The amount of misinformation that is circulated in regard to methadone is pretty astounding. Methadone is truly one of the most well-researched addiction treatment medications in history, and is widely accepted as the most efficacious opioid addiction treatment ever.
Today, I reviewed a number of videos on YouTube based on the search word "methadone", and found a plethora of wild rants, exaggerations, and obvious paranoia … often expressed by local community citizens who seemed determined to prevent a methadone clinic from operating in their locale. I wonder how many of these people would feel that way if it were their daughter that needed the clinic, or their best friend.
As an addiction treatment professional who has witnessed firsthand methadone's dramatic life changing benefits, I can only shake my head at the irrational beliefs, and mean-spirited condemnation, held by everyday people. Many of these folks seem to have good intentions, but suffer from phenomenal ignorance on the topic of addiction & addiction treatment. Methadone stabilizes individuals physically, provides a means for dealing with one's addictive disease, and offers tremendous opportunity for moving forward in life and regaining one's sense of hope.
Many of our agency's clients hold professional positions, have become top moms & dads, and live peaceful, responsible lives. This is not hyperbole, it's reality. Receiving methadone for these individuals is no different than taking a daily pill for a health condition. And the majority are identical to anyone else that you might encounter on a daily basis.
Some methadone treatment clients are satisfied to simply tread water (which is far better than drowning in one's addiction). Perhaps their overriding goal was to just avoid withdrawal sickness, and they weren't aiming for much more than that. Fortunately, they are alive, are no longer committing crime, and they no longer feel driven to desperate measures to feed an opiate addiction. There is considerable value in this type of lifestyle change which reflects more a Harm Reduction level of benefit.
Harm reduction is an approach which allows an addicted person to reduce their exposure to risky addiction lifestyle practices. Effective harm reduction for an individual also yields harm reduction for the surrounding community as well. A no brainer.
So whether one's methadone treatment participation leads to dramatic improvements, or merely small life changes, the sum gain is nearly always positive. Methadone treatment benefits many. This is the reality. With society's judgment often being harsh, it's no wonder that methadone clients are reluctant to step forward publicly. If critics could see personal & up close the methadone client they fear, a wonderful positive shift could occur, and both methadone clients & methadone treatment more readily embraced. We are on our way to this new destination, one client at a time. (read more on community acceptance)