How to Get Your Loved One into a Methadone Maintenance Program
Millions of people suffer from opiate addictions that have devastating impacts on their ability to live healthy, satisfying, and independent lives. The expense to their loved ones is watching them deteriorate and feeling hopeless to help. Sometimes, it’s much harder on those individuals than it is to the addict.
The relapse potentials are high for opiate addicts and for most of them, it isn’t a matter of wanting to stop which they have probably attempted multiple times, but, rather, the inability to do so without the long term help they can receive through a methadone maintenance program.
Methadone maintenance programs have proven contributions to the reductions in illicit opioid use and helping to alleviate consequential burdens of health and the spread of communicable diseases, family dysfunctions, social impairments such as unemployment or loss of employment and incarcerations, overdose, and mortality rates.
You have more influence than you realize when you take the steps to get your loved one into a methadone maintenance program by educating yourself regarding the treatment advances and knowing where to find a program in your area.
Most opioid addicts end up resigning themselves to the everyday struggles of having to support their habit, use defensive measures to continue using, seek and obtain the drug, and then use it to stave off withdrawals. It’s a treacherous cycle of intoxications and withdrawals that play havoc on their physical and mental stabilities, and that deep inside, most of them wish they could end.
Your encouragement and support for recovery in the most advocated treatment available may be all the difference between life and death for them, so don’t delay getting involved.
Benefits of Methadone Maintenance
According to a Harvard Medical School, Harvard Health Publication, “Addicts who switch from illicit opiates to methadone avoid the highs and lows and the medical risks of intravenous injection and the criminal behavior that supports it. Studies show that they are less depressed, more likely to hold a job and maintain a family life, less likely to commit crimes, and less likely to contract HIV or hepatitis.”
Methadone maintenance programs play an important role in sustaining the addict for indefinite periods of time to be free from illicit opioid use. They have been proven to help in the reduction of overdose and mortality rates which you may fear the most for your loved one.
Communicating the Need
In order to maintain your own sanity, you must know that you cannot change the addict’s behavior simply by confronting them with their abuse. They are likely to be aware of the problems their opioid abuse has caused in their life and yours, but, this type of addiction is one of the most difficult to overcome and if they try to stop, too often, the withdrawals and lingering cravings or some other “trigger” will propel them back into use.
Your greatest asset will be honesty, openness, compassion, and your concern for your own well being as well as theirs. Your offer to help should not be judgmental and you should never make idle threats because an addict will use every defense mechanism at their disposal to deny the treatment if given the chance.
You may lay out the program information for them to review and have as many answers readily available to the many questions they will probably throw at you. They may become angry or even aggressive, echoing your mistakes to reverse their guilt back onto you, but, this is a time you must stay calm and know that you are doing the right thing.
Interventions work great to be able to show the addict your love and encourage them to get help, but, without a plan, the consequences you lay out can always be ignored or ineffective. You want to show them your concerns and involve others who are close, but, remain vigilant in your decisions should treatment be denied.
You may want to contact a professional interventionist to guide you through the process and you should never have an impromptu intervention without having follow through plans that you can live with and uphold. Often, it takes the consequences that occur after the intervention to convince the addict to get the help they need.
Who are the Methadone Maintenance Program Providers?
Methadone maintenance programs are only available through OTPs certified by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and qualified to dispense methadone for the treatment of opioid dependence.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, “New federal regulations, which have overhauled the MMT system, promise a more flexible approach and improved delivery of these needed, life-saving services.” The improvements mean greater access to these programs through other sources such as private facilities, medical institutions, and physicians or centers affiliated with an OTP provider.
Your loved one would no longer be required to receive these services at an out of the way methadone clinic, but, the services are made available in more geographical areas, including rural communities where methadone maintenance programs have, traditionally, been restricted.
An accredited OTP provider can be found in your area, through the SAMHSA’s Substance Abuse Treatment Facility Locator at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or by accessing online @ http://findtreatment.samhsa.gov. For free or reduced cost services, select from the “Payment Assistance” options when designing your search.