MADISON, IN (WAVE) - Some residents and business owners in Madison, Indiana are hoping a suboxone clinic does not move into their historic downtown.
The goal of Groups Recover Together is to help people who are suffering from opioid addiction, but the treatment can be controversial.
There are currently more than 20 Groups locations across the U.S. including several in Indiana. In Madison, they were hoping to move downtown, but that may not end up happening after all.
It's the quaint river city, thousands visit every year for its unique shops, restaurants and views.
"I really want to protect our tourism industry and our downtown," longtime resident Mindy McGee said.
While Groups Recover Together offers weekly therapy, they also provide the medication suboxone, a legal drug that treats opioid addictions.
"I think it doesn't fit in the historic district of downtown Madison," downtown business owner Debra Fine said. "We do rely on our tourists and I think there is a better place to put it. I'm not against the clinic per say, just a better place for it."
Fine signed a petition started by McGee in hopes of keeping the clinic out of downtown. More than 400 people have already added their names.
"Some people feel like it shouldn't be downtown, that it is okay to have it, but it shouldn't be downtown," McGee said. "Some feel they don't want it in our community at all. Some feel it is the wrong kind of facility, it needs to be an inpatient facility – check people in and help them with their addiction."
The clinic was looking into leasing space at The Clearinghouse on Second Street.
The problem is the city already has ordinance in place that prevents certain pain management clinics from setting up in historic downtown.
"We believe in fact they do fall under that ordinance," Mayor Damon Welch said.
But Welch said that doesn't mean the organization can't look for another spot outside of downtown.
"This is obviously a major issue that is affecting every community that I know of and they are trying to attack it and we are trying to attack it locally," Welch said.
"Maybe closer to a health facility other than a park where we have our festivals and so on, I just think that would be a better place," Fine said.
The city is sending a letter to Groups Recover Together about the current ordinance in place. The organization will then have a chance to respond and go before the zoning board if they decide to fight it.
Groups Recover Together did not return a call requesting an interview.