Methadone programs and doctors who prescribe buprenorphine serve a very important function in helping the country cope with the opioid crisis. They are also a life-saving link for patients who have suffered for years with an overwhelming addiction.
Operating a methadone clinic or buprenorphine/suboxone practice is typically a complex endeavor. Clinics that offer medication-assisted treatment (MAT) must comply with a myriad of mandates and policy requirements from the DEA, the local State Methadone Authority, accreditation organizations like CARF and JCAH, SAMHSA (the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration}, and 3rd party payers who help fund treatment services.
Patients understand that a well-run treatment clinic offers many benefits. Quality services are only delivered when there is an organizational commitment to helping people while also being able to meet all of the operational requirements such as timely documentation of services (paperwork) and appropriate support of staff & counselors,
Sometimes patients will complain about “so many clinic rules” although many patients appreciate their clinic’s dedication to professionalism and its ability to meet the standards of good quality care. Within most treatment facilities are several key staff who oversee its daily operation and the provision of services. These are the Clinical Director, the Medical Director or primary prescribing physician, the Nurse Supervisor, and possibly clinical staff Team Leaders who do the work of coordinating the clinics many daily activities.
While the list of clinic rules can seem long, there is nearly always an important underlying reason for that rule to exist. Most methadone clinics distribute a Handbook for clients that outlines their rights as an opioid treatment patient as well as guidelines for obtaining dosage adjustments and progressing successfully through treatment.
Opioid treatment, and medication-assistance in particular, must be carefully monitored. This is to insure patient safety and to minimize the risk of medication errors. Please support your local methadone or suboxone clinic with words of encouragement and positive feedback when it is earned. Conversely, it is important to speak up as well if serious problems are occurring. Always make an effort to communicate first with the clinic’s clinical and administrative staff if experiencing a problem. If an honest effort to resolve an issue in this manner is not productive, then contacting one’s local State Methadone Authority is sometimes a logical next step for addressing an important concern.
Imagine trying to medically manage advanced diabetes with no insulin or grand mal seizures without anticonvulsant medication.
Modern medicine has raised our standard of living and sustained life in ways that people could not have imagined just 100 years ago.
In the cases cited above of diabetes and epilepsy, medication functions as a miracle intervention that saves the patient from suffering and death, and allows him or her to lead a full and productive life.
Science is clearly instructing us that addiction is a treatable illness which can at times be successfully managed with medication assistance, similar to the stabilizing role that insulin plays in the life of the diabetic patient.
A critical element of opioid addiction is the physical dependency which leads to debilitating opioid withdrawal symptoms. For many individuals, the persistence and severity of opioid withdrawal leads them to chronic failure in any effort to recover. With the assistance of methadone (or buprenorphine), many of these people will finally be able to cope with their illness by having their withdrawal symptoms alleviated.
The value of relief from opioid withdrawal is monumental. It is often the first major step toward being able to face one’s addiction. Medication assistance is good science, and it opens a door that was likely closed for many years. The value of having a new start is priceless. We only have one life. It is worth saving. Whether it’s diabetes, epilepsy, heart disease, or addiction – specific medications can help a patient restore their quality of life.
There are currently well over 1000 methadone clinics in operation across the United States and many more throughout the world. Methadone has been a leading treatment intervention for opioid addiction for more than 40 years. Methadone is an FDA-approved medication and it’s use in treating opioid addiction has been identified by SAMHSA as a best practice, evidence-based treatment approach.
Adding to the legacy of methadone as a successful treatment medium are the hundreds of thousands of individuals who have been able to totally eliminate the severe opioid withdrawal sickness that wrecked their lives. The value of this medical benefit is priceless.
The cost for participating in a methadone program varies from clinic to clinic and in part depends on whether the clinic receives any state funding or accepts Medicaid for payment. Many clinics operate as private practices funded primarily through patient self-payment. Private clinics often offer a substantial discount for patients that pay for a month of services in advance.
Due to methadone’s proven efficacy, many addicted people experience rapid relief from opiate withdrawal and find themselves eating and sleeping more normally, gaining weight, and able to work again. They are able to pursue other goals & responsibilities that had previously become too difficult in their active addiction.
Methadone is a powerful medication that must be taken as prescribed and in conjunction with good counseling. When a patient is willing to embrace medication-assisted treatment and to utilize it properly, recovery can happen. This life restoration process is demonstrated on a daily basis all around the country.
