Controversial methadone clinic saving lives and reducing crime: First Selectman

Health

NORTH HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Lauren Goodkin has battled the ravages of drug and opiate addiction for more than a decade.

“I had a near fatal overdose in 2011 where I was dead,” Goodkin said. “I had no pulse, no heartbeat.”

She survived that scare, but her fight was far from over.

“My drug of choice was heroin. Opiates in general but specifically heroin,” Goodkin explained.Related Content: Trump opioid plan includes death penalty for traffickers

She didn’t start by shooting up, though. Instead, she got her start popping pills. “I opened up the medicine cabinet and there was the Percocet.”  And just like that, “I was a full blown addict.”

This was until 2012, when North Haven town leaders became among the first in Connecticut to welcome a methadone treatment clinic within its borders.

First Selectman Michael Freda explained to News 8’s Mario Boone why he allowed the clinic to move in.

“I’ve had personal friends of mine who have lost their children to heroin abuse,” said Freda.Related content: ER visits for opioid overdose up 30%, CDC study finds

Goodkin is the daughter to Freda’s executive assistant, bringing the tragedy right to his front door. That notwithstanding, placing the clinic in North Haven wasn’t easy. In fact, the first site was rejected because of community backlash.

“There are still some people that don’t like the fact they’re here,” Freda said.

Now, six years later, Goodkin and hundreds like her are receiving desperately-needed help. Freda also says it’s driving down crime, though, he couldn’t provide specific numbers to back it up.

“We see a decrease in heroin transactions, yes we do,” Freda said.

Goodkin says having the clinic in her backyard saved her life. “God was saving me for a reason and that was to help other people,” she finished.

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