March 21, 2018

Methadone Centers

What are Methadone Clinics?

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What are Methadone Clinics?

Methadone is a synthetic opioid that is used to treat addiction to opioid drugs like heroin, oxycodone, hydrocodone, and others. This treatment has existed for over forty years as an effective and beneficial means of helping patients to stop abusing illicit and prescription opioids and to more easily transition back into being productive members of society.

According to Harvard Medical School, “Because there is a risk of diversion to the illicit market, addicts must come to specialized clinics for methadone, which they take daily in liquid form.” Methadone clinics can either be inpatient or outpatient-based, but most are set up for outpatients, allowing individuals to visit every day in order to receive their medications. These clinics also traditionally provide other treatments such as counseling (both group and individual), vocational classes and skill building, and other possible services beneficial to recovery such as periodic drug tests and resocialization.

Are Methadone Clinics Effective for Treating Opioid Addiction?

Yes. Many individuals receive effective treatment for opioid addiction in methadone clinics. Some of the benefits of methadone as a treatment, according to the CDC, are:


Methadone clinics sometimes offer additional treatment, such as counseling.

  • Methadone “is excreted slowly” so it does not need to be taken more than once a day. This means patients can visit the clinic daily and receive their medication without having the pressure of having to take it home and administer it themselves if they are not yet ready to do so.
  • Methadone doesn’t cause euphoria when it is given in the correct dosage and the patient abides by this dose. The euphoria is often the most desired effect of opioids by individuals addicted to them, so methadone’s ability to be prescribed without these effects helps protect patients from becoming addicted to methadone itself.
  • Methadone helps patients who are still dealing with opioid addiction, abuse, and sometimes dependence “work and participate normally in society.”
  • Methadone blocks the effects of other opioids that are desired by addicts, including the sedation and the feelings of euphoria. This is not the main purpose of the drug, but it can be used in this way, especially for those who are severely addicted to opioids.
  • Methadone relieves cravings that addicted individuals feel for opioids when they are not currently able to take these drugs, thus helping to protect their recoveries and prevent relapse, as cravings are a major factor that often causes these issues.
  • Methadone curbs withdrawal symptoms from opioids which can sometimes be very intense and painful, especially the bone and muscle pain. According to CESAR, “Many users continue abusing [heroin] even after they no longer experience the euphoric effects, simply to provide relief from the painful, flu-like withdrawal symptoms,” and others often relapse in order to stop the symptoms from occurring, both issues methadone can help with.

For many years, methadone has been used as a short-term, detox treatment and a long-term, maintenance treatment for patients. In methadone clinics, the latter is most common, but either can be effective depending on the individual’s needs and their ability to follow through with formal opioid addiction treatment.

What are the Controversies Associated with Methadone Clinics?

Many individuals feel that there is a stigma surrounding methadone clinics. Patients can still abuse methadone if they have access to higher doses, and there is a political controversy around the treatment, as many individuals feel that total abstinence is the only way people can truly recover from addiction.

However, “since the 1970s, professionals who care for opiate addicts have reluctantly recognized that many of them will not or cannot stop taking the drug” (Harvard Medical School). These individuals still need a treatment that allows their recoveries to be maintained and themselves more protected from relapse.

Also, if someone starts out doing methadone maintenance, they can always decide months or even years down the road that they want to end that particular treatment which should occur only when the individual is ready. According to the NIDA, “For methadone maintenance, 12 months is considered the minimum, and some opioid-addicted individuals continue to benefit from methadone maintenance for many years.”

Are Methadone Clinics Cheap?

For the most part, yes. Methadone clinics are more often outpatient than inpatient-based which makes them usually cheaper than many other types of treatment facilities, and many are also government-run or run by a nonprofit organization which also makes them more affordable. Methadone clinics are also cost-effective when it comes to the economy as well. The NIDA states, “The cost benefits of methadone maintenance treatment become obvious when one compares the costs of providing treatment with the social costs that would have occurred if the crime level had continued.”

What All Do Methadone Clinics Offer?

Methadone clinics offer methadone treatments daily, dispensed by trained doctors and nurses who can give individuals the correct dosage. Usually, the dosage should be specific to each individual, but “most patients require a dose of 60-120 mg/day to achieve optimum therapeutic effects of methadone” (CDC).

Most methadone clinics also offer additional treatments such as:

  • Counseling 
    • The use of counseling and medication together to treat addiction are considered to be the most beneficial to patients overall. While methadone itself helps patients manage the symptoms of their addictions to opioids, counseling can help them change the way they think about themselves and their addictions. There are several different types of counseling and behavioral treatments available, including:
      • Cognitive-behavioral therapy
      • Contingency management
      • Group therapy
      • 12-step programs
      • Family and relationship therapy
  • Vocational counseling 
    • This often helps individuals in methadone clinics get back on their feet by aiding them in their job searches, resume building skills, and financial issues.
  • Legal help
    • Many people who attend treatment in methadone clinics need legal help for issues that they experienced as a result of their drug abuse.
  • Resocialization 
    • Methadone clinics allow patients to receive help and guidance from doctors, nurses, and counselors but also from other patients in order to feel a part of a closer, tight-knit community.

Methadone clinics are all over the country, and they are places where opioid addicts can receive a low-cost and effective treatment program based around the use of the synthetic opioid methadone. When taken correctly, methadone helps many individuals stop abusing opioids, and methadone clinics are the best place to receive this type of treatment.


The contents of the web site (the “Site”) are for informational purposes only. The Information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, tests or treatment, and does not create a physician-patient relationship.

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