Panama City- Mathis Insurance and Financial Services Owner James Mathis has operated out of a building off Frankford Avenue in Panama City for close to 20 years. But after a new neighbor set up shop back in March, he decided to move.
"I'm not going to put up with it. I have no other choice," said Mathis.
That new neighbor is the Treatment Center of Panama City, Bay County's only methadone clinic.
"We are a medication-assisted treatment facility for people who are addicted to opiates and heroin," said Program Director John Thamas.
Mathis said on any given morning hundreds of cars speed through the parking lot. He said one side swiped his wife's car last month. He told NewsChannel 7 clinic patients also toss cigarette butts and trash everywhere.
"It's like a fair. There's no regard for anyone except what goes on over next door," said Mathis.
Thamas said he was shocked when NewsChannel 7 told him the news Tuesday Mathis was leaving. He claimed he never knew there was a problem in the first place.
"Disappointed, I had no idea," said Thamas.
"300 people coming through this door every single day. Can you understand why they may be a little upset at that?" asked NewsChannel 7's Bryan Anderson.
"Well I can understand it, but again I haven't been approached by any of the other businesses for an explanation," answered Thamas.
In situations like this, Thamas blamed misinformation for why methadone clinics are so often frowned upon.
"Most people do not bother to educate themselves or do the research. We would like to be a good neighbor to people of course, but we can't close the doors," said Thamas.
For Mathis, he said he's not willing to wait any longer saying the risk isn't worth it.
"We're basically afraid we're going to be run over. Hopefully nobody will get hurt between now and the time we move," said Mathis.
Mathis said he'll be moving next Monday.