Following several incidents with drug-addicted patients of Kogarah’s methadoneclinic, shopkeepers along Railway Parade have called for its closure.
One retailer reported that they were spat on while others experienced vandalism, theft and fraud at the hands of the patients. Several stores have called the police to complain about people loitering on Railway Parade, scaring off their customers and breaking furniture. According to St. George police Crime manager Detective-Inspector Gary Ballard, the police have stepped up their patrols and recently arrested a patient for selling prescription painkillers. However, he encouraged the community to help the police by reporting illegal activity, pressing charges or aiding in investigations.
From the side of the South Eastern Sydney Local Health District, a spokeswoman stated that it is unfeasible to close the Kogarah clinic as it provides a vital medical service to patients; most of them also live and even shop in the area. A geographic ban on the methadone clinic is only possible if it is enforced as part of a court order stemming from a criminal offense from one of its clients.
She also stated that the clinic is aware of their concerns and hosts quarterly forums to discuss issues. Furthermore, in an effort to whittle down its client based, the Kogarah clinic has focus on more complex treatment needs. Many patients have already been transferred to physicians and pharmacies to continue their opioid treatment.