A methadone clinic in Norwich has been temporarily closed because of a maintenance issue, and that’s forcing more than 500 patients to seek help elsewhere. The Root Center for Advanced Recovery was shut down after contractors assessing the building for an upcoming renovation found a “significant structural integrity issue.”
Now, the structure on West Thames Street in Norwich will have to be torn down and rebuilt.
Karen Butterworth-Erban is the vice president of operations for the Root Center For Advanced Recovery. She told Connecticut Public Radio that most of the patients are either going to a clinic in Willimantic or one in New London.
“There are some one-offs, where maybe you live in Norwich, but you work in Manchester, so they decided to connect to our Manchester clinic," she explained. "Everyone has been patient and incredibly appreciative. We do understand that there are some hardships regarding transportation for some folks.”
In total, 553 patients, most Norwich residents, are affected. They use methadone to manage opioid dependence.
“A lot of people who lived in Norwich would either bike, get a ride to the clinic, or walk to the clinic," said Lee-Ann Gomes, director of the city's Human Services department. "Now that they have to go a lot further to New London or Willimantic, they need to arrange for transportation. They need to arrange for daycare.”
Butterworth-Erban said that the Root Center is tracking the displaced patients. She said missed dosage rates are low and that hospital admissions remain consistent with what they saw before the Norwich closure, so she believes patients are still being connected to the care they need.
The rebuilding of the Root Center should take between 10 and 12 months.