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Article published March 4, 2013
Cranberry methadone clinic under investigation
The state police applied for search warrants Monday as part of an investigation into a Cranberry Township methadone clinic. That clinic provided methadone, a drug used to treat heroin addicts, to 25-year-old Justin Enslen on Feb. 18. Enslen later caused a fatal head-on collision on Route 68 on his way home from the clinic and has been charged with homicide by vehicle. State police Lt. Eric Hermick said Monday his barracks is working with the state Department of Health in investigating the case. While the search warrants hadn’t yet been approved by a Butler judge as of Monday afternoon, Hermick said his officers are ready to initiate a detailed and thorough review of the records, policies and employees at the methadone clinic. Hermick added he’s not sure what charges, if any, could be brought against the clinic. As of now, any potential charges lie in the paperwork. “It all depends on what information is gathered through the search warrants,” he said. “If somebody stood there and knowingly gave someone else enough methadone to impair them, and then let them walk out, there is definitely contributory criminal negligence there.” Hermick couldn’t provide a time line concerning when potential charges could be filed, but added that this latest incident isn’t the first of its kind. “Obviously the Department of Health recognizes a problem, being that they put a review team together,” he said. “It’s been a problem for us since at least 2006.” Christine Cronkright, a spokeswoman for Gov. Tom Corbett, said last week that the state is currently forming a team to investigate methadone accidents. She couldn’t confirm if her office is working directly with the state police in Butler, but added that reforms might soon be coming in terms of the way the state handles similar accidents. “Right now there aren’t any laws specific to methadone use and driving, so that’s where the state’s role comes in in terms of preventing future incidents,” she said.