Court strikes methadone clinic restriction

Posted: June 19, 2007

A Pennsylvania law restricting methadone clinics within 500 feet of parks, places of worship and residential neighborhoods violates the federal Americans With Disabilities Act, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Philadelphia has ruled.

Methadone is a synthetic narcotic used to treat heroin and opium addicts.

The lawsuit was brought on behalf of a Reading clinic that wanted to open a new location but was unable to do so because state law required city council approval of clinics in the restricted zones. A lower court dismissed the lawsuit, but the appeals court ruled Friday that the law was discriminating against those with the disability of heroin addiction.

The lawyer representing the city, Steven K. Ludwig, did not immediately respond to a message left at his office after business hours yesterday. The plaintiffs' lawyers, Barbara E. Ransom and Michael Churchill of the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia, said the case would have statewide impact. - AP

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