NIMBY, methadone and turbines

Let’s talk about NIMBY or “not in my backyard.” Obviously, there are things nobody wants to live next door to. The earliest caveman probably said, “You’re not putting that latrine in MY backyard!” It’s as old as the hills.

If you are a Pittsfield resident and someone tells you that a methadone clinic will be opened next door, at the very least you might groan and at the most, you might organize your neighbors to make sure no such thing happens. After all, despite the fact that such clinics exist all over the country and operate without much trouble, some people would rather not have a collection of folks waiting for their medicine outside their house where their kids may be playing. Don’t get me wrong — I certainly understand that as a society, if we can help people get off heroin or other narcotics, we should. Some responsible public officials in Pittsfield know that too.

“Why not put it somewhere else?” you may ask. There is the philosophical imperative. Most of us know that this is a good thing for the people who need it but we can’t help but worry. Business owners fear the clinic will drive customers away. If we put it in a residential neighborhood, we worry that it will attract some undesirable folks. Let’s face facts — some addicts will do pretty much anything to feed their addiction. That sometimes means stealing to buy drugs. Would you want to risk something like that when you have been used to leaving your doors unlocked? Most people would not and they organize, yell, and carry on to stop it from happening. I guess it comes down to how much personal sacrifice people are willing to endure in order to help others. If you put the clinic in an inaccessible place, the very people who need it might not be able to get there. I certainly hope that Pittsfield gets its clinic and since it will be health related, it makes some sense to put it in a hospital.

There are a lot of other ongoing NIMBY cases that hit close to home. Consider some of the environmental solutions that are intended to help us break free from fossil fuels.

Virtually every scientist I have ever spoken with tells me that wind energy and solar power are integral parts of the solution to our terrifying problem of advanced climate change. The president says it, the governor says it but when people are told that those wind turbines might show up on their mountaintop or in a nearby farmer’s field, they want nothing to do with it. They collect signatures and they get as much scientific information as they can, some of it solid, some of it off the wall. Quite often, it ends up in court and takes a long, long time to resolve the problem.

Obviously, there’s a big difference between a methadone clinic and a windmill or photovoltaic field. But when government gets frustrated enough about citizen or neighborhood resistance, they come up with easier ways to do it. Sometimes the local government gets so frustrated, they pass a law allowing the state to site the facility.

In China, you get no choice. In America, you get the opportunity to use the power of organization to put a stop to it. If you are well-heeled, you are able to muster resources in a far more expedient manner than if you are not.

The future of the planet may well be at stake here. It’s hard to blame someone for protecting their kids or the value of their homes or businesses but there is something called the common good. It might be worth considering what you would do if we were talking about your backyard.

Originally published in the Berkshire Eagle, 7/29/12

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One Comment on “NIMBY, methadone and turbines”

  1. Harvey Brody Says:

    Methadone and NIMBY. Methadone is a word from the past and started in post-war Europe as the German Armies were replaced by the Allies. Soon the occupied countries rebuilding their countries and found the issue of substance abuse a problem. Most European response was the legalization of drugs or in the most powerful one legalization. Methadone was one of the easiest synthetic opiates to acquire due to the valid use during wartime for the alleviation of pain and now the Europeans found increasing recreational use of this dangerous drug and others, especially heroin. Ironoc but the Europeans choose to keep the promblem internal because heroin was an import with most of the raw material coming from Afganistan. Yes, the United States is protecting the export of Afganistan where 90% of the world’s heroin supply comes from. many American veterans returned from the WW 2 battlefield with a pain medicine addiction and additionally the use of freely available uncontrolled recreational drug often evolved into the use of opiates and synthetic opiates. American physicians recognizing the growing problem actually would in pre-HIPPA days treat their patients either by detox with smaller doses or actually use methadone to stabilize the patient. Hmm, you say, incredible? Yes, however what about the persons, teens to adults who were unable to afford the cost of pharmacy or even medical care in the US? Officially there became the war on drugs started by the FBI and evolving into the Drug Enforcement Administration. Parallel the AMA and other groups of relevancy advocated for the use of controlled administration of methadone in urban areas by local government to prevent the associated crime required for the poor substance dependent person to acquire the drugs. Groups like Daytop Village and the Phoenix House became legal distributors of methadone alonside local government, Board/Dept of Health. Now the problem has spread to the Bershires, Vermont. people, young and old with the same problem that the British used to attempt to economically enslave China causing the 19th century Opium Wars. The solution to the US drug problem remains rather simple. License the strong stuff, and consider the use of drugs like the use of tobacco. Now Alan may disagree but Big Pharma like any other industry esists upon Price Theory. Don’t you think that Big Pharma actually likes the increased demand for their products because of the bottom line? Turbines and NIMBY. The problem with turbines is that this the most inefficent method of producing energy. It is eratic and inconsistent. As Dr. Telsa demonstrated solar energy is the most consistent. We need national leadership in research and development of solar, geothermal, and even surprising tidal power generation. The problem is that the current folks in power in DC have forgotten that reality remails that fossil fuels are currently the least expensive. If you think otherwise ask a volunteer if they can afford to come to the Stidio with the cost of gasoline. Obama and his crew have played with alternative energy, pandering to a significant source of his anticipated voter. It is first necessary to develop American natural gas. Yes Alan, the demonic :-) recovery of American natural gas which wouldd ensure energy self-sufficency. I do not advocate unrestricted recovery of natural gas, but we really have no choice. I laugh when I see a bogus documentary about “fracking” being taken as reality. The recovery of domestic natural gas has no alternative. The best science must be used. The reason is simple this nation can not afford the economic doom awaiting us unless we do so. The science is there. Unfortunely like NIBYA recovery of American natural gas has become literal economic class warfare. The affluent and those influenced by bogus propaganda demand an end to energy self-sufficency using natural gas; and the poor and unemployed argue it will offer them economic self-sufficency. Of course I trust the Big Oil companies trying to recover domestic gas, as much as Big Pharma and their dsicrete role in subtsnace abuse. Our national government has been beyond inept in both areas. Look at Iceland’s developemnt of alternative energy.


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