Bangor City Councilors voted 7-2 last night, and defeated a local methadone clinic's plans to expand its operations.

The Penobscot Metro Treatment Center on the Hogan Road currently serves 300 patients, but sought to increase the patient cap to 500. State agencies had given their approval, but the center needed the proposal to pass at the local level.

According to the BDN, Bangor City Councilors denied that request last night, with only two out of nine casting favorable votes. Members had taken a week to review the proposals that were handed out in binder form at the last meeting. Concerns aired at last night's meeting included whether methadone is the best way to treat addiction and whether bringing more addicts to Bangor is the right decision.

There are no methadone clinics north of the Bangor area, so some councilors suggested that building smaller clinics in those communities might be a better fit. In addition, some feel that faith-based rehab programs offer a better solution, rather than methadone, which they feel is replacing one addiction for another.

The city ordinance requires that the decision be focused on a few main issues, like whether the property is adequate, can the center hire and retain staff, and is there a demonstrated need for services that would be provided in an appropriate location. Most of the councilors didn't feel that these questions were adequately addressed. Only Councilors Gibran Graham and Sara Nichols voted in favor of the expansion.

Proponents of the expansion said that the clinics offer an immediate solution to addiction because if an addict has to wait too long for treatment, they often won't end up seeking it. The BDN reports that Cara Oleksyk, a former addict, addressed the panel, telling them that methadone enabled her to get her addiction under control and focus on recovery.

Colonial Management Group, which operates the Bangor clinic and others across the country, will now decide whether or not to appeal the council's decision.