Category Archives: Opiate Treatment

Family Support of Methadone Treatment

methadone-treatmentWhen patients enter treatment for opioid addiction, their families are usually relieved yet apprehensive. They may have seen previous recovery efforts not be sustained and their loved one return to active substance use. So, families often learn to be cautiously hopeful.

With methadone treatment, there is a new component in the recovery process with the addition of medication assistance. Whether it’s methadone or suboxone, families become curious as to how their loved one will handle this new medication. As most readers know, there is considerable misinformation and misunderstanding about what methadone can accomplish. This leads a patient’s family supports to sometimes have a wary attitude toward methadone or suboxone.

I would like to share two stories that illustrate how family attitudes can shift. The first patient we’ll call Mary to maintain her anonymity. Mary was a local realtor who had developed an opioid dependence. She had been able to conceal her addiction from her parents, but finally reached a point where it became evident that something was seriously wrong. She told her parents that she was entering “treatment” and would be attending counseling. They supported this decision, but were unaware that Mary’s treatment would include opioid replacement therapy.

Mary had one relapse early in treatment, but made the necessary adjustment and remained drug free for the next 12 months. Methadone worked extremely well for her eliminating her opioid withdrawal and erasing her fear of being sick. Through counseling, her coping improved and her perspective on living a full life returned. She blossomed before everyone’s eyes with improved mood and energy, mental focus, and a renewed spirit. She interviewed with several real estate agencies and was hired by a prominent national realty company. Mary was both excited and grateful.

After this first year, she approached our staff and asked for assistance in telling her parents that she was in “methadone” treatment. She was concerned that they may not understand how important a role it had played in her success and she wanted some back-up from professionals who could answer all her parents’ questions. Mary was also considering a switch from methadone to suboxone with the intention of tapering down off suboxone over several months.

Her parents came to the treatment center and met with Mary, myself, and our nurse. Mary reviewed her progress with her mom and dad and then told them that she had been receiving methadone each day as part of her treatment. She explained how it had assisted her and then asked staff to help elaborate. Her parents listened as we discussed how methadone was an approved medication and had been successful for many years in helping opioid addicted people change their lives. Mary’s mother responded saying “We knew something was working for her. We are so grateful she found you. We have no problem with the methadone and we will support Mary with this.” We went on to discuss her thoughts on transitioning to suboxone and how this might be accomplished. Her parents talked that day about the huge change they had seen in their daughter since coming into treatment and how much it meant to them to see her happy again and getting well.

After the meeting, Mary literally beamed with relief that her parents had been understanding and so supportive. Within the next month, she switched to suboxone and began tapering down over the next four months eventually becoming medication free. Methadone and counseling became the roadmap to safety and sobriety for Mary. It also stabilized her to the point that her skills and abilities as a real estate professional could again be used to build a new future for herself by generating significant income.

The next case example is about a woman we’ll call Sarah. Sarah came to our agency seeking methadone treatment after several years of heroin addiction that had recently worsened. Amazingly, she was still working full-time although she was exhausted and emotionally depressed. She began treatment and within three months barely resembled the person that had been admitted to our program. She gained weight. The light returned to her eyes and her smile. Her mental clarity improved dramatically, and both staff and patients remarked how her personality had surfaced. Sarah had been fatigued and depressed for so long that it was as if she was buried inside herself covered by layers of pain, and tired from the battle of fighting her addiction.

We watched her come back to the person she truly was. We discovered that Sarah was actually a human dynamo and a very capable person who had been struggling under the massive weight of a chronic heroin addiction. As she progressed through treatment, she met many milestones of success. In due time, she informed her parents that she had been receiving methadone and explained to them how helpful the medication had been. I had a phone conversation with Sarah’s mom who lived in another part of the state. She explained that she did not know much about methadone, but was very appreciative for what we had done for her daughter. As a great job opportunity had surfaced in the hometown of Sarah’s parents, she relocated to their town and transferred her treatment to a clinic there.

Two months after Sarah moved, we received a huge fruit basket in our office from her parents thanking us for being a support to her and informing us that Sarah was doing beautifully.

These are true stories and examples of methadone’s beneficial role in recovery as well as illustrating that family fear can be replaced by understanding & family support. These examples show a stark contrast between what a person looks and feels like when they first arrive vs. how far one can go once they become stable on methadone and moving forward on the path of recovery.

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Opioid Treatment Center in Scottsdale Arizona

smc-recovery-3Recently joining Methadone.US is a newly opened methadone treatment program in Scottsdale, Arizona: SMC Recovery. SMC offer methadone for opioid addiction as well as an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) for treating all varieties of addictive disorders.

Both modalities of treatment are deemed best practice interventions by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and they are evidence-based treatment models. Evidence-based means that the treatment approaches have been thoroughly researched and shown to be effective in helping patients achieve success with identified treatment goals.

