What to Look for in a Free Methadone Clinic
Free methadone clinics exist to help those who are suffering from opiate dependence to overcome the challenges of withdrawal in a safe and effective manner. Unfortunately, in can be difficult to find free methadone clinics as most charge at least a nominal rate for the medication that is involved. According to Federal Regulation of Methadone Treatment, an estimated 115,000 people receive methadone treatment each year, many of which cannot fully afford the cost of therapy—as such, free programs have been developed to help those in need.
Accountability is of major importance when looking for free methadone treatment. While you may find a number of clinics that claim to offer free treatment, finding programs that maintain full accountability for the treatment that they provide and which are fully licensed and accredited. Treatment providers must be accountable for the services, help, support and medical care that they are offering to patients regardless of the price or fees that they do (or do not) charge.
Every methadone clinic, whether free or not, is required to be accredited by the state in which the clinic is providing treatment. According to SAMHSA, “the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Justice, and the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy have agreed to new proposed regulations to improve the quality and oversight of substance abuse treatment programs that use methadone and other medication to treat heroin and similar addictions.” As part of this program, state accreditation of methadone maintenance is overseen by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
Ask each free methadone clinic that you encounter within your search about the effectiveness of the program and the treatment that they offer. Even free methadone clinics will have statistics available regarding patient retention, success in recovery, and repeat admissions. Keep in mind that addiction is much like any other disease in that it tends to be characterized by repeat relapse so even if success rates are not extremely high, the program could work for you.
While the individual services offered by a free methadone clinic may differ substantially from those provided in a paid program of treatment, you should expect to find a program that includes at least support groups, individual and group counseling. Referrals to other services including medical care and further treatment support are added benefits that you may find in a free methadone clinic. Additional services that may be offered include:
- relapse prevention
- medical care
- discharge programs