First-time users of prescription pain medications reached the 2 million mark in 2010 with all respondents reporting their use of these drugs for “nonmedical” purposes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Prescription pain meds and heroin are the two most commonly used opiate drugs in the United States. As trends would have it, opiate addictions rank number one as the fastest growing addiction in the country.
Methadone treatment centers provide specialized medical care and support to people affected by opiate addiction. Methadone, itself, is a long-standing treatment for opiate addiction providing both short-term and long-term support to people in recovery. As part of the recovery process, methadone treatment centers also provide auxiliary services designed to ensure recovering addicts have all the tools they need to succeed in recovery.
Methadone’s use as an opiate addiction treatment in the United States got its start in the 1960s. Methadone is an opiate-based medication, which classifies it as a controlled substance. As all controlled substances fall under federal regulations, only certain authorized clinicians can legally dispense the drug. Since the 1960s, methadone treatment centers have taken on the primary role of administering the drug. Towards the end of the 1990s, federal legislation made it possible for general practice physicians to administer methadone treatments on an in-office basis.
Methadone treats opiate addiction by suppressing withdrawal effects and reducing cravings for people entering recovery as well as for those further along in the recovery process. While methadone goes a long way towards relieving the physical aspects of addiction, it’s only part of the actual methadone treatment plan. Combined with psychotherapy and group supports, the drug’s use within methadone treatment centers offers a way to help recovering addicts remain drug-free while working to restore other aspects of their lives.
Methadone treatment centers may operate on an inpatient or outpatient basis depending on how a facility is set up. Inpatient facilities provide round-the-clock care for people dealing with severe addiction issues. Outpatient facilities offer a less restrictive treatment setting in that participants can schedule treatment times around their existing schedules.
Methadone treatment centers may administer the drug during the detox process and/or as a long-term medication therapy. People who’ve used opiates for a long time often stay on methadone for a year or more depending on the severity of their addiction. In cases of severe addictions, the longer a person remains in treatment the better chance he or she has for a successful recovery.
Opiate addiction typically creates a spectrum of problem areas in a person’s life. Medical problems caused by drug use, relationship issues as well as other psychological disorders often precede addiction, or at the very least develop as a result of addiction. Methadone treatment centers help recovering addicts address these problems during the course of treatment.
Program services offered through methadone treatment centers include:
- Medical care to treat conditions caused by ongoing opiate use
- Job placement assistance
- Needed treatment for existing psychological disorders
- Education assistance
All-in-all, the treatment process entails a long-term commitment from recovering addicts. Ultimately, a person’s motivation to get well becomes the driving force throughout the recovery process.