According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, “By law, methadone can only be dispensed through an opioid treatment program (OTP) certified by SAMHSA.” This means you cannot receive the medication from a doctor’s office in the way you can get buprenorphine or other opioid drugs.
Why Can’t I Get Methadone From My Doctor’s Office?
Methadone use is highly managed and regulated by the government, in large part because the medication, though a viable and effective treatment for opioid abuse and addiction, has a strong history and potential of abuse itself. Therefore, only certain places have the authority to dispense it as well as prescribe it.
These places are the previously mentioned OTPs, which are federally licensed, certified by SAMHSA, and “registered with the Drug Enforcement Agency (or DEA)” (National Institute of Justice).
Methadone is a dangerous drug if prescribed incorrectly or if taken in large doses, and the government has put a number of safeguards in place to avoid these possibilities. While you can only receive your medication at a licensed methadone center, these facilities are rather numerous and exist all over the country.
What about During Pain Treatment?
As stated by the National Library of Medicine, “Methadone is used to relieve severe pain in people who are expected to need pain medication around the clock for a long time and who cannot be treated with other medications.” It is not used as often as other opioid drugs because of its high potential for abuse, but when methadone is used to treat pain, it may be prescribed by a doctor.
However, this is usually on an extremely case-by-case basis, and a doctor cannot prescribe the drug this way for a patient who needs it for opioid addiction treatment. The prescription is also not refillable to avoid issues with abuse. Doctors cannot dispense methadone to patients from their offices for any reasons.
How Can I Find an OTP?
As previously stated, there are many programs across the country where a person can receive methadone for opioid addiction. These programs not only dispense the drug but also offer a number of other treatment options to patients such as therapy, medical services, HIV education and prevention, drug screenings, and others.
You can find one of these programs by using our state-by-state clinic directory, which lists the facilities that dispense methadone and provide other treatments to recovering addicts. If you would like more assistance, you can call us at 800-530-0431 to ask any questions about these programs or methadone treatment in general.
It is important to understand why doctors cannot dispense methadone through their offices and why you will need to visit an OTP to receive the medication. The drug, while beneficial, can be highly dangerous when taken in a way that is not approved by the medical community or by the doctor who prescribes it, and limiting it availability to recovering addicts to these facilities helps minimize this issue considerably.
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