Elected officials joined Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes on Monday in announcing an agreement with two local methadone clinics to limit what many say has been years of negative impacts on the communities of Fort Greene-Clinton Hill and Prospect Heights.
The facilities signing onto a new set of rules are the Addiction Research and Treatment Corp. (ARTC) at 937 Fulton St. in Clinton Hill and Interfaith Medical Center Opioid Treatment Program on Bergen Street in Prospect Heights.
"As of today, at Classon and Fulton avenues around P.S. 11, people will be able to go to work and school without fear of being harassed," said Councilwoman Letitia James, D-Fort Greene, at Monday's press conference at the Brooklyn DA's offices at 350 Jay St.
The polices agreed to by the two methadone clinics include the institution of a warning system meant to discourage clients from engaging in criminal activity in a "target area," which includes much of Fort Greene-Clinton Hill and the northeastern section of Prospect Heights stretching into Crown Heights.
The new rules also threaten the discharge of any patient caught breaking the law in the target area twice in a three-month period.
On hearing about the new guidelines, at least one resident near ARTC seemed skeptical that the rules would have any measurable impact.
"It will be interesting to see how—and if—it's enforced," said Jean Marie, a longtime Clinton Hill resident, on Monday.
Participants at today's announcement acknowledged the delicate balance between two vastly different constituencies.
"First, it's important that the methadone clinics continue to be able to provide the important services to the clients which utilize these facilities," said Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries, D-Fort Greene. "Second, we recognize that it's necessary those services are provided in a way that is sensitive to the children, families and seniors in the communities in which they are located."
The new regulations, set by the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services, states that "all opioid treatment programs are responsible for ensuring good community relations and that patients do not cause neighborhood disruptions."
The Fort Greene/Clinton Hill/Prospect Heights Alliance, consisting of neighborhood partners like Fulton Area Business Alliance, the 88th Precinct Community Council and Community Boards 2 and 8, took the lead in pushing for the new rules.