More specifically, SMC Recovery offers medication-assisted treatment, IOP, outpatient, group counseling, family groups, and individual therapy to adults 18 years and older. Prospective patients in the Scottsdale area can reach SMC staff at (480) 998-4673 (HOPE) or via the email address listed on the Scottsdale page of the Methadone.US website.

SMC Recovery’s narcotic treatment program is available to all individuals who meet ASAM criteria for admission to opioid treatment. Priority admission status is provided to pregnant clients.

Recent news: The Methadone.US information portal launched in early 2011 and has since delivered opioid treatment information to more than 662,000 individuals in the United States searching for addiction treatment resources. Thank you for visiting, and for your continued support of Methadone.US!


Methadone Treatment Services

methadone-treatment-resourcesWhen one thinks of methadone treatment, they usually consider the power of methadone to eliminate opiate withdrawal and the value this has to someone fighting off withdrawal sickness.

Methadone treatment actually consists of more than just the “medication assistance” component. Real treatment always addresses the underlying lifestyle, thinking, and behavioral elements that are a significant part of the addictive process. These areas are specifically addressed through counseling. All opioid treatment programs providing methadone in the United States are required to also offer counseling to their patients in order to help them achieve true and lasting success.

Some patients will need more counseling & emotional support than others. But all patients new to the recovery process will need to receive basic education on addiction as an illness, how to build a personal recovery program, and to have an opportunity to develop new coping and relapse prevention skills.

Methadone clinics in the U.S. vary in the ways that they deliver counseling services. Some programs are heavy on individual counseling while some focus more on a group therapy model. Often, programs will provide a blend of the two with optional family or collateral participation available as needed.

There is another important consideration with methadone treatment pertaining to the need to also treat “co-occurring disorders”. Co-occurring disorders consist of other psychiatric symptoms that merit special interventions and additional care. For example, many individuals dealing with an opioid addiction may also have struggled with chronic depression or anxiety. Unless these disorders are treated effectively, they can become stumbling blocks on the road to recovery, and can undermine a person’s sobriety success.

A number of methadone programs have in-house psychiatric services to address co-occurring disorders and to provide additional medications and/or therapy if required. Opioid treatment programs that do not have psyc services will typically refer a patient out to the local mental health center or a private provider who specializes in psychiatric care.

Methadone treatment has at times been presented as a harm reduction approach to dealing with severe addiction. In other words, reducing a person’s risk of overdose or exposure to other illnesses is a worthwhile goal. However, “harm reduction” alone does not represent all that recovery truly offers. There are many people who have found life long recovery through their introduction to methadone treatment. After becoming drug free, they went on to have families, start businesses, develop new careers, and enjoy a full life in the best sense.

The possibilities are limitless in recovery. Addiction is treatable. Methadone can be an important piece of the recovery journey. For many thousands of patients, it was the new start that they had hoped for.

Suboxone Facilitates Safety and Recovery

suboxone-doctorSuboxone is a leading medication in the treatment of opioid dependence and has been available since 2002 when the FDA approved Subutex (buprenorphine hydrochloride) and Suboxone tablets (buprenorphine hydrochloride and naloxone hydrochloride).

Suboxone tablets have since been replaced by the thin sublingual suboxone film that is also dissolved under the tongue. While methadone has been highly successful for several decades, suboxone has expanded the range of options for those suffering with opioid withdrawal.

Fighting off opioid withdrawal is at the core of opioid addiction and is chiefly responsible for the stress that addicted individuals feel as they try to function normally each day. Suboxone not only helps patients eliminate opioid withdrawal sickness and associated cravings, but it also brings the opportunity to function again as an employee, a parent, or a spouse.

Many patients report not only feeling relief from the welcomed absence of withdrawal sickness, but recapturing the focus necessary to make strides in other important areas of their lives. This illustrates the profound advantage that some patients derive from opioid replacement therapy.

There are an increasing number of physicians now providing opioid addiction treatment services and utilizing suboxone due to its effectiveness and patient convenience. Additionally, some traditional methadone clinics are adopting buprenorphine (suboxone) as a second option for their patients.

Suboxone therapy ultimately increases safety for opioid addicted patients since they are less prone to secure opiates illicitly. It may also save them from having to rely on heroin or other potentially high-risk medications (like benzodiazepines) in order to “get by”. Patients are better able to cut ties with those that have provided them opiates illicitly and this is extremely helpful to the recovery process.

If choosing suboxone, it is important that individuals go the proper route and enroll in therapy with a buprenorphine-approved physician. This cannot be overstated. A doctor specializing in the administration of buprenorphine (suboxone) can provide the necessary assistance to make suboxone therapy effective and to help patients taper down successfully should they decide to discontinue suboxone therapy.

