Benn Ray, owner of Atomic Books, usually starts his workday sweeping up in front of his store in the 3600 block of Falls Road.
But since Hampden Health Solutions at the Rail, a methadone clinic, opened just one door down, Ray said he finds himself sweeping more and more prescription pill bottles and other trash from in front of his store.
“It’s like the Wild West out here in the mornings,” Ray said.
He complained that patients streaming off the No. 27 bus at the corner of Falls Road and 36th Street hang around in the area being loud, and that other merchants have complained about increased shoplifting.
The clinic opened its doors in early 2010 and operates from 5–10 a.m. Monday through Friday. On Tuesday, the clinic’s patients, many of them women with small children, came in and out without incident. A security guard occasionally reminded some patients they couldn’t hang around the building.
But many went a few blocks east on West 36th Street and hung around outside the Royal Farms Store near a bus stop.
Ray isn’t the only person who's had enough. Customers at the 7-Eleven across the street said they are tired of the antics of the clinic’s patients.
Ray Crumb, a Hampden resident, was at the store shortly before 8 a.m. Tuesday getting a cup of coffee and checking his lotto tickets for winners. Crumb said because of the clinic’s patients, he thinks people should keep their kids away from the area.
“I don’t even want to bring my daughter around here because of that,” Crumb said.
Gary Fox, owner of GW Towing and Recovery, parks his truck in the 7-Eleven parking lot every morning. Fox, who is originally from Hampden but now lives in Carroll County, said the clinic’s patients go in and are the nicest people in the world, but “when they come out they’re monsters.”
“[Hampden Health Solutions] don’t care. They’re just there for the money,” Fox said.
Scott Schenker, a Hampden resident, said he’s tired of the damage the clinic is doing to the neighborhood’s reputation.
“I say Hampden [and people] say, ‘Oh yeah, near the methadone clinic,’” Schenker said.
A call to Hampden Health Solutions seeking comment for this article was not returned.