Administrators of a Gainesville narcotic treatment program responded Wednesday to concerns that methadone was leaving the door unchecked.
The program, Lanier Treatment Center was fined $20,000 to settle allegations about not keeping complete and accurate records of the drugs sold and received. The center is an accredited agency specializing in opiate treatment.
According to a Department of Justice news release Tuesday, the center did not comply with regulations on controlled substances.
“Accountability audits conducted by the (Drug Enforcement Administration) revealed overages and shortages of methadone in 2010 and 2013,” according to the news release.
The center will have additional DEA oversight as a result.
“We completely agree with the DEA that the opiate epidemic has caused such heartache and pain to families in Georgia,” Matthew Mote, clinic administrator said in a statement. “We are glad to work with the DEA since clerical errors were brought to our attention.”
But it was an implication that treatment drugs might be “falling into the hands of dealers and addicts” that drew a response from the center.
“The diversion of prescription narcotics and painkillers feeds the market for abuse and addiction, and Georgia is experiencing an epidemic of prescription drug abuse,” Acting U.S. Attorney John Horn said in the news release.
Mote said the recordkeeping mistakes presented no danger of methadone and other treatment drugs going untracked.
“At no time has diversion ever been suspected, and we have been able to account for all medication,” Mote said. “We are always very cooperative with the multiple government agencies that help regulate our facility.”
Mote said the center is proud to continue its work locally. It is the only opiate treatment center of its kind in Hall County and the center regularly works with local hospitals, clinics, law enforcement and other agencies to educate about “evidenced-based practice with medication-assisted treatment.”
“We strive to work with not only the government agencies but also with our local community,” Mote said.