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State officials: Company has 15 days to appeal methadone decision

By Meredith Machen, mmachen@wcyb.com
Published On: Jun 27 2013 05:00:47 PM CDT
Updated On: Jun 27 2013 11:00:00 PM CDT

A proposed methadone clinic in Johnson City was shot down by the state on Wednesday, but a day later we learned that fight may not be over.

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. -

A proposed methadone clinic in Johnson City was shot down by the state on Wednesday, but a day later we learned that fight may not be over.

For months, the building at 4 Wesley Court has been eyed for use as a methadone and Suboxone clinic.

Wednesday, the state of Tennessee denied Tri-Cities Holdings, LLC's request for the certificate of need that necessary for their doors to open.

That comes as a relief for Ron LeBlanc, who drives through Wesley Court on a regular basis for deliveries. LeBlanc told us he worries about people "standing in line and running around the road."

"[I have] concerns about people running out in front of you for one, maybe running over somebody," he said.

State officials with the Tennessee Health Services and Development Agency told us the board voted six-to-three to deny the certificate of need with one abstention.

We're told the board felt there are enough opiate treatment providers to meet the needs in the Johnson City area, even if they don't use methadone and Suboxone.

We're told Tri-Cities holdings has 15 days to appeal the decision. "It's not a done deal quite yet," said Erick Herrin, an attorney representing the city of Johnson City.

Herrin says the city of Johnson City has publicly opposed the proposed methadone clinic.

While he can't go into details because of the potential appeal, Herrin did tell News 5 this about the board's decision: "The city believes that the health services board reached the proper decision on this particular methadone clinic proposal," Herrin said.

Others like Travis Simerly fiercely disagree. "I hope everyone keeps fighting," said Simerly.

Simerly has friends who he says are addicted to drugs and need the chance to turn their lives around. "I just feel that every form of treatment should be offered and be available to people without having to drive to North Carolina or Knoxville," said Simerly.

News 5 reached out several times to Tri-Cities Holding's managing partner Steve Kester to learn more about the company's plans. As of Thursday evening, our phone calls had not been returned.