southern NSW. Visit your local website for local homes....
Search for published and unpublished photos from McPherson Media Group newspapers and magazines. All our photos are available to purchase.
Place an advertisement in any one of McPherson Media Group's local newspapers.