The issues raised about the relocation of Camden's Parkside Recovery ("Methadone clinic at South Jersey Port clears a hurdle," Wednesday) do not address several important points. First and foremost, methadone treatment plays an essential role in saving lives and providing support for opiate addiction.

Instead of closing the clinic and moving it away from Cooper Hospital to the riverfront, Cooper should take a leadership role in providing comprehensive treatment to these patients in a new facility with its taxpayer-supported, expanded campus and new hospital. These patients often require myriad medical treatments for conditions brought on by the scourge of addiction, and I can't think of a better setting than a university medical center. Care could be provided by training resident physicians and medical students supervised by staff doctors, and this would be a wonderful way for this inner-city hospital to truly meet part of its mission to serve the surrounding community. Rather than isolating these patients from mainstream medicine, it is imperative to recognize that addiction is no different from other chronic diseases. Other cities, such as Boston, have programs fully integrated into their hospitals, and, as a result, have improved care and achieved better outcomes.

Michael W. Shore, M.D.

Cherry Hill