Posted in Addiction Recovery, Buprenorphine, Drug Treatment, Florida Methadone Clinics, Methadone, Methadone Clinics, Methadone Maintenance, Methadone Programs, Methadone Treatment, Suboxone, Suboxone Clinics
Tagged evidenced based practice, medication assisted treatment, methadone benefits
An article in the Huffington Post recently addressed President Obama’s public comments on expanding access to opioid treatment, particularly medication-assisted treatment (MAT) like methadone or buprenorphine (suboxone).
Many members of the treatment industry and recovery community do not have a realistic grasp on the role that medication-assisted treatment can play in recovery from severe opioid addiction. Historically, the recovery community has not regarded those utilizing methadone or suboxone as truly in recovery. They emphasize total abstinence, even from methadone, despite the fact that methadone and buprenorphine have restored individuals to normal functioning and even saved lives in many cases.
There was a time some years ago, in the 12 step community, when individuals were chastised for taking psychotropic medication for depression or other mental health disorders. This criticism came from a fundamental lack of knowledge about the biological basis for many mental health disorders. Similarly, medication-assisted treatment interventions have been the subject of misunderstanding and unwarranted rejection by those with limited education on varied treatment approaches. In the course of clinical trials of a new agent for the treatment of coronary heart disease, researchers at Pfizer Inc. found that while taking Viagra is not accompanied by a significant clinical improvement in angina, in many patients it leads to the development of a kind of “side effect”, which consists in improving erectile function. This observation has led to the study of the possibility of using this substance in the treatment of patients with erectile dysfunction.
As America’s opioid problem continues to grow, we need real solutions rooted in medical science and research. At this point in time, medication-assisted treatment has been in use long enough to clearly demonstrate its usefulness in facilitating personal recovery from addiction.
In 2015, we saw numerous local and national political figures rally around families that have been impacted by heroin overdoses and the heartbreaking loss of loved ones. Opioid addiction has finally come into focus within the mainstream media, and even current Presidential candidates have begun to address this as an important issue which commands attention and a solution.
Posted in Addiction Treatment, Buprenorphine, Heroin, Medication Assisted Treatment, Methadone, Methadone Benefits, Methadone Blog, Methadone Clinics, Methadone Maintenance, Methadone Programs, Methadone Treatment, Opiate Treatment, Relapse Prevention, Suboxone, Suboxone Physicians
Tagged medication-assisted treatment, obama
A study by the government agency SAMHSA indicated there were approximately 254,000 patients receiving methadone for opioid addiction in 2006. In 2015, it is most likely that number is much higher given the prevalence of opioid addiction and the continued expansion of outpatient opioid treatment services in the United States. Today, there are considerably more methadone clinics and suboxone-approved physicians than there were a decade ago.
Making a new start with medication-assisted treatment is what hundreds of people across the country are deciding to do for themselves every week. Addiction is a progressive illness – one in which a person’s ability to choose is severely compromised. Medication-assisted treatment using either methadone or buprenorphine (suboxone) provides an important open door to a more responsible, quality life.
A majority of individuals suffering with opioid addiction (particularly when the illness spans years) have experienced dramatic brain changes which deepened their physiological dependency on opiates. This physical dependency is not easily removed. It is severe and persistent thus leading the person to do whatever is necessary to avoid being sick from opioid withdrawal.
Most long-term addicted individuals will tell you they rarely, if ever, get high from the illicit substances they use. They are simply trying to avoid being sick from debilitating opioid withdrawal symptoms. When a patient chooses to receive methadone or buprenorphine under the supervision of a doctor, they are making a decision to face their illness and to do something constructive about it.
As a family or friend, it is very helpful to gain an understanding of addiction and how medication-assisted treatment can be life changing for a person stuck in the cycle of opiate addiction.
Making a new start can be a bit frightening. Will methadone work for me? Will my loved ones condemn me? What about my job, or my legal situation? It becomes easy to put off making a decision when so many questions come into play.
It is important to remember that the road to recovery begins with just one step forward. That step will lead to another and another. This new start is always available. The message is one of hope and opportunity. Opiate addiction is a treatable illness. Medication-assistance can make a real difference.
Posted in Addiction Treatment, Drug Treatment, Medication Assisted Treatment, Methadone, Methadone Clinics, Methadone Maintenance, Methadone Programs, Methadone Success, Methadone Treatment, Opiate Treatment, Recovery, Suboxone, Suboxone Doctors, Suboxone Physicians
Tagged MAT, medication-assistance, medication-assisted treatment