WARREN, Maine — A California-based company has filed an application with the Maine Department of Health and Human Services to open a new methadone clinic in a former elementary school in Warren, according to Guy Cousins, director of the DHHS Office of Substance Abuse.
The license has not been approved yet, he said Thursday.
Cousins said that after national media picked up on news that Rockland’s Turning Tide methadone clinic was shut down in August he was contacted by five organizations considering coming to Maine to open a clinic. Two of the organizations later expressed interest in the Rockland area and one of them submitted an application for a license. The company, CRC Healthgroup, is one of the nation’s largest methadone providers, Cousins said Thursday.
“I know the organization has been diligent about having conversations in the community about it. I think they have had meetings with town officials and church officials. They have been up to visit multiple times,” Cousins said.
The Bangor Daily News submitted a Freedom of Information Act request on Thursday to the town of Warren seeking any written documents or e-mails between the town and CRC Healthgroup. Town Manager Grant Watmough replied later Thursday in an e-mail, “We have no records regarding the town of Warren and CRC Healthgroup.”
Warren town staff said Thursday, however, that a public meeting will be called in the near future to discuss the possibility of the clinic moving into town.
Watmough confirmed that the town took over the old elementary school building on School Street from SAD 40 and then put it up for sale about a year and a half ago. A sales agreement has been approved by the planning board to sell the building to Vixen Land Holdings, which public documents show is based in Rockland and is registered by attorney James Brannan. Watmough said that Vixen expected to rent the building, but he did not say to whom.
Attempts to reach Brannan after 5 p.m. Thursday were unsuccessful.
CRC Healthgroup’s application, however, specifies that the methadone clinic would be located in the old school building. That application will go through DHHS’ division of licensing and regulation, according to Cousins. It is unclear when it might be approved or rejected.
CRC Healthgroup’s website describes the California-based company as “the nation’s leading provider of treatment and educational programs for adults and youth who are struggling with behavioral issues, chemical dependency, eating disorders, obesity, pain management, or learning disabilities.”