For more on this topic, visit our Suboxone Doctors information page.

You can also perform a comprehensive search of Suboxone Doctors by clicking view the complete list on our Search Clinics By State page.

Methadone Maintenance For Opioid Treatment

methadone-and-opioid-treatmentOpioid Treatment is a category that includes several different interventions or approaches relating to opioid use disorders. People sometimes mistake opioid treatment for “opioid detox” when they are technically two different processes.

Opioid detox refers to the process of helping an opioid addicted individual discontinue their use of opioids and be medically monitored as the body withdraws from them. In a supervised setting, a person is typically assisted through a short-term opioid detox (3-10 days) by the administration of various medications used to manage withdrawal symptoms like clonidine (to guard against high blood pressure), vistaril (to reduce nausea and anxiety), and even buprenorphine (to minimize the severity of the opioid withdrawal process).

There are also variations on an opioid detox referred to as a taper. A taper often occurs on an outpatient basis and involves a more gradual reduction in dosage of either methadone or buprenorphine (suboxone) over time. This taper may take as long as 90 days and allows the individual to adjust more comfortably due to the slower, milder reduction in dosage that occurs over a coarse of weeks or months.

Maintenance is the term which refers to maintaining an individual for a significant period of time on either methadone or buprenorphine (suboxone) to allow for stabilization on the opioid replacement medication. Since opioid addiction introduces dramatic brain chemistry changes in conjunction with strong physical dependency and cravings for opiates, many people find that they need a substantial period of stabilization on methadone in order to have a realistic chance at building a personal recovery. Numerous individuals have decided that they will utilize methadone for only a few weeks with the intention of tapering off of it very quickly. This strategy is prone to failure and tends to end in dramatic relapses back to heroin and other illicit opioids.

Methadone maintenance for most opioid-addicted persons involves receiving methadone for a year or more. This length of time dramatically raises the probability of successful physical stabilization and necessary thinking, behavior, and lifestyle changes which lead to long-term drug abstinence and sustained, productive living. Put very simply, when people attempt to rush through the process of stabilization & recovery, they sabotage their chance of experiencing real success. For that reason, maintenance is a therapeutic process which should be regarded as a one year commitment or longer, and tapering off of methadone or buprenorphine should not be rushed. Bear in mind that not all individual situations are exactly the same and there are unique exceptions.

There are many different factors that play into how long a person needs to remain on methadone or suboxone maintenance. This is highly individualized depending on the length and severity of one’s opioid abuse history, one’s present medical status and general state of health, the availability of social & emotional supports, and the presence of any co-occurring psychiatric disorders like depression.

There is considerable misinformation about methadone tapering and a bit of fear-mongering that often occurs around the topic. People that generally taper successfully off of methadone or suboxone are individuals that have invested time in counseling and personal recovery growth, and who have developed a good working relationship with their doctor or treatment staff. These individuals approach tapering as a gradual goal and are allowed to halt or slow down their taper as needed. This allows their body time to adapt to the somewhat lower dosage. It also allows them to proceed slowly and carefully such that any anxiety or fears can be successfully identified and managed.

Choosing The Right Direction: Detox – Methadone – Suboxone

BHG Offering Methadone and Suboxone in Memphis

bhg-logoTennessee is a leading state in the incidence of opioid addiction and opioid overdose. This is most likely a direct result of Tennessee being ranked one of the country’s leading states for the prescription of opioids as well as benzodiazepines like xanax and klonopin.

The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) report that 46 people die every day in the United States from overdose on prescription painkillers. They also have documented that 259 million prescriptions for opioids were written in 2012 alone by U.S. healthcare providers. This stunning proliferation of opioids has sparked national concerns about opioid addiction and why painkillers have been made so readily available.

In Tennessee, Behavioral Health Group (BHG) have responded to the crisis by providing opioid treatment in a variety of Tennessee cities. They currently operate three clinics in Memphis: Memphis North, Memphis Mid-Town, and Memphis South Treatment Centers under the BHG banner.

BHG also have clinics in Knoxville, Nashville, Jackson, Paris, Columbia, and Dyersburg. The company’s locations all provide suboxone (buprenorphine) in addition to methadone to aid opioid addicted individuals in their effort to cope with powerful opiate withdrawal symptoms. BHG provide various forms of supportive counseling to their patients in conjunction with their medication-assisted treatment model.

While local and federal governments work to address the rise in opioid addiction, it remains very important that addicted individuals seek and find effective treatment as soon as possible. Those interested in participating in opioid treatment often have questions about the process of enrolling in treatment and what it is actually like receiving methadone or suboxone in a clinic setting. Methadone.US offers helpful information on our site for prospective patients that provides an overview of the opioid treatment enrollment process.