Rev. Milton Emaunel Williams Jr. talks about the DEA coming to Turning Point Clinic, a methadone clinic in Baltimore. (Ulysses Muñoz, Baltimroe Sun video)
The man who runs the city’s largest methadone clinic said it would remain open despite the presence of federal agents at the Turning Point Clinic locations in Baltimore and Columbia.
“We’re definitely open for business,” said the Rev. Milton Emanuel Williams Jr., sitting inside the East Baltimore clinic Thursday night while police cleared the building.
Williams, the clinic’s president, said 10 Drug Enforcement Administration agents had arrived that morning in an unannounced visit to review medication logs and other records of methadone treatments. Williams said it was a routine audit of the facility that happens about once a year. Staff said an additional five agents had visited the Turning Point Clinic in Columbia.
“They came out today looking for something. I have no idea at this point what that might be,” he said. “They took some records from us, which they have the right to do.”
Williams said the visit did not disrupt operations but caused some patients to wait longer than usual. He said the clinic would open Friday morning as usual though federal investigators would be returning to continue their review, he said.
“When the DEA comes out, there’s a perception they must be doing this or they must be doing that,” he said. “They normally come visit us once a year.”
Serving more than 2,000 patients per day, the drug treatment center on North Avenue in Berea is the largest methadone clinic in the country, Williams said. For that reason, he said, he would prefer the DEA inform him ahead of time when it is coming so as not to disrupt treatment. “They want to operate in a shroud of secrecy,” Williams said.
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“It’s always crowded over there, so I’m sure it garnered a lot of interest,” Edwards said of the Baltimore location.
“These places have to be in compliance. There has to be a very good record keeping of any scheduled substances that are being distributed,” including methadone, he said. “They have to do these audits to make sure that the intake and the outtake match up.”