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Methadone clinic to open in south Fargo to aid local addicts

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FARGO — A new way to treat opiate addiction is just days away in Fargo.

North Dakota's third methadone clinic will be opening its doors next week.

This clinic is not far from the Southeast Human Services building and the Sports Bubble in south Fargo.

Some I've talked to say a service like this is overdue in our region.

Others say there's an urgent need for even more.

Karen Burns has been ushering her son Eric in and out of drug treatment since he was 14.

A former addict herself, she knows recovery can be a long road.

"It's hard to see your kid suffering and you want to take care of the problem, but you can't," said Burns.

Now 23, Eric has been using suboxone to help with withdrawal symptoms from heroin.

It doesn't produce a high, but some like Eric can still become addicted to the treatment drug.

"He's at that point where he's basically kind of been suicidal because he's been so depressed, trying to get off of the suboxone and get a life," said Burns.

That's why she's cautiously optimistic about the Community Medical Services Clinic opening in south Fargo.

"Any kind of clinic or any kind of help for people that are addicts is going to be a step forward," said Burns.

It's the third methadone clinic in North Dakota.

CMS will offer methadone, suboxone and other synthetic opioids used to help wean an opioid addiction.

The company says it strictly regulates treatment, and every patient receives critical support throughout recovery.

"The medication helps to stabilize the person so they're no longer drug-seeking. And the counseling helps them to get those root causes that cause them to begin the drug-seeking in the first place," said Mark Schaefer, CMS regional manager.

CMS also worked closely with Fargo Cass Public Health and local law enforcement to identify needs and says it helps find other services for patients who may not respond well to methadone or suboxone.

"We do make sure that the clinics run smoothly, that they're following all of the federal guidelines and that good services are being provided to clients," said Schaefer.

The Burns family says Fargo is still lacking detox centers for emergency treatment, but Karen Burns says any potentially life-saving measures are still a step in the right direction.

"Of course you just have to worry about keeping them alive. Every day it's a struggle," said Burns.

Minot and Bismarck both have methadone clinics.

CMS in Fargo opens Monday at 6 a.m.