6 Questions to Ask Methadone Centers Before Making a Treatment Choice

Methadone has been used since the 1960s to treat addictions to opioid drugs such as prescription pain medications and heroin.  Methadone maintenance programs are available through public and private centers throughout the United States, but they can vary widely in terms of services offered and approaches taken.  If you’re considering methadone maintenance treatment, it’s important to find the center that’s right for you. Here are a few questions to ask before beginning treatment.

1. How much will methadone maintenance treatment cost?

Methadone treatment is one of the least expensive and most effective protocols for helping people addicted to opioids, and many centers are willing to work with people to cover costs.  Ask if the center has a sliding fee scale or other payment options, or whether your health insurance will pay a portion of your treatment costs.

2. How long does the treatment take?

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The length of time people remain in methadone maintenance depends on individual circumstances, and treatment plans are highly individualized.  Many people taper off methadone in a year or less, while others may remain on the drug indefinitely.  Ask about the center’s approach to helping people transition off methadone, or whether the focus is on providing support for long-term maintenance.

3. Do I have to come to the clinic every day?

Methadone treatment centers must be strictly regulated by state and federal laws, and in many cases that means clients can only receive their daily methadone dose at the center’s clinic.  In other situations, clients can take their methadone at home like any other prescription medication.  Ask about clinic hours, what happens if they’re closed on weekends and holidays, and what you would need to do in case of an emergency.

4. How does the center dispense methadone?

Methadone can be taken in pill, wafer or liquid form.  Its effects last between 24 and 36 hours, and it should be taken at about the same time every day. If you take your methadone at the clinic, a clinic staffer will log your dose and you may be asked to sign for it.  Ask what form of methadone you’ll be given and whether you’ll have the option to take it on your own, as many people do once they’ve shown that they’re able to manage methadone responsibly.

5. How does the clinic determine if I’m a candidate for methadone therapy?

Methadone isn’t appropriate for everyone, and if it isn’t right for you, a reputable clinic should tell you so.  Your initial appointment should include a medical screening and blood tests to rule out a relatively long list of health conditions and situations in which taking methadone could be harmful, or even deadly. It’s important to find out how the clinic you’re considering will assess and monitor your health during the course of your treatment.

6. What other services does the clinic offer?

Methadone treatment centers should offer not only a clinic for dispensing the medication, but also a comprehensive set of recovery and rehabilitation services that help people rebuild their lives.  These services can include:

Although anyone can seek treatment at a methadone center, centers run by nonprofit organizations or private entities may focus on helping certain populations, such as the LBGT community, pregnant women, or those of a particular religious faith.  You may want to ask if the center offers services tailored to your specific needs.

Methadone treatment isn’t for everyone, but when provided by a reputable methadone center that supports all stages of recovery, it can help people addicted to opiates reclaim their lives. Are you looking for help to break the cycle of opiate addiction?  Help is only a phone call away. Contact us at 800-994-1867Who Answers? for the solutions you need right now.

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