By Poyi (Natalie) Leung
A group of around 25 concerned parents and residents petitioned the Macau Government yesterday, opposing the establishment of a methadone clinic in Areia Preta.
The concerned residents carried with them two big pieces of white cloth which they claimed were signed by 1,800 people who also disapprove of the Government’s plan to set up a treatment centre for drug abusers in the Areia Preta Health Centre.
They called for a face-to-face meeting with Government officials so they could ask them how they came to decide on the location for the centre, an area with a number of schools, kindergartens and child daycare centres nearby.
Ms Tang, one of the parents who has children studying in the area, told reporters they are worried about the possible adverse impact the methadone clinic could have on children and teenagers.
“Adults can easily understand what a drug rehabilitation centre is, but it’s hard to explain to children what the drug abusers are doing there,” she said.
“The Government said there will be a special channel for drug abusers to enter the service station so that other patients in the health centre won’t be affected. So how about the residents living around?” she complained.
She also criticised the Government for not having consulted residents before choosing Areia Preta as the “right” location, adding that they only knew about the plan on November 12 after reading the newspapers.
“The methadone station was originally planned to be set up in Toi San but the residents there opposed so the Government decided to change the location. Now it’s moved to Areia Preta and we weren’t consulted but the Government claimed that they did,” Tang said.
Although she stressed the group agrees that drug abusers need support and care from society and the Government, she said it is normal that people “feel scared” when there is a drug rehabilitation centre nearby.
“Can the Government guarantee that no problems will occur? What if a methadone bottle is left in the park and children play with it?” she questioned.
The group urged the Government to move the service station to a “more appropriate location”.