Methadone clinic rules hearing this weekby Conrad Wilson, Minnesota Public Radio
ST. PAUL, Minn. — Lawmakers will hold hearings Monday and Tuesday at the Capitol on legislation to step up enforcement of methadone treatment clinic regulations.
A proposal under consideration would strengthen the state's current licensing laws for methadone clinics by incorporating federal standards into state law.
Methadone is medication used to treat pain, but also addiction to opiates, like heroin. The legislation targets the treatment aspects of the drug.
"They're regulated under sort of a patch-work set of licensing and regulatory standards enforced by different agencies. We're finding that's not the most effective way to insure compliance," said Department of Human Services Inspector General Jerry Kerber.
Kerber says under the proposed legislation his agency could function as the main regulatory body. He says the proposal would require methadone clinics to consult the state's prescription monitoring program to make sure patients aren't "doctor shopping."
"We hear reports about diversion activities where individuals are receiving methadone as take-out medication from the clinics and then it's ending up in somebody else. It's being used by other people." he said. "What we're seeking here is to get more control over enforcing the diversion control."
Kerber says he's largely heard support for the measure among lawmakers.