Suboxone clinic coming to Madison - maybe so maybe not

I am totally confused by Mindy's & others arguments on the Free Press & Facebook that we cannot put a drug clinic downtown because of the tourism district. I keep reading drug addicts, criminals & "seedy" types will hurt the industry. I also read about how it's dangerous for nearby children & the retirement complex nearby. But surely there must be some other reason people are all upset about the clinic as these points make no logical sense.

Let me say this- I'm not in favor of criminals or druggies lurking near our chamber, nor am I in favor of alcoholics, drug addicts, thieves etc. loitering near our downtown restaurants, gathering in city parking lots or strolling Main Street. I abhor the idea that child molesters, spouse abusers, drug dealers etc. would be anywhere near our parks or youth clubs. But the truth is we seem to be coping just fine with those circumstances at this very moment.

The courthouse is where every single criminal in our county is arraigned; the chamber is across the street. The jail where every single drug addict, drunk driver, petty thief & child molester is housed & eventually discharged; it sits near the Salvation Army, a church & residential area. We proudly use drug addicts routinely & often directly in plain sight of tourists. We even dress them in bright orange jumpsuits or colorful vests so that everyone knows, including visitors that we have a gang of prisoners weeding our Main Street flower beds & painting curbs by Girls Inc.. and then we say thank goodness for the prison girls. The "seedy" people referenced in so many posts are required to report to probation on a regular basis & some of those persons are far worse than anyone addicted to opioids. Although the women's prison hasn't always been here, apparently some people don't understand the courthouse, jail and probation are the biggest "draws" for both violent & nonviolent criminals & all have long made their home downtown. So what am I missing?

Furthermore how does one forget community corrections is right there in the Clearinghouse? Essentially almost every single "druggie" that's been caught that isn't already in jail or on probation or at the women's prison is already doing drug tests & participating in various programs at the Clearinghouse?

The argument that a clinic will bring "these kind of people" is correct. . My point is that argument should have been made long before the clearinghouse with its mixed population of working poor, unfortunates, degenerates and bottom feeders was placed downtown. That argument should have been made before probation offices were set in the historic district instead of hilltop & before community corrections brought hundreds of "undesirable types" right next door to a retirement facility & within blocks of parks & play areas. The argument should have been made before we built a too small jail to house all these people right smack dab on Main St instead of the hilltop or JPG . We should have considered moving the courts to the hilltop if we didn't want "these people" & just kept basic county offices in the courthouse. We need to also remove all attorney offices because in addition to divorces & druggies- our attorneys draw the truly vicious & violent to our fine tourist district. The murders, rapists & guy that stabs his wife walk in & out of attorney's offices every single day.

Don't get me wrong I'm not in favor of a drug clinic being downtown but I'm also not in favor of poverty programs, jails, probation offices, community corrections & attorneys with drug dealers, child molesters & murderers being downtown either. However I am in favor of drug clinics being where they are needed & close to the population they serve. That means unless we want to spend millions & years creating a new judiciary/legal sub district on the hilltop after we sent millions and years creating one within the tourism district then we will need to accept certain realities rather than create alternate & fictitious ones.

So what's the real reason "certain people" don't want "these people" downtown? Because, bottom line- the clinic won't draw "these people" downtown - "These people" are already there because we force them to be. I truly would like to understand- Tami

Was not my intent to cause anyone to feel foolish. I have often read an opinion and been swayed by certain comments rather than taken a moment to give serious thought to statements. I find that's so most often when I'm in a hurry or the topic doesn't really effect me directly. Maybe that's why its taken a few days since I read the petition to formulate my own assessment. Still I appreciate the kind words.

But mostly, I'm curious what it is I'm missing - because as I said stopping this clinic won't have any impact on the number of drug addicts, criminals or "those people". It would take moving the clearinghouse, probation and community corrections at a minimum. But this program does have a good chance at helping at least a few of the those suffering from the horrors of addiction. It isn't an inpatient program; it isn't even a short stay. Outpatient programs are not for every addict. And there is no doubt not every client will succeed. Still we need to begin taking steps - no matter how small in the right direction. No one truly believes "waiting for them to die" is an effective plan nor do I believe the "war on drugs" has had a single victory unless you count the whiplash effect in places like Oregon where they are moving to decriminalize all drug use.

I worked several years in an alcohol/addiction inpatient facility as the evening nurse supervisor and later as a nurse therapist. I know of no one who decided & desired to be an addict. It is such a horrible & painful life. So if only half are helped I'm over joyed and if only 1 in 10 are helped at least I know that someone's suffering has ended & their new and better life has begun. I know not everyone agrees but my personal beliefs do not allow me to dismiss those who suffer nor am I permitted to blame the weak or injured- even if I believe they are simply "reaping what they have sown". I do not want a drug clinic downtown but yet I want the clinic where it will have a chance to be most effective.

Instead of blaming the clinic or the addicts- I tend to look at those who made a decision to do whatever it took to save one of our few Art Deco buildings and used the clearinghouse as justification to spend over a million tax dollars rehabbing the building. I believe those who decided to put poverty programs in the tourist district complicated an already difficult issue. I believe delivering community corrections to the downtown as a tenant of the clearinghouse and requiring work one to move in as well did a great injustice to the community. We should have made the best decision for those who would most benefit from the services the clearinghouse offers. Instead we found an excuse to save a building. People didn't matter- not the addict, not the tourist, neighborhood kids, business owner, not even the elderly residents next door ... It was the building that was most important- people didn't matter at all. Oddly many of those who supported using the clearinghouse as an excuse to save the building are now the same who complain about criminals, addicts and "those people." In this case, I suppose it's fine to say we are the ones who created the downtown clearinghouse issues. Clearly "we reap what we sow".

I will sign a petition to move the clearinghouse and it's many programs out of the tourist district. I will sign a petition to allow a drug treatment clinic at the clearinghouse. But I won't sign a petition to deny those who need it most a chance, however remote, at a better, happier life.