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'It absolutely does not benefit the neighborhood.' Little Italy residents oppose proposed drug treatment clinic

Posted at 10:47 PM, Nov 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-30 14:39:24-05

BALTIMORE — Update 11/30:

A proposal to put a drug treatment clinic in the 500 block of Albermarle Street in Little Italy, has been defeated.

Mat Clinics will not be able to operate at the location following a vote by the City Board of Municipal and Zoning Appeals.

"That's the democratic process," said BMZA Chair James Fields.

— Original Story —

The fight to keep a drug treatment out of Little Italy continues to heat up.

Mat Clinics is asking the city for approval to open a clinic in the 500 block of Albermarle Street, but the proposal has met opposition since it was first introduced.

"We started hearing about this in March," said Paul Oliver.

"We've gathered so many signatures from people who don't want it," said Giovanna Blatterman.

The concern is that if the drug clinic opens it will deter people from coming to Little Italy.

"We don't have an opioid problem," said Oliver. "We don't want to import the problem.

At Tuesday's city zoning hearing, the attorney representing the clinic attempted to calm community concern, insisting the clinic will not be dispensing drugs but rather prescribing them to addicts who need them.

"There will be no dispensing of medication at this facility," said attorney Joseph Woolman. "Patients come in, they have a visit with the healthcare provider and are counseled. They receive an electronic prescription. There are no prescription pads on the premises. They are literally there for 15 minutes, and they leave. There’s nothing else going on. There’s no reason to hang outside and loiter."

While the clinic maintains its operation will have no adverse effects on the community people in Little Italy are not convinced.

"The zoning board specifically asks people to take into account character of the neighborhood, the benefit to the neighborhood," said Blatterman. "This absolutely does not benefit the neighborhood. They didn't come with benefits. They came with 'we want it all.'"

The zoning board is set to vote on the project Tuesday. Stay with WMAR 2 News on-air and online for an update.