Category Archives: Methadone Programs

Methadone Program Profile – Alcohol and Drug Services (ADS)

ads-methadone-treatment2There are many hundreds of methadone clinics in operation across the entire United States. Wherever there is addiction, there are suffering addicts and concerned friends and family in search of answers … and treatment.

Methadone.US would like to profile a highly regarded opioid treatment program located in Greensboro, North Carolina. This program is part of a non-profit substance abuse services agency known as Alcohol and Drug Services (ADS).

ADS has been helping the Guilford County and surrounding Triad community for over 40 years. While ADS offers a range of addiction treatment and drug prevention programs, they excel in the area of treating opioid addiction through a combined use of opioid replacement medication (methadone) and structured counseling.

ADS has achieved CARF accreditation, is licensed by the State of North Carolina’s Division of Health and Human Services, and is an approved Medicaid and multi-MCO authorized provider. But ADS’ most outstanding accomplishment is the depth and quality of their opioid program services and the professionalism of their compassionate & committed staff.

Methadone medication offers safe & effective relief from opioid withdrawal symptoms when properly administered through a quality, structured program. Unfortunately, some methadone clinics are too lite on their counseling and case support components, which are key ingredients in any comprehensive opioid treatment program.

ADS has a longstanding history of helping clients gain a thorough knowledge of their addictive illness and in helping clients to develop valuable coping skills for managing their lives and achieving personal goals. ADS treats indigent and low income patients who might otherwise be unable to pay for methadone services out-of-pocket. The ADS Methadone Program offers psychiatric services, limited medical services, free HIV testing, and substantial case support assistance to help with major issues like housing placement.

Alcohol and Drug Services’ methadone program in Greensboro, NC is comparatively small in relation to some of the local private, for-profit methadone clinics. ADS typically serve between 180-200 active clients.

The organization recently launched a new website to inform the community of their various programs. The website is: www.ADSyes.org. The agency gratefully accepts charitable donations of any amount through their website.

Visit the ADS Blog and the ADS Google + Page

Working As A Methadone Program Counselor

methadone-jobsWorking as a methadone program counselor is both a fulfilling and challenging professional job position. Personal fulfillment comes from forming a therapeutic relationship with people in recovery and enjoying the opportunity to see them move upward and onward in rebuilding a quality life. Fulfillment also comes from one’s role within an organization or agency and being able to contribute meaningfully to that methadone program’s expansion and continual improvement.

The challenging aspects of working as a methadone counselor stem from several areas. The first is caseload size. Most methadone programs require that counselors serve sizable caseloads which results in counselors striving to meet the many varied needs of patients while having numerous other demands made on their time.

Closely related to serving patients is the extensive documentation requirements that must be met when a counselor provides any type of direct counseling service or case management assistance to an active patient. In today’s healthcare environment, documenting one’s professional activities is an extensive drain on time, energy, and productivity. This is particularly true with state and federally supported programs that draw on public funding to run the methadone program. Good computer skills are generally a must have.

Effective methadone counselors become time management experts and develop a high level ability to work quickly under pressure, to shift priorities, and to multitask while maintaining an appropriate focus on their professional development.

Quality methadone counselors also bring to their work a dedication to patient welfare and a spirit of enthusiasm, hope, and positivity to co-workers and the patients that are relying upon them for guidance and support.

Methadone.US provides an extensive employment section that lists numerous methadone treatment jobs across the country. Those interested in working in the opioid treatment field can browse our job section for recent methadone program openings. This includes nursing positions, physician positions, counselor openings as well as support positions like receptionist and billing or finance specialist.

Working as a methadone counselor offers many rewards. Appropriate supervision and professional development are very important when undertaking any counseling position. Knowledge, skill, and experience must be actively developed, and are ideally supported by any reputable methadone treatment employer.

Opioid Addiction in the United States

methadone-counselingThe U.S. has experienced a steady rise in the number of people being prescribed opioids and in the number of individuals becoming physically addicted to these medications. In the 1970′s and 1980′s, the typical methadone program client was someone who had graduated to daily IV heroin use.

