Wednesday, August 09, 2000

Judge rules zone change to bar drug clinics illegal

By Susan Vela
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        COVINGTON — The city of Covington violated the Americans with Disabilities Act when it changed its zoning plan to keep methadone clinics outside city limits, a federal judge ruled Tuesday.

        U.S. District Court Judge William O. Bertelsman sided with Pittsburgh-based MX Group, which has wanted to open a methadone clinic here since 1997.

        Judge Bertelsman's order voided the zoning changes approved in 1998 and demanded that the city treat proposals for methadone clinics as they would plans for any medical clinics.

        That means the controversial facilities, which wean addicts off of such drugs as morphine, codeine and heroin, could go any place a physician's, optician's or pediatrician's office could and must be judged by the same standards.

        The decision also marks a victory for those who say the ADA includes drug addicts. It helps establish precedence in a relatively new area of law that touches on both the ADA and zoning laws.

        “Congress intended the ADA to include drug-addicted individuals participating in drug treatment plans,” Judge Bertelsman said in his order,


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