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Methadone Clinic Reviewing Security After Resident Complaints

By Eddie Small | May 30, 2014 3:09pm
 Attendees discussed issues with neighborhood methadone clinics at Tuesday's Community Board 4 meeting.
Attendees discussed issues with neighborhood methadone clinics at Tuesday's Community Board 4 meeting.
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DNAinfo/Eddie Small

BRONX — The Albert Einstein College of Medicine is reviewing security procedures at its methadone clinic on East 161st Street following community complaints about people loitering and selling their prescriptions. 

Community Board 4 has also brought the concerns to the attention of the NYPD, which promised to put extra officers in the area and deploy a narcotics unit, according to District Manager Jose Rodriguez.

At Tuesday's CB4 meeting, concerned dad Julio Rosario, voiced his concerns about the clinics, singling out the Concourse Medical Center at 880 Morris Ave. and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine's treatment center at 260 E. 161st St. for criticism.

"It's just not right," he said. "It's not right for me. It's not right for the kids, for parents that generally want to do a positive thing in their community."

The executive director of the Einstein Division of Substance Abuse spoke with Rosario on Thursday about his concerns, which included accusations that clients were selling their drugs and loitering. When Rosario walked by the methadone clinic that day, he said he saw staffers moving people along.

"That's a step in the right direction," he said.

The college plans to review its safety practices and confirm that security staff are consistently monitoring the area around the program to make sure patients are not hanging around once they finish treatment, it said in a statement.

"The majority of our patients live in the community where we are located," the statement reads, "and we want to ensure that our services are viewed as an asset."

Concourse Medical Center did not respond to a request for comment. Rosario said he has not heard from them.

Community Board 4 has been trying to address issues along the 161st Street corridor for some time, according to Rodriguez. He said that the area has been facing problems such as illegal vendors, loud music and loitering.

"How can we make this community better when you have abuses of quality of life?" he asked.

Rodriguez said he had met with the police about the methadone clinics, and they promised to put out either a squad car or officers on foot patrol in the area to help. They plan to put out a narcotics unit as well due to the allegations of people selling their medications, he said.

In the meantime, Rodriguez suggested that the Community Board write a letter to the state and have one-on-one meetings with the executive directors of the methadone clinics.

"We don't want to infringe on someone’s civil liberties, but at the same time we don’t want these individuals to impede on our quality of life as well," he said, "especially individuals that live in the area."