As we prepare for another new year, there is always this opportunity for welcomed changes and improvements in our lives. New years resolutions are often built around personal goals that people would like to achieve like quitting smoking, losing weight, or beginning a new hobby.
With opioid addiction, the desire for relief is always present. It is amazing what an individual can do when they are truly motivated and committed to a goal. It is true that people enter recovery every single day. What an incredible truth this is!
The big question is what does it take for a person to step onto the path of change and to point themselves in a new direction? The disease of addiction is one that is allowed to continue as a result of becoming stagnant, inactive. As a disease process, drug addition only gets halted when a person makes a decision to do something about it. If a person fails to take any action to change, then addiction will simply progress.
For some people, their first step toward recovery is to just talk to a caring person about their addiction problem and to take a look at some possible options. Commitment and change usually begin with a simple question like “What if … ?” or “What about … ?”
The desire for something better at times leads us to have an open heart or open mind toward something new and unfamiliar. Surprisingly, some addicted people actually fear “recovery”. It represents the unknown. But so many have looked back, after taking that first step, and been incredibly relieved that they finally did take it.
Methadone and buprenorphine (suboxone) have been extremely beneficial for a large number of opioid addicted people. So have inpatient and outpatient rehabs, detox centers, and 12 Step meetings. There are a number of proven paths that have worked for many! If you are currently struggling in addiction, change is possible and recovery is available to you. It will be a worthwhile decision to find help. You will most likely look back very soon and be glad that you made a decision to explore your own path out of addiction.
Welcome to 2015! It’s a new year. It will bring challenges. It will bring rewards. We hope that you will not sit idly by and let the past dictate your future. 2015 may be your year. Take some steps in a new and better direction. Good things can definitely happen.
Opioid 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.
Posted in Medication Assisted Treatment, Methadone, Methadone Benefits, Methadone Blog, Methadone Clinics, Methadone Maintenance, Methadone Programs, Methadone Treatment, Opiate Treatment, Suboxone, Suboxone Clinics
Tagged methadone maintenance, methadone treatment
Within the last year, Methadone.US wrote about the resurgence of heroin addiction in corporate America and in particular areas of the Northeast United States. However, opioid addiction is not exclusive to the Northeast and is surfacing across the entire country. This emerging epidemic has gained the attention of numerous government personnel as well as local community leaders.
There are thousands of colleges and universities in America. While substance abuse on college campuses is nothing new, the growing heroin problem is. Alcohol, marijuana, and cocaine have been ever-present throughout colleges for decades, but opiates historically have been a second tier drug of abuse … until now.
A recent article on DrugFree.org has highlighted efforts being made at the University of Rochester and the University of Vermont to more actively screen for opioid abuse among the students enrolled there. It is anticipated that the number of college students using heroin will rise in correlation with the general heroin epidemic which has already infiltrated the state of Vermont and other parts of the country. Vermont’s Governor Peter Shumlin is on record as having recognized that the state is experiencing a genuine crisis with heroin addiction and associated overdose deaths.
According to the DrugFree article, Yale University officials have also reached out to students to share the school’s caution and concern that some students may not fully understand the danger and potency of the drugs being secretly distributed on college campuses. University representatives are trying their best to get ahead of the problem before things spiral out of control.
Heroin has become the new “cheaper” substitute for those who have developed a dependency on prescription opiates but who no longer have access to them. Unfortunately, it has become a practice among many colleges to keep drug problems out of the news for fear that it will tarnish the school’s reputation.
This tendency to keep things “quiet” often works against connecting addicted people with the professional help that they may need. Every college should be working hand-in-hand with local addiction treatment organizations and professional addiction counseling centers since most colleges and universities are not sufficiently staffed to deal directly and effectively with complex addiction treatment issues. Credit should be given to those schools that are being proactive in their desire to educate students before tragedy strikes.
Information For Families on Opioid Addiction Treatment
Posted in Addiction Recovery, Heroin, Methadone, Methadone Clinic Transportation, Opiate Addiction, Opiate Withdrawal, Prescription Drugs, Suboxone, Suboxone Clinics
Tagged college substance abuse, heroin in college, methadone treatment
The decision to utilize methadone dosing to manage opioid withdrawal is a choice that will require considerable personal commitment. As methadone dispensing for opiate addiction occurs within the structure of a methadone clinic, each patient must travel to the clinic daily to check-in and receive their medication in person under supervision.
In addition to the daily commute, one must also make arrangements for payment of their methadone program fee. A majority of methadone programs across the country are private, self-pay programs. Many of them offer a variety of pay plans with a fair number of patients opting to pay their program fee each day when they arrive. That fee generally ranges from $8.00 to $15.00 per day.
There are a considerable number of State and Federally subsidized methadone programs that are funded though medicaid or state dollars earmarked for mental health & substance abuse services. These programs usually have very low fees and some of them actually have no out-of-pocket cost to the patient. As one might imagine, state supported programs usually have a finite number of available openings whereas medicaid generally does not operate with the same caps and can accommodate many more patients. However, qualifying for medicaid is not necessarily easy with healthy adult males typically not meeting eligibility requirements.
While methadone dosing provides effective relief from withdrawal sickness, it’s the counseling component of methadone programs that helps patients develop improved skills and a realistic plan for long term recovery from addiction.
When committing to methadone treatment, patients are most excited about the benefits of methadone medication and its usefulness in eliminating the sickness of opioid withdrawal. But, it’s the participation in group and individual counseling that make the greatest difference in developing a new & improved view of one’s future and the possibilities that lie ahead. Opiate replacement medications like suboxone and methadone are an important piece of the recovery puzzle, but learning to cope with one’s feelings, thoughts, and life circumstances comes from the unique benefits of the counseling experience.
Commitment to counseling and learning new skills are key elements in your pursuit of a drug free, improved life. Methadone and suboxone help to remove the huge obstacle of daily withdrawal sickness. Once that hurdle has been jumped, then one can truly walk the path of recovery and discover the many good things that await along the road of life.