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November 25, 1988

Workload, Setting of Clinics Often Far From Ideal

JAMA. 1988;260(20):2975-2976. doi:10.1001/jama.1988.03410200017003

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THE PRAIRIE HOUSE is an old mansion on a street that years ago was lined with what then were Chicago's most expensive homes. When the heyday of the mansions was over, the warehouses and meat-packing plants moved in, only to become casualties in turn of the invention of the refrigerated railroad car. Today, the streets are strewn with broken glass and even the big commercial buildings stand empty.

Prairie House, which is run by Substance Abuse Services, Inc, is typical of methadone clinics. It stands in a neighborhood so desolate that the rent is cheap and there is no one around to oppose the clinic's presence. Right now, it is handling patients from another clinic as well—one that lost its lease. Four hundred thirty patients are being treated. The facility is overcrowded, but fortunately no patients were lost when the other clinic was forced to move.

Willie McCullough has been