Fast forward to 2013 and the typical methadone program participant may well be someone who has never used heroin or any kind of injectable drug. With the rise of oxycontin over a decade ago and other popular painkillers, opioid addiction in America moved to unprecedented levels. With this new epidemic level of opiate addiction has come an increasing number of overdose deaths.

Within the last 10 years, Tennessee was for several of those years the nationwide leader in the number of prescribed opioids per resident and the number of opioid overdose deaths. Many of these fatalities were the resulting combination of mixing opioids with benzodiazepines like xanax, klonopin, and ativan. Today, many opioid treatment programs and independent physicians are using much greater caution in prescribing benzodiazepines in their practice, and some have opted out of this completely due to the significant medical risk involved.

As the resulting need for treatment options began to grow, the availability of local methadone programs increased as did the total number of U.S. physicians who were approved to prescribe suboxone. Both methadone and suboxone have been enormously beneficial in helping addicted people gain a new lease on life. These opioid replacement medications, combined with counseling, provided hope for a life after opioid addiction. Unless someone has experienced the ravages of a drug addiction, they may be unable to fully comprehend the benefit provided by opioid treatment using methadone or suboxone.

In the final analysis, we as a nation must guard against the overuse of prescription painkillers. And individuals must exercise due caution and care since there is no substitute for personal responsibility and good personal judgment. As America moves forward in the coming year, we must strive to prevent drug abuse where we can through education and prevention efforts. We must also recognize and support the concept that addiction is a treatable illness, and that methadone and suboxone are an essential element in the opioid addiction solution.

Repairing Life After Opioid Addiction

methadone-recovery-1Addiction is an uphill battle. We have heard this said many times before. Many who found themselves in the midst of a personal opioid addiction were swept along on a nightmarish roller coaster ride with seemingly no brake pedal within reach.

Fortunately, addiction recovery is real, and people do get off of the roller coaster ride to hell. This is accomplished in a variety of ways with one method sometimes being the decision to try opioid replacement therapy such as methadone or suboxone.

Once off the roller coaster, individuals have an opportunity to survey their surroundings, to reflect on what has happened in their lives, and to begin moving along a better, safer path. Inevitably, facing the consequences of one's past becomes part of this gradual recovery process as does repairing the damage that occurred.

It is important to remember that change does not happen overnight, and repairing one's life happens step-by-step a little each day. There is a popular saying in recovery circles that is profound in its wisdom. It's "progress, not perfection". What this means is that no one is perfect, and that chasing perfection is perhaps an unrealistic goal. The goal should be "progress". This … is achievable. In repairing one's life and in living a new life of recovery, pursuing "progress" is enough.

Another insightful saying is this … "A journey of a 1000 miles begins with the first step". Once you have committed to sobriety and living your life in a better way, you have already taken several steps in the right direction on your new journey. You do not have to reach your destination in 24 hours. The journey itself is a huge part of your personal healing & personal growth.

Repairing one's life after opioid addiction will require several things of you. One is to cultivate patience with the world. The world often moves at a different speed than we do, and it is in our best interest to adjust to that rather than to try and control the speed of the world around us. This will require patience. Patience can grow. We can develop patience through mindfulness, prayer, therapy, and in other ways.

Also important to repairing one's life is trying to live with a sense of purpose. We must be committed to something, or someone, in order to live with a sense of purpose. In active addiction, the daily purpose was to get by without becoming sick, and that defined many addicts' focus day after day. Life loses its purpose when one is reduced to chasing drugs to avoid being dope sick.

Recovery offers so much more in terms having a new and improved life purpose. I can't tell you what that should be. But for some, it's being a good son or daughter, or a good spouse or parent. Or regaining a renewed sense of pride in their job, or "giving it away" and helping another addict or person in need, or volunteering to help a child learn to read, or mowing the yard of an elderly neighbor who can't do for themselves as well anymore.

