States Rethinking Methadone Treatment

methadoneincreaseFor some people, methadone clinics are hailed as a miracle solution to get people off of heroin. Addicts have flocked to clinics in search of the drug that would take all their painful withdrawal symptoms away and allow them to live life without ever really having to get off drugs. In recent years people have begun to realize that methadone clinics may not be the best solution.

For citizens in Delaware, they are noticing that many of the people who frequent methadone clinics do not seem to be getting better.

The first problem with Methadone clinics is their definition of getting clean. Methadone is a synthetic opioid that has a high potential for abuse and a longer half-life that creates increased toxicity. Methadone is hailed by some for its harm reduction properties – keeping addicts from committing crimes to score dope and reducing the number of people shooting heroin.

However, since methadone is still in the opiate family, many addicts continue to go back to using heroin and other drugs while taking methadone. Additionally, those who use methadone for any length of time find it almost impossible to stop taking the drug. In recent years more and more health care providers have realized that this method of getting off heroin may not be the best, and many professionals are looking to detox their patients off of heroin and then enroll them in a program that focuses on abstinence-related methods to staying drug-free.

Many methadone clinics rely on state funds to keep their doors open. In the state of Delaware it was found that they paid one company almost 2.3 million dollars to administer methadone to addicts at two locations and another received $700,000. Combined, they provide methadone to nearly 2,000 people per day. Many are pointing out that this money could be funneled into treatment centers instead of methadone clinics, as even though the daily costs are higher, there is a more finite period of treatment with an end goal in site – compared to possibly and indefinite amount of time on methadone.

State lawmakers in Delaware sat down with a member of the Governor’s cabinet and his wife to discuss treatment in the state. As part of the discussions, methadone treatment facilities were looked at to see if this was still a good approach for Delaware to take regarding treating heroin addicts. Similar discussions are occurring throughout the country as the heroin problem in our nation continues to stay in the forefront and the number of people on methadone just continues to increase as well.

Mike Loverde

With firsthand experience with addiction, Mike Loverde is now a Certified Intervention Professional (CIP), as accredited by the Association of Intervention Specialists and the Pennsylvania Certification Board. He founded Family First Intervention in 2008 and has since helped hundreds of families find intervention and addiction rehabilitation solutions.

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