• Neighbors say methadone clinic bringing in crime


    ORANGE COUNTY, Fla.,None - A new methadone clinic is causing controversy in Orange County.

    Some neighbors say the clinic, which provides legal medicine to recovering heroin addicts, is the latest in a string of establishments bringing crime to the neighborhood.

    The clinic opened just three weeks ago on Semoran Blvd. near Colonial Drive.

    Residents told WFTV’s Drew Petrimoulx that pain clinics and pharmacies that have moved into the area are attracting the wrong kind of people.

    Monica cooper works in the neighborhood where the clinic opened. She found out last Thursday just how serious the crime problem in the neighborhood is when the business she works for was robbed.  She said two men came in and put a gun to the employees heads.

    "He said to her ‘I give you one more minute. If you don’t open this register in one minute I’m going to shoot you,’" Cooper said, describing the robbery.

    Cooper said the men fled after stealing cash from the register, and that they are still on the run.

    She blames a pain clinic next door for attracting crime.

    It’s a complaint echoed by other business owners and residents who work and live near in the area. It’s an area that's dotted with pain clinics, pharmacies and now a methadone clinic.

    "There’s a lot more vagrancy, a lot of different types of people at the bus stops that didn’t used to be there," said flower shop owner Debbie Copeland.

    Copeland showed WFTV a picture of two people passed out at a bus stop across the street from her flower shop. She said they had just left the methadone clinic.

    Vicki Long is president of the local neighborhood association.  She wanted to know why her neighborhood was picked for a new methadone clinic when the area already had so many problems. 

    County officials said their hands were tied because the clinic is run by the state. They said the clinic was moved from another part of town.

    "I’m on their email list and they go ‘yay, yay it’s gone we don’t know why, we’re just glad it’s gone.’  And I go ‘gee, thanks it’s in our neighborhood now," said Long.

    Orange County Commissioner John Martinez said he's helping shape a new county ordinance to regulate pain clinics.

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