Your purpose may not be known yet. But you can certainly discover what is really important to you once you get off the roller coaster ride of opioid addiction. As always, recovery is a choice. No one can force it on you. But it is there, available to you … when you are ready. Call your local clinic today. Ask a friend to help you find local resources. Choose to take your first step.

Methadone Clinics Have Good Intentions

legaldomains_1A new methadone clinic in North Haven, Connecticut recently opened called APT. Lynn Madden, who is the acting CEO of APT Foundation, has made a concerted effort to connect with the local community in order to help citizens understand that methadone clinics can be operated safely and discreetly with no adverse effects to the surrounding neighborhood.

The clinic currently has about 800 patients. An article by the New Haven Register documents the comments of local residents and businesses who all report that the clinic has been good for local business and has resulted in no problems or increase in crime.

The article goes on to explain how the clinic is actually situated in close proximity to a large community development, but positioned such that neither is really aware of the other. This demonstrates how some clinics are expertly planned and managed.

At Methadone.US, we wrote two years ago about a New York City methadone clinic that is housed in a downtown church and serves many hundreds of clients per day. This clinic there is so private and quiet that local businesses did not even know it was in operation for years just across the street.

This type of well run facility and seamless community integration provides good evidence that the fears and criticisms of methadone naysayers are largely unfounded.

Lynn Madden of APT was quoted as saying that New England has a very high rate of addiction to opioids. We know that this phenomenon is increasing across the country, and consequently will demand more attention, and funding, in the years ahead if we are to adequately address the opioid addiction problem.

APT seem to have a good strategy for dealing with the unfortunate stigma that still exists around methadone. The key is education, outreach, and clinics staffed with professionals who are adept at explaining the benefit of drug treatment to the local community. Treatment solves problems. Treatment saves lives, reduces crime, and restores economic productivity on both a personal/familial level and a community level.

Methadone Treatment and Recovery

methadone-recovery-2Recovery is for everyone and anyone with a genuine desire for change. Treatment in a methadone program offers the potential for change, and a new path which can lead to a much improved life.

In the field of addiction recovery, there are a multitude of methadone treatment programs all across the country. These programs vary considerably one to another, and this is a result of treatment philosophy, staff experience & qualifications, funding availability, and the underlying structure and operation of the methadone clinic itself.

Some methadone treatment programs are for profit and some are non-profit. Both can deliver high standards of client care and ethical treatment of their clients. "Good" treatment programs are generally identified as being so by their own clients. Conversely, if a particular methadone program is "not so good", their clients will recognize it immediately and the word will get out very quickly.

What makes a "good" methadone program? From most clients' perspectives, it is these things:

  • checking-in and receiving their medication in a timely fashion
  • being shown courtesy and respect by staff
  • feeling like the clinic is staffed by sincere, committed professionals
  • being treated as an individual instead of a number
  • paying reasonable fees for the service provided
  • rules, regulations, and expectations are clear and are enforced fairly
  • being heard & supported … when there is a problem

What is a "well run program" from a clinic perspective? These are important …

  • has clear policies and operating procedures
  • staff are professional, accountable, and self-motivated
  • there is a culture of respect & consideration shown for all staff and clients
  • costs & expenditures are carefully tracked and managed
  • the program of treatment is designed and delivered with integrity
  • documentation of services is consistently completed in accordance with standards
  • services are funded on a consistent basis (otherwise, the clinic will close)

Methadone treatment, and opioid addiction recovery, are not radically different from other substance abuse treatment programs or models of change. The underlying addictive disorder is fundamentally very similar. What separates opioid addiction from some other addictions is the overwhelming physical dependency that can develop with opioids and the associated withdrawal syndrome.

The cognitive-behavioral changes, and eventual psychological growth, that occur in opioid addiction recovery are exactly the same as in any other addiction recovery path. The essential difference is the utilization of opioid replacement medication to thwart the terrible physical withdrawal symptoms that derail recovery year after year. Methadone and suboxone, when used properly, are highly effective in helping addicted persons move forward with their personal recovery. Methadone treatment … and recovery! They go hand-in-hand, and are not mutually exclusive.