BANGOR, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — It appears a plan to expand the Metro Treatment Center in Bangor will be moving forward.
The Bangor City Council voted unanimously Monday night to repeal an ordinance that blocked an expansion of the methadone clinic.
"This particular ordinance, I don't think changes anything," City Councilor Ben Sprague said. "The city's still working very hard when it comes to treatment, recovery, enforcement and education, and we're going to continue to do that."
Metro Treatment Center sued the city over the ordinance, and a federal judge ruled it was in fact "discriminatory" in November.
“It’s a success for the people that are awaiting treatment, but their lives have been disrupted," said John Doyle, lead attorney for the Metro Treatment Center. "Our client has always been intent on giving treatment as soon as possible."
For some in the city, that initial opposition was due to a fear that Bangor would be inundated with addicts.
This as hundreds in Maine still await treatment for opioid addiction, and experts say more beds are needed. Two-hundred more will come as a result of city leaders repealing the ordinance.
For one man who says he struggled with addiction since he was just 10-years-old, the reversal hit particularly close to home.
"It will be five years in April,” Ryan Middleton said at his home in Bangor Tuesday night.
It was the fear of losing his now 8-year-old daughter that quickly became his motivation.
"She has been my motivation throughout the whole thing,” he said.
Middleton said it was methadone that saved his life.
"Five years ago, I'd never thought I'd make it this far," he said. "Five years ago, this was never in my mind."
In fact, his brother relied on the Metro Treatment center for his recovery.
"It gives an instant opening for that many more people to get into treatment,” Middleton said.
Now five years sober, Middleton has gone back to school, received his associate degree and is on his way to becoming a drug and alcohol counselor.
"Helping people in need does more for me now,” he said, “and gives me more pleasure than any drug or drink ever did.”