The Stigma Surrounding Methadone Clinics

What Is A Methadone Clinic?

A methadone clinic is a place where people who are addicted to opiate narcotics like heroin or prescription medicines can get help.

Methadone clinics are only for the distribution of medicines used in medically assisted drug therapy treatments. Other medications, including Suboxone and naltrexone, are frequently accessible at “methadone clinics.”

Most patients on methadone maintenance therapy (MMT) must take daily dosages and be closely monitored for the first seven to 10 days.

Most people can return to their methadone clinic daily for at least six months after this initial phase.

Individuals who accomplish the clinic’s goals and stick to their treatment plan for the first six months may be allowed to take supplies home for a few days or weeks.

It’s critical to stay on the prescribed dose of methadone and follow all of the set protocols since this is how methadone clinics can help people with addiction disorders achieve long-term recovery. According to research, when a person takes MMT for a year or more, they have good lifestyle changes such as a decrease in criminal conduct and disease transmission.

 What Happens At A Methadone Clinic?

Patients can get methadone on-site after the clinic has determined their eligibility through numerous basic screening exams and interviews. Once patients have earned the right, some programs enable them to take home dosages for self-administration.

An appropriate practitioner who is licensed to give out opioids by the state or federal government dispenses the drug. If supervised by a certified practitioner, pharmacists, nurse practitioners, and registered nurses can distribute methadone and other opioid therapy drugs. When someone enters a methadone treatment program, they are given a daily dose of methadone and are required to attend therapy. Treatment with methadone in a clinic is frequently a long-term commitment.

How Does Methadone Work?

Methadone affects the brain and neurological system’s response to pain. It reduces opiate withdrawal symptoms and prevents the pleasurable effects of opiates like

 Morphine, heroin, and codeine, as well as semi-synthetic opioids like oxycodone and hydrocodone.

How Can A Patient Receive Methadone?

Patients who are using methadone to treat opioid addiction must do so under the direction of a doctor. Patients may be allowed to use methadone at home between program appointments after a period of stability. Methadone can only be supplied through a SAMHSA-certified opioid treatment program (OTP). 

Methadone Safety

Methadone has the potential to be addictive, thus it must be taken exactly as directed.

This is especially important for persons who are allowed to take methadone at home rather than being forced to do it at an OTP under supervision.

Methadone medication is unique to each patient and should never be shared or given to others (due to numerous dose modifications and re-adjustments). Patients should share their complete medical history with their healthcare providers to ensure that the medicine is taken safely.

The following pointers can assist you in getting the greatest treatment results:

  1. Never take more than the suggested dose, and take it exactly when it’s supposed to be taken. If you miss a dose or it doesn’t seem to be working, don’t take an extra dose of methadone.
  2. While on methadone, alcohol should be avoided.
  3. Be cautious when driving or operating machinery if you’re on methadone.
  4. Dial 911 if you suspect you’ve taken too much methadone or are worried about an overdose.
  5. Take care to prevent children from accidentally swallowing methadone.
  6. Methadone must be stored at room temperature and away from direct sunlight.
  7. Flushing methadone down the toilet is an effective way to dispose of it. 

Side Effects Of Methadone

Side effects should be regarded seriously because they could suggest a medical emergency. If a patient has any of the following symptoms, they should immediately stop using methadone and notify a doctor or emergency services.

  • Do you have trouble breathing or do you breathe shallowly?
  • Feeling dizzy or faint?
  • Hives or a rash, as well as swelling of the cheeks, lips, tongue, or throat
  • Do you have chest pain?
  • Have a racing or pounding heartbeat?
  • Have you ever had hallucinations or been perplexed?

Stigmas Around Methadone Clinics

Myth #1: Methadone trades one drug for another

Methadone is a drug that is provided by a doctor as a steady dose. This closely controlled prescription works on the same brain receptors as misused narcotics (such as heroin or morphine), but without the same sensations of pleasure (the “high”). 

The person can focus on obtaining sobriety without the often deadly symptoms that can arise when the body is free of the drugs by medically managing the dosage of medication and carefully monitoring the withdrawal process. It has also been demonstrated to lower the risk of recurrence.

Myth #2: Only “criminals” and “junkies” need methadone

Methadone is a drug that is provided by a doctor as a steady dose. This closely controlled prescription works on the same brain receptors as misused narcotics (such as heroin or morphine).  But without the same sensations of pleasure (the “high”).  It has also been demonstrated to lower the risk of recurrence.

Myth #3: Methadone is unregulated

If methadone, like any other opioid medication, enters into the wrong hands, it can be used as a street drug. Methadone-assisted therapy, on the other hand, is extensively regulated, with federal legislation overseeing methadone clinics and methadone distribution for the treatment of opiate addiction.

Only professionally qualified professionals can provide methadone as part of a medication-assisted treatment program.

The Importance Of Methadone Clinics

With the nation’s opioid epidemic raging, removing the stigma about methadone clinics can help save lives.

“They assist to stabilize patients, allowing treatment of their physical, psychological, and other problems so they can contribute successfully as members of families and society,” according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Little Creek Recovery Can Help You Recover

Individuals who are addicted to opioids might walk into a methadone clinic and ask to be treated. 

Methadone is a long-acting opioid that is used to treat opiate addiction, detoxification, and chronic, severe pain in patients. There is growing evidence that long-term methadone usage in opiate-dependent individuals offers significant societal benefits, such as reducing illegal opiate use, reducing HIV and hepatitis transmission, and lowering criminal activity and healthcare expenses in this population. Methadone treatment has a variety of drawbacks.

Restrictive government laws, the stigma of opiate addiction, and a shortage of Food and Drug Administration-approved healthcare practitioners and clinics capable of offering therapy to all patients who may benefit are among them. Contact us if you need help and we will provide you with all the necessary information. 

References (archived)

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