Unlike other forms of addiction treatment, methadone maintenance treatment centers around a medication component, namely methadone. While highly effective at helping recovering addicts take back their lives from opiate addiction, methadone’s role as a treatment drug creates certain complications as far as employment and workplace protocols go.
With recent changes in health care law and increasing rates of addiction, certain provisions have put in place to eliminate barriers that prevent methadone maintenance treatment recipients from living full and active lives, according to the U. S. Department of Health & Human Services. For these reasons, anyone who’s in methadone maintenance treatment or considering it should become acquainted with the laws regarding his or her rights and protections within the workplace environment.
Workplace Concerns Regarding Methadone Maintenance Treatment
As one of a handful of opiate-based medication therapies, methadone’s effects enhance a person’s ability to cope with daily life obligations, such as holding down a job. That being so, methadone’s classification as an opiate-based drug and the requirements of methadone maintenance treatment can complicate a person’s employment status or even his or her ability to get a job, especially in cases where employers don’t understand how this treatment approach works.
Your Rights in the Workplace
Under federal law, anyone receiving methadone maintenance treatment has certain rights that work to ensure needed drug treatment help can be obtained without compromising his or her employment status. According to the U. S. National Library of Medicine, two federal mandates -the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Federal Rehabilitation Act- require employers to make certain accommodations for employees enrolled in methadone maintenance treatment programs.
Medical Leave Options
Since methadone’s effectiveness relies heavily on dosage amount, during the course of treatment, dosage level adjustments may be needed to ensure withdrawal and cravings effects are kept at a minimum. In some instances, dosage adjustments require time to take effect so a person may well require time off from work in the interim.
Under the law, an employer cannot prohibit you from taking medical leave during this time.
Drug Testing Considerations
Nowadays, many companies conduct periodic drug testing as part of their workplace procedure. Since methadone is an opiate drug, it can easily trigger a positive result on a drug test. Current law requires employers to waive positive results in cases where a person can show documented proof that he or she is enrolled in a methadone treatment program.
Methadone maintenance treatment programs require a person to take part in behavior-based interventions as a condition of treatment. Behavior-based interventions may include:
- Scheduled psychotherapy sessions
- Support group attendance
- Group therapy sessions
- Drug education and counseling
As these sessions may well occur during work hours, an employer must be willing to make reasonable scheduling accommodations when a person’s work schedule conflicts with his or her treatment obligations.
Ultimately, these rights in their entirety work to eliminate obstacles that compromise your access to needed treatment help while supporting your efforts in the recovery process.
If you or someone you know are considering methadone maintenance treatment and have more questions, please feel free to call our toll-free helpline at 800-530-0431 to speak with one of our addiction specialists.