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Methadone clinics in Colorado have doubled in 3 years


DENVER - They arrive before the sun, lining up for a lifeline that comes in a shot of pink liquid.
 
The doors to the methadone clinic on the campus of Denver Health open before dawn, and the line stretches down one side of the clinic hallway and back up the other. One at a time, patients swig a cup of methadone passed through an opening from the other side of a protective window.
 
The liquid opioid quenches the craving to shoot heroin and staves off a withdrawal that brings on vomiting, sweating, muscle aches and uncontrollable shaking in what some describe as the worst flu ever.
 
Denver Health's narcotic treatment program now has 550 patients, double what it had three years ago. But the medical center estimates it could serve four times as many people, more than 3,000, if it had the staff and other resources to take everyone addicted to opioids who walked in from the streets, visited the main hospital or was booked in the Denver jail.