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Page last updated at 15:46 GMT, Monday, 22 February 2010

Concern at proposal to move drug clinic to Caernarfon

Methadone bottle
The clinic will be in a former doctors' surgery

A plan to move a clinic for drug and alcohol addicts from Anglesey to Caernarfon is being opposed by some residents.

The clinic is due to open in the former Bron Seiont doctors' surgery in the Gwynedd town in the autumn.

But one councillor, Roy Owen, says the location is unsuitable as a large number of elderly people live nearby.

The Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board says the new facility will provide a better service for patients.

"The main issue here is the location, which is in an area where a lot of elderly people live," said Mr Owen, who is a Gwynedd county and Caernarfon town councillor.

No-one can say that problems do not follow these people, because they do
Councillor Roy Owen

"We have four block of flats for the elderly, sheltered accommodation... the place is just not suitable," he told BBC Radio Cymru's Taro'r Post programme.

Mr Owen said the area around the former surgery - which has moved to a purpose-built unit at the town's Victoria Dock - is already plagued with drug-related problems.

"No-one can say that problems do not follow these people, because they do," he said.

"We've battled for years already to clear needles etc from here."

The councillor added that Caernarfon was a tourist town and no-one wanted to see addicts "queue up for their methadone".

Improve service

He said the solution would be to find another location for the clinic.

In a statement the health board said the decision to relocate the clinic from Gaerwen, on Anglesey, to Caernarfon had been taken by a multi-agency partnership.

Members of the partnership include the local health board, Gwynedd council, North Wales Police and North Wales Fire and Rescue Service.

"The changes will improve the service for patients in a location which is convenient and safe," it said.

The health board said their evidence suggested that patients receiving treatment for drug and alcohol dependency did not create problems within their community.

It added that the hope was that the clinic would persuade more people, who have problems, to come forward for treatment.

The clinic would be a permanent solution to current sessions being held at three other locations in the town.

It said it was essential that treatment was available for patients in their community.

"There will be an appointments system for patients, and no facility for overnight stays," it added.



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