5 Things to Look for in a Methadone Treatment Program
Methadone can be used for the purposes of a supervised withdrawal from opiates and for long-term maintenance therapy. The choice of methadone treatment programs is between you and the evaluating clinicians based on your individual treatment goals and needs. The following are some things to look for before making any decisions.
Program Offers, Availability, and Requirements
Methadone treatment programs can be provided in traditional methadone clinics or in programs offered through inpatient or outpatient facilities specifically eligible to provide methadone to treat opiate dependence.
Each facility has their own approach to treatment and while some may offer both the methadone detox treatment and the long term maintenance, there may be some facilities limiting their treatments to detox. Methadone detox programs can last as long as 6 months. If you choose to continue taking methadone afterwards, you may be required to transfer into a methadone maintenance program at a different facility which may or may not be immediately available to you.
If you have a long history of opiate dependence, use opiates intravenously, or are at risk of harming yourself or others, methadone maintenance is advocated by authorities, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “as long as the patient (1) continues to benefit, (2) wishes to remain, (3) is at risk of relapse, (4) suffers no significant side effects, and (5) stays in treatment as long as treatment is needed, as determined by the clinician.”
Methadone Treatment Programs must be certified by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) as an Opioid Treatment Program (OTP) to provide methadone for the treatment of opioid dependence. To find a qualified OTP in your area go to:
- SAMHSA’s Substance Abuse Treatment Facility Locator at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or https://findtreatment.samhsa.gov/. For free or reduced cost services, select from the “Payment Assistance” options when designing your search.
Location is an important consideration because federal and state laws have strict disbursement regulations when methadone is provided by an OTP. Until a person is established in the program and satisfies the criteria for take home dose eligibility, they mustvisit the provider daily.
Finding a close location can relieve the burdens of travel, time, and costs incurred which can impact recovery success.
Access to Community Resources an Psychosocial Support
Community connections are important to individual’s recovery as they strive to resolve issues related to housing, finances, employment, educational goals, legal, domestic, and social functioning. They may need extended counseling, medical, or psychiatric care in order to maximize their treatment success making it important to look for the most resource accesses available.
Costs of a methadone treatment program are often offset by medical insurance, state and federal funding grants, or the facility may offer a reduced rate based on income. Every facility has their payment options which you can explore via online sources or contacting the facility directly.