She added: "It has the potential to attract drug dealers. If you have this many potential clients why would you drive around?"
University of Maryland officials have met with residents to address their concerns, Carver said. She said that there were problems with loitering and security in the area before the clinic opened in January, but that she was not aware of issues because of any of the university's services.
A 73-year-old Baltimore man who uses the UM methadone clinic said that when he started using methadone to beat his heroin addiction he stopped committing crimes. The man, who didn't want to use his name because of the stigma attached to methadone users, said he used to pick pockets and rob people to support his habit.
Most methadone users are living good lives, he said. People oppose methadone clinics, he said, because of misperceptions.
"People don't know about methadone," he said. "A lot of people aren't aware of the good things that methadone does for patients."
A Pikesville methadone clinic operated by Joel Prell got caught up in a legal battle after Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, then a county councilman, passed buffer legislation restricting the location of such clinics.
At the time, Kamenetz said he wasn't opposed to drug treatment programs but thought they should be located "in areas where they don't impact the surrounding areas." Prell's A Helping Hand clinic was located near a residential neighborhood.
The 2002 legislation required that methadone clinics and other state-licensed medical facilities that want to open less than 750 feet from homes in areas zoned for business and office use seek additional approval from the county.
Prell sued to challenge the law and to determine whether he should be forced to move. Residents picketed his house.
Prell eventually closed the facility and relocated to Woodlawn, where he hasn't had any opposition. For another center he runs in Westminster, he got council support before opening. That center is in a business park near an airport, not a residential neighborhood.
"It's fear of the unknown and stereotypes," he said. "What most people don't understand about drug treatment programs is that it works."
Prell said he works to keep order at his clinics, urging people to leave soon after taking the medication. He also said some may perceive patients as loitering when they just stop for a conversation on the way to their cars. But, he noted, not every clinic operates to the same standards as his.
Prell and others said methadone users come from all walks of life, especially as more people are becoming addicted to prescription pain killers after routine surgeries.
Boyd said she hopes her study opens the doors for more clinics to open and addicts treated.
"When they choose to go to treatment it shows they are willing to work to change," Bonci said. "We want to make sure people are not stigmatized because they seek treatment."