Neighbors Raise Concerns Over Planned Methadone Clinic in Ceres

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CERES -- A treatment center that will specialize in opioid addiction is under construction in Ceres, raising concern among some neighbors.

Amber Maines has lived in Ceres her whole life and is raising her three kids there, but she's considering moving.

"I don't think it belongs inside of our neighborhood," Maines said.

Maines says she and other concerned parents and neighbors are fighting to stop a methadone drug treatment clinic from opening less than a mile from homes, schools and parks.

"We'll move," Maines said. "I can't have this clinic in my neighborhood and feel safe about letting my kids run around outside."

The Ageis Treatment Center is being built at a shopping center on Mitchell Road. The company's Modesto center serves the whole region and treats more than 850 patients.

"They're going to be coming into our neighborhood, roaming around our parks, waiting for their next fix," Maines said.

Ageis' in-house counsel tells FOX40 in a phone interview that's a misconception.

"The types of people who are in treatment, they can be your next-door neighbor," Aegis in-house counsel Thia Vo said. "They're oftentimes working professionals who, through no fault of their own, become addicted to opioids."

Vo says they'll have experience running these clinic's and minimizing negative impacts.

"It's about being a partner for the community. We're here to help residents of the community. We're helping them recover their lives. They can return to become productive members of society," Vo said.

But business owners like Ryan Shaug disagree. He says he believes the clinic will only bring more crime to the area that is already dealing with car break-ins.

"I have a full female staff and I'm worried for their safety and everybody's safety in the complex," Shaug said. "I don't want my customers feeling unsafe to actually come into my office."

Tom Westbrook, the city's director of community development, sent FOX40 a statement on the clinic later Monday:

As you know, Aegis Treatment Centers has secured a lease space within an existing commercial building on Mitchell Road in Ceres.  That building location has a zoning designation of CC (Community Commercial), and Medical Offices as well as other health services are permitted uses within that zoning designation.  Because the zoning designation allows medical offices as a permitted use there was no requirement to hold a public meeting.  As such, Aegis Treatment Centers obtained the necessary building permits and are currently making improvements to the interior of that building.  I do not know when those improvements will be complete nor when the treatment center will begin to operate.

When we spoke you indicated that some of the people you had spoken with were concerned about security associated with this business.  As you might expect, Aegis Treatment Centers would be the most appropriate party to discuss what security they will provide at this site.  That said, with any business that moves into the community staff will monitor calls.  If there is an increase in call for services, staff would work with Law Enforcement, Fire Officials, and the business owner to address and mitigate concerns raised.  Since Aegis is not yet open for business it is difficult to predict what issues, if any, might arise from the operation of the business.

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