As a medical professional, it is likely that you will eventually encounter a patient who reports to you that he or she receives methadone.
It is very important that you, and your staff, recognize that methadone treatment is a medically-approved, legitimate intervention for recovering individuals, and represents for them a commitment to change, and the hope for a new and better life. A patient's entry into methadone treatment is a responsible, solution-oriented decision.
Unfortunately, some medical professionals have been inconvenienced over the years by drug seeking patients and consequently may develop a jaded or negative view toward any patient who shares that they are in a methadone program. This is easy to do, although unjustified, and ultimately a hurtful action toward a person who may be sincerely trying to change his or her life.
As a treatment professional, I have listened with dismay as clients described being belittled and harshly judged when they revealed their struggle with addiction or their status as a methadone program client. Fortunately, I have also seen this trend improve over the years. However, many medical professionals still do not understand addictive disease or the value of evidence-based treatment approaches for dealing with addiction ... like opioid replacement therapy (methadone or buprenorphine).
Methadone treatment clients need to be able to share, without fear of judgment, their medical status and medications with their medical care providers. Hopefully, the medical community will continue to educate itself on the value of methadone in treating opiate dependency. Acceptance and understanding are wonderful hallmarks of all helping professionals. Please take the opportunity to get to know your patients who may be receiving methadone as a component of their personal recovery from addiction. Their journey toward a better, healthier life is greatly helped through our acceptance and support of their efforts.
For those who are interested in the science of addiction, addiction treatment and groundbreaking news related to opioid replacement therapy, please visit: Addiction Treatment Forum. This is a collaborative initiative for patients and healthcare professionals that focuses on research, addiction science, social norms, and government legislation around the issues of methadone and substance abuse treatment.