hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA


January 16, 2014

Editorial: Methadone clinic fight show need to change law


“The name of the law is the ‘Dover Amendment’. This law was enacted by the Mass legislature in the 1950’s to prevent towns from enacting discriminatory zoning regulations. At the time, the law was specifically addressing housing discrimination. However the wording of this law was broad, and also included any organizations that were non-profit and ‘educational’. ...

“We are certain that the architects of the ‘Dover Amendment’ did not anticipate that this law would be used to open a Methadone clinic into busy, suburban shopping district.”

More than 300 people have signed the online petition, including many from Haverhill. The petition can be found online at change.org/organizations/stop_methadone_clinic.

We agree that drug treatment needs to be more readily available to help stem the tide of opiate addiction.

But it’s clear that the original intent of the law has been distorted and a legislative solution is needed to give communities a greater say in where facilities such as the one proposed by Spectrum can be located.

We urge the lawmakers to whom the petition is addressed to give it serious consideration and weigh their options.

Those lawmakers include state Reps. Brian Dempsey of Haverhill, Lenny Mirra of West Newbury, Diana DiZoglio and Linda Dean Campbell of Methuen and state Sen. Kathleen O’Connor Ives of Newburyport.

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