There’s a new spin being proposed on the dispensing of methadone to Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) patients. A federally-funded project is underway between Scene Health and The University of Washington in which patients video themselves taking their daily methadone dose, and then submit that video to the treatment provider.
The project is evaluating this new modified approach that falls somewhere between in-person daily dosing and unsupervised take home dosing.
This new approach is currently being referred to as Video DOT (video direct observation therapy) and has been successfully implemented with other health issues including hepatitis C, asthma, and diabetes.
While this experiment seems appealing at first glance, it does raise legitimate questions about the ability to insure proper safety protocols with the provision of methadone medication to new patients. The project may possibly demonstrate the usefulness of Video DOT methadone dosing. But assuming this new approach one day becomes common practice, it will be important that physicians or clinics have in place a procedure for quickly reclaiming methadone doses that are not ingested on schedule.
Imagine a new patient receives 7 take home doses of methadone, but then only sends in the required video of their medication use on day one. At what point does the prescribing clinic intervene, and how will the unaccounted for doses be retrieved?
Approved Opioid Treatment Programs currently have “callback” procedures in which stable patients are randomly selected to return to their home clinic with their unused take home doses. This allows the clinic medical staff to perform a medication count, and it acts as a safeguard to insure patients are taking their medication as prescribed.
Patients who have earned take home privileges through months of treatment progress are less inclined to divert or misuse methadone than someone who just started treatment. New patients must be inducted gradually on a stabilizing dose of methadone. And time is typically needed to help these patients adjust to methadone while eliminating use of all other illicit substances. This is where the benefit of a structured treatment program is most relevant. OTP’s provide extremely valuable life management skills training in conjunction with medication therapy.
It remains to be seen if “easy access” to methadone is truly an advancement in care, or a step backwards in accountability & safety for patients and the public.
The need for social support in recovery is a significant factor. Not only is successful recovery an ongoing challenge, but it is a journey which is greatly helped through positive connection with others.
Others who offer acceptance and encouragement during “rough days” can sometimes make the difference between relapse and successful coping.
It is important to realize that support can come from anyone. It does not necessarily have to be one’s family or from the 12 Step community. The love, support, and involvement of others in your recovery can actually come from a much wider variety of contacts and positive influences.
It’s particularly beneficial when your supports are accepting of medication-assisted treatment. Physicians and counselors are generally much better informed on the benefits of methadone or buprenorphine in managing opioid withdrawal. If your spouse, partner, or friend does not understand the value of medication-assistance, it can make a difference to invite them to one of your counseling sessions or to direct them to this website.
Opioid treatment programs (like the ones featured on Methadone.US) generally offer group therapy, individual counseling, and education sessions where other patients can offer support. Some programs also provide assistance for coping with psychiatric issues like anxiety, depression, PTSD, or bipolar disorder. Managing these co-occurring disorders is really key in strengthening your overall recovery from opioids or other drugs.
Always remember, addiction is an illness that grows in darkness & isolation. So step out into the light. Seek professional help and support. This is where solutions begin. There are others who will walk with you on the path of recovery. If you feel stuck in addiction presently, that is temporary. That can change.
Acadia Healthcare is one of America’s leading psychiatric and chemical dependency treatment providers. Headquartered in Franklin Tennessee, the company operates an extensive network of behavioral health facilities many of which focus specifically on the treatment of opioid use disorder.
Acadia’s CTC (Comprehensive Treatment Center) clinics specialize in helping patients who are struggling with an opioid addiction. Across Acadia’s network the company employees over 20,000 staff who serve about 70,000 patients on a daily basis.
Acadia’s dedicated CTC clinics utilize the best practice medication-assisted treatment (MAT) model which aims to stabilize patients using FDA-approved medications. These medications include methadone, buprenorphine, suboxone, and vivitrol.
Medication management allows Acadia patients to successfully ease their distressing withdrawal symptoms such that long-lasting addiction recovery can be established.
Because addiction can be a very individualized experience from one person to the next, Acadia’s treatment staff strive to individualize each patient’s treatment plan in a commitment to help each person meet their personal recovery goals.
Featured here on Methadone.US are 148 CTC clinics that Acadia provide across the United States. Feel free to browse Acadia’s network to locate a treatment facility near you, and make a new start! A great quote that we believe in goes like this “Today is the first day of the rest of your life”.
The faces of recovery are as diverse as you can imagine. Decades ago, there were common stereotypes of addicts as people who looked a certain way and likely came from a shady side of the tracks.
Today, we now understand that addiction has impacted nearly every family and community across the country. It has crept into mainstream life to such a large extent that the old stereotypes have faded away, and in their place are pictures of everyday people like the ones we know and love.
Opioid addiction is an illness that can be successfully treated. This new reality provides hope and assurance that nearly any person, with proper support and treatment, can successfully manage this illness and regain their life.
However, the odds are not good for individuals who stay in active addiction and who postpone their entry into professional care. With the widespread proliferation of fentanyl and other adulterated street opiates, the risks have never been greater.
In the United States, there are a significant number of methadone clinics, buprenorphine clinics, and qualified physicians who specialize in the treatment of opioid addition using medication-assisted approaches. For the vast majority of opioid addicted people, medication is key in helping them to prevent extremely diffcult opioid withdrawal.
Once withdrawal sickness is effectively eliminated, then counseling & support can help restore a person’s life and open up new paths to the future.
Opioid addiction is one of the more challenging substance use disorders to confront and manage because of its physical dependency characteristics. Once the process of physical addiction has taken hold, avoiding daily withdrawal becomes a high hurdle.
Because of this daily dilemma, it becomes difficult to remain focused on other aspects of recovery. It’s the law of “first things first” that applies when tackling any problem. There is a natural order and sequence which must be followed when trying to solve a complex task. Opioid addiction recovery is no exception.
Obtaining relief from opioid withdrawal symptoms is a very important first step in addressing opioid addiction. This is why medication-assisted treatment is specifically identified as a medical best practice. Science and years of exhaustive research have proven (not just suggested) that treatment coupled with medication-assistance offers the greatest probability of long-term success when trying to overcome moderate to severe opioid addiction.
Fortunately, more people are becoming aware of the need for buprenorphine, methadone, and other medications that can play a vital role in stabilizing an opioid addicted individual at the onset of their personal recovery.
Historically, efforts to come off of opioids in a detox setting have been often unsuccessful because many detoxes used insufficient medications to alleviate withdrawal symptoms. Consequently, patients would typically begin to get sick in 1-2 days with their withdrawal symptoms becoming intolerable. This can lead to patients abandoning the detox effort and a quick return to illicit opiates.
However, the tide is turning. As the American opioid crisis continues to impact families and U.S. society, many more physicians, lawmakers, and government representatives are gaining a quick education on the enormous value of medication-assisted treatment. Methadone is at the forefront of this new awareness as is buprenorphine-based products like Suboxone.
Appropriate medications used responsibly and under a doctor’s supervision provide stability, hope, and opportunity.
Posted in Addiction Recovery, Buprenorphine, Medication Assisted Treatment, Methadone Clinics, Methadone Maintenance, Opiate Addiction, Recovery, Recovery Support, Relapse Prevention, Suboxone, Suboxone Clinics, Suboxone Physicians
Tagged medication-assistance, relapse prevention