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County will keep drug clinic going

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County will keep drug clinic going

Octagon House, the long-range methadone treatment program for heroin addicts, will be operated for six months by the county Department of Community Mental Health Services.

The Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners voted Wednesday to appoint Diana Lynch, assistant director of Community Mental Health, to run the program which has been under attack by state and federal funding agencies.

IN VOTING for Lynch’s appointment, as program administrator, Richard Walterhouse, R-Ann Arbor and chairman of the commissioners, said, “There are a lot of underlying issues here, and if we pass this measure we should do so in an effort to clean up a messy situation.”

Michael Gotthainer, county administrator, told the commissioners that after Dec. 31 proposals will be reviewed on how the program should be continued.

In May the Mental Health Department and the National Institute of Drug Abuse found evidence of poor record keeping, involving both clients and finances, and inadequate supervision of staff.

Gotthainer said the program is currently administered on a part-time basis by the staff of the Community Mental Health Center’s substance abuse unit, but this has proved unsatisfactory.

SAUL COOPER, director of the center, has recommended that Lynch assume the full-time position until the end of the year. Lynch will continue to be paid a salary of $18,985 for her work.

The eight-year program has operated at two sites: above a hardware store at 219 1/2 E. Washington St., in Ann Arbor and at 16 S. Prospect St. in Ypsilanti. The Ann Arbor office has over 70 clients. Ypsilanti’s location serves about 50 clients.