I believe that my first amendment rights were violated freedom of speech to be more precious. So can I do something about that?

Asked over 1 year ago - Philadelphia, PA

I go to a methadone/counseling center in Langhorne pa. I've been clean for 27 months &if been a model client. 11/12 i got into an argument w my therapist & "they" decided to take away my take homes away. I have lots of friends who look up to me & asked me what I was going to do. I told them 1 I was going to climb the ladder of the important people ask the secretary these people extensions. 2 going to file a complaint and grievance with them 3 file a complaint and grievance with an outside agency. The center heard about what i said to mywrite friends and the director put me on a 15min window so I couldnt talk to anyone &if need to b off property too. I wasnt saying anything bad it was all about me. I can go on & on if needed! But what i read its a violation of freedom of speech! Yes? Help

Additional information

aldie counseling center in Langhorne pa Been a model client &peers look up to me 27months clean w 4 methadone take homes bottles. Never been in trouble until 11/12 got in a fight w therapist. Argument went back & forth she wasnt professional & have written statements by peers. Director karen & the team decided to take away my take homes. My peers asked me what i was going to do 1)asked front desk important people extensions & names 2)i was going to file a complaint & grievance w aldie & outside agencies. Karen over heard or was told what i was saying she put me on a 15min window 830-845 &the off the property so I cant talk to anyone or say anything to anyone. Karen told me that I can not talk to anyone or say anything to anyone about my problems. I said i was just answering questions & wasnt doing anything wrong.karen said she didnt care. Karen & aldie want to shut me up. Do i have any case or anything that I can do to aldie &/or karen?

Attorney answers (3)

  1. William A. Jones Jr.

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . I believe that I understand the question and the background you provided. I will restate for the benefit of other attorneys who may not be familiar with operation of methadone clinics. My familiarity stems from my work as a criminal defense attorney. Anyway, you are a patient at such a clinic and got into some sort of verbal argument with your clinic therapist. As a result they no longer permitted you to have "take homes" meaning methadone you could take home with you so you didn't have to go to the clinic each dose. The concern here for methadone clinics is that some patients, if they had access to medication removed from the premises, would turn around and sell the methadone "on the street". Methadone does have a market value on the street. You believe the removal of your "take home" privilege was in retaliation for the argument had had. In conversations with your friends afterwards you told them you were not happy with the situation and you outlined various steps you were going to take in reaction to the withdrawal of "take home" privileges. The clinic then (you believe) reacted to your conversations with others about your planned courses of action by giving you a very small window of time (15 min.) to obtain your medication. In other words if you showed up for you appointment 16 min late you would not get that dose. The apparent purpose of that change was to minimize your opportunity to talk with others at the clinic about the situation. For the further benefit of other attorneys unfamiliar with this environment, methadone is an addictive medication just like the drugs it is intended to substitute for. So, for example, a heroine addict who is on methadone therapy substitutes a methadone addiction for a heroine addiction, and the source for the new drug to which the patient is addicted is the clinic. While methadone is used "on the street" and is bought and sold there, the primary sources for the drug are methadone clinics. Methadone addicts experience withdrawal symptoms if they do not have regular access to the drug. You were therefore put in a position of possible exposure to withdrawal symptoms if you failed to miss the small window you were tied to by the clinic. You accordingly feel that your freedom of speech is being infringed upon by the retaliatory steps taken by the clinic. If I have accurately restated your situation, it would help other attorneys trying to answer your question if you would indicate that I have gotten it right or correct any misunderstanding I have experienced. Now my response to your question: Perhaps other attorneys will wish to get into the details of a lawsuit claims a violation of First Amendment rights. The problem that I see is that, from a purely legal standpoint, there are almost no damages to seek recovery for. It would accordingly be extremely difficult for you to find an attorney interested in taking up your cause. If there's no money in it, it's hard to justify the time, trouble, and expense of litigation. The other problem is that the First Amendment prohibits the government from infringing on that right, it does not have any application to a private person or entity. In constitutional law parlance, "state action" is required. It's possible that your circumstance MIGHT satisfy this requirement but that is by no means certain and is impossible to determine from your question. Finally, on a more practical level, I think the better course is to "go along to get along". There are many circumstances in all of our lives where we have to take some s________. If we don't let it go, we likely manage to make things worse. The history of your situation shows an escalating problem between you and the clinic. That's a battle I don't think you want to wage. Most of the high cards in this game are held be the other side. you need to "know when to fold".

  2. Robert Pecco Baker

    Contributor Level 13

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . I want to try to assist you but I cannot figure this post out. Can you possibly rework this and repost? who is they? How did they take your homes away? Are you incarcerated? Where and by whose authority? Tell me all about the argument with the therapist.

    Please proof read before posting.

  3. Rixon Charles Rafter III

    Contributor Level 20

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . Your post makes no sense(at least to my. Repost with your specific problem and your desired result. Include answers to 'who, what, when, where, and why'.

    READ THIS BEFORE CALLING OR EMAILING ME: I am licensed to practice before the state and federal courts in Virginia.... more

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