U.S. DISTRICT Court Judge Catherine C. Blake missed the mark in her ruling on a proposed for-profit methadone clinic in eastern Baltimore County.
County officials' opposition to the treatment center wasn't about dissing addicts or other disabled Americans; it was about using zoning laws to help revitalize the county's decaying inner-ring suburbs.
Too bad the county won't appeal the judge's decision.
The county's objection to the clinic had to do with its proposed location: in a struggling strip mall on Pulaski Highway. As it is, the county is having a tough time breathing life into the area. A clinic in the mall surely wouldn't help build commercial appeal.
Moreover, there are better places for private clinics, like the several "hospital campuses" in the county. And the county is under no more obligation to allow a treatment center in the strip mall than a steel mill or a slaughterhouse. Zoning laws exist to ensure appropriate placement of commercial entities.
Of course, drug addicts are entitled to be treated equitably. And with its growing drug problem, Baltimore County would be wise to deal a little more forthrightly with treatment questions.
But when the clinic opens in the strip mall, the big winner will be the decay that has dogged that community for years.