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New methadone clinic opens in Syracuse

The opioid epidemic in New York state has spurred expansion of a Syracuse addiction center to include a methadone clinic. The center, Syracuse Behavioral Healthcare (SBH), is the site of one of only a few methadone clinics in central New York.

Methadone treatment, which allows patients to reduce or quit their use of heroin or other opiates, is highly regulated by the state and federal governments. This is the third facility approved to dispense methadone in Onondaga County.

Though methadone alters brain chemistry, SBH President Jeremy Klemanski says it does so to allow opioid dependent individuals to function normally.  

“We can control the dose,” Klemanski said. “It has less of a chemical impact on the brain than those other opiate forms, and that’s why we think it's a better option for folks.”

The expansion of the addiction center cost $1.1 million. Klemanski says the renovations have created a clinic that is secure, and will allow methadone distribution in the same building that offers outpatient services.

“We had to add a larger nursing station, lots of doctor and exam rooms, and a very specific area for drug testing and for mediation dispensing,” Klemanski said. “There are dosing windows; it looks a lot like a pharmacy counter with very specific security features.”

Klemanski says the expansion will allow 250 people to be treated. But if there’s a need for more treatment, he says the program will continue to adapt to accommodate those seeking it.

“If this 250 does not end that need, we have built physical plant space here that we, with the permission of the DEA and the state of New York, could serve additional patients,” Klemanski said.