People struggling with opiate addiction often turn to methadone clinics when other types of treatment have proved ineffective. For someone with a lengthy history of opiate use, ongoing drug cravings and withdrawal effects can persist for years into the recovery process. For these reasons, many people in recovery go in and out of treatment programs with little to no success.
While methadone clinics do offer a much needed service, these programs fall under strict government regulation. Likewise, anyone receiving treatment from a methadone clinic must follow certain procedures and guidelines.
Access to methadone treatment comes with certain rules or conditions in terms of how the medication is dispensed and how often a person must visit the clinic in order to receive treatment. Over time, methadone clinic attendance requires become more flexible as participants progress through the program.
Methadone Maintenance Guidelines
While commonly used to treat opiate addiction, methadone is also an opiate class drug, though synthetically made. As one of the more potent opiate medications, methadone is classified as a Schedule II narcotic. This classification accounts for the strict regulatory guidelines methadone clinics must follow.
Likewise, methadone clinic program applicants must undergo a comprehensive evaluation process to determine whether they qualify for treatment, according to the University of Hawaii. As certain high-risk behaviors can easily jeopardize treatment efforts, methadone clinics screen out applicants likely to abuse the treatment drug.
Other areas covered by the evaluation include –
- Identifying existing medical conditions
- Identifying existing psychological problems
- Determining the severity of a person’s addiction
Each of these factors influences a person’s eligibility status as well as how often he or she will have to go to the methadone clinic for treatment.
On-Site Dosing Requirements
On-site methadone clinic requirements dictate how often participants must come to the clinic to receive methadone doses. These requirements attempt to reduce the likelihood of illegal dispensing practices by program participants. Safety issues are also a concern in terms of keeping methadone medications out of the reach of children.
For the first 90 days of treatment, program participants come to the clinic on a daily basis to receive methadone doses, according to the State of Michigan site. Doses must also be ingested under the observation of a treatment provider. In the event a person discontinues treatment or relapses, restarting treatment means restarting the 90-day initiation period. Participants who successfully complete the 90-day requirement become eligible for off-site dosing options.
Off-Site Dosing Requirements
Off-site dosing options may be temporary or permanent depending on the circumstances involved. At this point, program participants take on the responsibility of managing off-site doses as a condition of ongoing treatment.
After the 90-day initiation period, the number of times a person must receive doses from a methadone clinic drops to three times week. Since methadone must be taken on a daily basis, participants are sent home with a two-day supply each time they come in for treatment.
In cases where a medical condition or other extenuating circumstance prevents a person from meeting his or her attendance schedule, he or she may receive special permissions in terms of take-home supply amounts.