Since 1964, methadone has been used to treat opioid use disorders. With the rise of the opioid epidemic, it remains an effective maintenance medication for people saddled with this kind of addiction. Patients requiring methadone have grown from 227,000 to 350,000 between 2003 and 2016, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
However, there is controversy over the use of methadone as a maintenance medication for opioid addiction. Why? Because, as an opioid, it is an addictive substance all its own. Also, more physicians and treatment centers are prescribing alternative opioid treatment medications like buprenorphine because they do not possess methadone’s addictive properties.
Still, methadone is a medical marvel because of its lasting utility. The World Health Organization (WHO) includes methadone on its List of Essential Medicines, which details the safest, most effective medicines needed in a health system.
Because methadone is available only in outpatient treatment clinics that have been certified by SAMHSA and registered by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), choosing the right clinic is essential.
Read on to find out how to locate a methadone clinic that best fits your needs and opioid treatment alternatives offered in professional recovery.
Three times stronger than morphine, methadone works by stimulating the opioid receptors in the brain. It possesses distinct features that make it suitable as a maintenance therapy medication. For one, it has an exceptionally long half-life, which is estimated to last between 15 to 55 hours. Secondly, it acts much more slowly in the body and lasts longer, but it does not produce the intense euphoria of other opioids. Methadone has also been proven to eliminate opioid withdrawal symptoms and alleviate drug cravings.
It can also provide pain relief for up to eight hours and prevents opioid withdrawal symptoms for up to two days.
You may be in the throes of overdose, or you have been arrested on a drug charge. Whatever the case, you are at the point where you have to get treatment at a methadone clinic. Without it, your addiction could consume you entirely.
There are roughly 350,000 patients who receive methadone doses daily, along with counseling and other services, states Pew Charitable Trust. They get that treatment from 1,460 opioid treatment centers nationwide.
However, not all treatment centers are created equal. To find the best clinic that fits your needs, the four questions you need to ask are:
In addition to your methadone dose, reputable clinics can offer the following:
Methadone continues to be a controversial medication because critics still view it as replacing one drug with another.
There are also significant disadvantages to receiving treatment from a methadone clinic, according to The Fix. Those main drawbacks are as follows:
Yes, methadone has primacy as an opioid treatment medication. Yes, methadone can be a drug of abuse and comes with its own set of concerning effects. Those effects may include:
Opioid treatment medications like buprenorphine and naltrexone carry a lower risk of addiction than methadone. These substances are often prescribed in combination with therapy and counseling. This approach is referred to as medication-assisted treatment or MAT. MAT is a feature of many professional addiction recovery programs.
For opioid addictions, treatment programs can offer Suboxone, a combination of buprenorphine and the anti-overdose medication naloxone. Suboxone works to alleviate withdrawal symptoms. Naltrexone blocks the sedative and euphoric effects of opioids, which diminishes the psychological reward often associated with opioid use.
The other advantage these medications have over methadone is availability. Unlike methadone, Suboxone and naltrexone can be administered in physician offices and drug treatment settings rather than at sanctioned and registered clinics.
MAT is a key feature of professional addiction treatment. The offerings in a reputable program are comprehensive, multifaceted, and tailored to address the whole person.
Opioid treatment starts with medical detoxification where you are weaned from a substance using an MAT drug like buprenorphine, which treats those withdrawal symptoms. Medical staff will also provide around-the-clock care and supervision.
After detox, you can receive ongoing care at a treatment facility on a full-time basis through a partial hospitalization program (PHP) or an intensive outpatient program (IOP). Both programs offer intensive treatment and therapy. However, IOP will allow you to live at home (or some other housing arrangement) during treatment.
What’s more, both offer the kind of therapy designed to help you get to the root of your addiction.
After your stint in PHP or IOP, a caseworker will arrange aftercare through an alumni program, which allows you access to a recovery community that provides support and mentoring.
All the while you can receive MAT to further assist your recovery.
There are options available to treat your opioid addiction. Let us help you find the right program to help you break the grip of addiction.
Call 855-960-5341 anytime, day or evening, for a free consultation with one of our knowledgeable addiction recovery specialists. They can help you find the right treatment option. You can contact us online for more information.
Delphi Behavioral Health Group. (2018, December 03). MAT vs 12-Step Treatment Resource Guide. Retrieved from https://delphihealthgroup.com/medication-assisted-treatment/
In Opioid Epidemic, Prejudice Persists Against Methadone. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/blogs/stateline/2016/11/11/in-opioid-epidemic-prejudice-persists-against-methadone
Methadone Clinics. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.thefix.com/content/methadone-clinics
Methadone: MedlinePlus Drug Information. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a682134.html
Pathway to Hope. (2019, February 22). Tips for Finding a Methadone Clinic. Retrieved from https://pathwaytohope.net/opioids/methadone/clinic/