Controversial Facts About Methadone Maintenance Treatment
Methadone maintenance treatment (or MMT) is one of the most controversial recovery solutions for opioid addicts, despite the fact that it been utilized as a treatment option for nearly fifty years. Read the facts below, and if you believe MMT could be beneficial to you or someone you love, seek treatment today by calling 800-530-0431Who Answers?.
Fact #1: Many People Cannot Stop Using Opioids
A large number of individuals who become addicted to opioids struggle with detox and relapse during the withdrawal process. Others still go on for a time without abusing these drugs but relapse later into their recoveries. This often occurs because the dependency syndrome that opioids cause, as well as the cravings experienced by addicts, can be so severe that many individuals cannot stop taking the drug.
According to Harvard Medical School, doctors began to understand in the 1970s that this was true, and that “the solution is maintenance––dispensing opiates under medical supervision.”
This allows individuals who need to stay on opioids for any reason to be able to do so without the high risk of further abuse. Patients can stay on MMT indefinitely or be weaned off of the drug eventually if they find down the road that they are ready to be.
Fact #2: Maintenance Is Not the Same as Addiction
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, because methadone is an opioid and can cause all the same effects as other opioid drugs, many people argue that this treatment is merely substituting “one addictive drug for another.” However, this is not the case for a number of reasons.
- When given as treatment, methadone is dosed so that it minimizes cravings and withdrawal symptoms but does not cause euphoria. Because the individual is not experiencing the euphoric effects of the drug, they will not begin to crave it or participate in drug-seeking behavior, which are the staples of addiction.
- A person on methadone will actually experience dampened effects if they do relapse and return to opioid abuse by using heroin or another drug (NIDA). This is because methadone is blocking the opioid receptors while not engaging them enough to create the euphoric effects caused by substance abuse.
- Methadone especially has a very long onset of action. A person can take the drug once and not need to take more for 24 to 36 hours. This is another reason why MMT is very different from consistent substance abuse and addiction.
Fact #3: Methadone Maintenance Clinics Are Safe
Unfortunately, because methadone is often diverted to the black market or synthesized for abuse, many people believe that MMT facilities are unsafe and do not provide the type of scrutiny and attention necessary for treatment with such a volatile medication. However, these programs are actually extremely safe and effective for the care of recovering addicts.
According to the National Institute of Justice, “MMT is one of the most monitored and regulated medical treatments in the country.” Only facilities that are licensed to dispense the drug can do so. These are known as opioid treatment programs or OTPs. An OTP must be certified by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and registered with the Drug Enforcement Administration. Being able to stay approved by these administrations means that the facility must also meet a long list of standards and reestablish their certifications on a regular basis.
Fact #4: MMT Isn’t Just Methadone
Because the large part of the focus is placed on the drug itself, many of the detractors of MMT believe that a person is just receiving a drug every day when they attend the program without any other treatment options. But most MMT facilities provide well-rounded care, including other treatment options like
- Individual therapy sessions
- Group therapy sessions
- Family and couples counseling
- Medical services
- HIV prevention and education
- Drug testing
- Referrals to other programs where patients can receive additional options for recovery
Do You Want to Find a Methadone Maintenance Program?
MMT is a highly effective rehab option that has been utilized safely and effectively for many years. As such, many of the stigmas associated with it are untrue, and its efficacy can be backed up with facts. If you are considering attending a methadone maintenance program for the treatment of your substance use disorder, let us help you find a facility that will fit your needs. Call 800-530-0431Who Answers? today.