"We are pleased to begin serving clients," said Bob Bick of the HowardCenter.
The HowardCenter opened the site on Dorset Street to meet a growing demand for treatment of opiate addiction. Right now, 600 people in Chittenden County are on a waiting list to get methadone.
"We are not seeing any diminishment of the opiate, heroin, or prescription drug problem in Chittenden County or Vermont," Bick said.
People use methadone because the drug helps suppress withdrawal symptoms.
The clinic has met strong resistance, like a honking protest back in May. Opponents worry about increased foot traffic from people addicted to drugs and dealers preying on them. The clinic is located close to city schools. The school board is appealing its location.
"I don't want a methadone clinic 400 feet from our schools. I have three boys in that school system right now," Mike McMackin said in May. "You've got people trying to get better in the methadone clinic, which is good. But you've also got drug dealers that are trying to capitalize on those guys at the clinic, who could also capitalize on the kids."
And news that it opened Friday frustrates parents.
"I just think that 483 feet from a school is wrong and especially with that many patients daily," said Ida Smith Ludlow, who opposes the location.
The HowardCenter argues getting treatment to those asking for it will actually reduce crime.
"So to the extent we can get people in treatment when seeking treatment, we have the best chance to be successful," Bick said.
"If somebody doesn't want it, it's not going to work. But for the people who are asking, there is far too many people waiting. That's where we are falling down," Bill Young said.
Young runs Maple Leaf Farm, a residential treatment facility in Underhill. He says a decade ago, 22 percent of Vermonters seeking treatment were addicted to opiates. Today, it's 51 percent, surpassing alcohol addiction for the first time.
"What we found as opiate use increased, those folks weren't making it," Young said.
Maple Leaf used to oppose treating opiate addicts with drugs, but now says it works.
"What was being done wasn't working and this seemed to offer and alternative," Young said.
And despite critics and a pending lawsuit from the school system hoping to shut it down, the methadone clinic is now open for business.
"We have a significant number of individuals in this community whose lives on a daily basis are being destroyed because of their use of substance that they no longer wish to use," Bick said.
The clinic says they have security measures in place. And parents tell us South Burlington schools are also working to keep students away from the area.
Saturday, March 8 2014 9:49 PM EST2014-03-09 02:49:49 GMT
The Burlington Yoga Conference began Saturday at UVM's Davis Center. The event gives participants a chance to connect the mind body and soul through workshops they may not have access to on a daily basis.More >>
The Burlington Yoga Conference began 6 years ago and has become a staple in the community.More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 9:29 PM EST2014-03-09 02:29:17 GMT
A warning for pet owners in our region. Coyotes are on the prowl. A biologist in New Hampshire says he has received more than 10 calls recently, in the Keene, New Hampshire area, for a deer that was takenMore >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 9:21 PM EST2014-03-09 02:21:44 GMT
As spring approaches, many Vermont homeowners prepare to work on their houses - so they head to the Burlington Home Show. And many Vermont small business owners - with their products and services on displayMore >>
Many business owners at the Burlington Home Show say the new health care system in Vermont is helpful, but some say it's causing a real headache.More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 8:07 PM EST2014-03-09 01:07:08 GMT
A rally at the State House in Montpelier Saturday. A passionate group of dozens of women, and men, assembled in front of the State House Saturday for the Women's March for Dignity. They were demandingMore >>
Women's March for Dignity say they are demanding lawmakers support paid sick day policies for all workers.More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 10:21 AM EST2014-03-08 15:21:27 GMT
Two firefighters are recovering from minor injuries. They were injured while fighting a at the Bennett Farm on Route 15 on the Johnson-Cambridge town line. The fire started in a shed around 7:30 FridayMore >>
Two firefighters are recovering from minor injuries.More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 10:20 AM EST2014-03-08 15:20:42 GMT
Friends are rallying around families who lost everything in an apartment building fire in St. Johnsbury. They immediately took to Facebook after hearing about this fire and started planning to collectMore >>
Friends are rallying around families who lost everything in an apartment building fire in St. Johnsbury.More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 10:20 AM EST2014-03-08 15:20:05 GMT
Reporter: "What are some of the most common burn injuries that we see with kids coming into the hospital?" Jim Esdon, Dartmouth Hitchcock Injury Prevention Center: "This time of year, the glass frontedMore >>
We've had another cold week that's left homeowners cranking the heat. But what does that mean for kids' safety?More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 10:19 AM EST2014-03-08 15:19:21 GMT
Armed with just two L rods, 87-year-old John Wayne Blassingame starts looking for water by asking yes or no questions. "Does it go past 20 feet, does it go past 30 feet, yah," he says. The rods crossingMore >>
A national organization based in Danville says it is providing resources to people in desperate need to find water.More >>