Free methadone clinics provide a valuable service to people struggling with severe opiate addiction. Both adults and children can benefit from the comprehensive treatment approach employed by free methadone clinics.
According to the U. S. National Library of Medicine, within the last nine years, opiate-type drugs like heroin and prescription pain pills have become the most commonly abused drugs among adolescents. In turn, adolescent and young adult users are the fastest growing population needing drug treatment help.
Methadone’s success rate at helping chronic opiate users maintain long-term abstinence offers a proven treatment solution for adolescents struggling with addiction. While free methadone clinics do offer a wide range of treatment benefits in addition to methadone, parents may want to take certain precautions considering how medications in general can impact adolescent developmental stages.
Methadone Treatment Benefits
Methadone, a synthetic opiate medication, addresses the two biggest challenges opiate addicts face in recovery: ongoing drug cravings and withdrawal effects. As a treatment drug, methadone curbs drug cravings and withdrawal by supporting the areas of the brain most damaged by chronic opiate use.
Along with medication treatment, free methadone clinics also require program participants to take part in psychosocial treatment interventions as a condition of treatment. Psychosocial interventions include –
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- Social skills training
- Family therapy
- Twelve step therapy
According to St. George’s University of London, psychosocial interventions help addicts work through the underlying psychological processes that drive addictive behaviors. These interventions also treat co-occurring psychological problems, such as depression and anxiety disorders that often develop as a result of chronic opiate use.
Eligibility Requirements for Adolescents
Since methadone itself is a controlled substance, free methadone clinics operate under strict government regulations. For these reasons, certain guideline requirements must be met in order for adolescents to be eligible for free methadone clinic treatment.
According to the State of Michigan resource site, free methadone clinics can admit adolescents under the age of 18 years old when the following requirements have been met –
- Have two previous, unsuccessful attempts at drug treatment and provide documented proof
- Have written parental consent to receive treatment
- For adolescents 15 years old and younger – must have permission from his or her state’s opioid treatment authority; must have permission from the U. S. Drug Enforcement Administration; must have parental consent
Methadone Treatment Considerations for Adolescents
While ongoing opiate use can cause considerable damage to an adolescent’s physical and psychological development, drug treatment therapies may also compromise his or her developmental growth, according to the National Institutes of Health. Likewise, many parents as well as treatment providers are reluctant to provide methadone treatment to adolescents in recovery.
While adolescents do experience ongoing hormonal changes that affect brain and body development in general, the dangers associated with relapse and ongoing drug use may actually be more of a threat to your adolescent’s overall well-being. Chronic opiate use causes widespread deterioration in the brain, which has direct effects on a child’s developmental growth.
As drug use tends to go hand-in-hand with casual sexual encounters, adolescents remain at considerable risk of contracting infectious diseases, such as HIV and hepatitis C. Ultimately, parents must weigh the risks involved with free methadone clinic treatment versus seeing their children continue to struggle with drug addiction problems.