MIDDLETOWN, Conn. (WTNH) — The Root Center for Advanced Recovery broke ground on its newest clinic in Middletown, which will be the first healthcare facility in Middlesex County to provide methadone treatment, along with other services.

The property on Washington Street will include the complete renovation of the 7,000-square-foot building that used to house Fine Tunes Auto Repair. 

The methadone clinic will serve the many people seeking treatment for opioid addictions who now have to travel to New Britain or other locations for their medicine.

When they’re first starting treatment, that means traveling six days a week for weeks, months, or even years, which the staff at the Root Center said can lead to a person quitting the program and worse. 

“From 2019 to 2020, Middlesex County had the greatest increase in overdose deaths compared to any county in the state of Connecticut,” Steven Zuckerman, the CEO of Root Center for Advanced Recovery, said. “Correlation doesn’t mean cause, but they were the only county without a methadone treatment program. We felt there was some causation there.” 

This clinic has been three years in the making. That’s because when the Root Center first approached the city, there were zoning regulations specifically banning methadone clinics, among other things.