According to the 2008 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, around 3.8 million Americans over the age of 12 have tried the opioid heroin at least once in their life. Unfortunately, many of those who try the drug will go on to become addicted to it. And surpassing heroin addiction is the addiction prescription painkillers such as codeine, hydrocodone, and especially oxycodone. When trying to become sober from these substances the body can and most often will go into severe physical withdrawal. Physical withdrawal from opioids can include symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and seizures. To deal with the symptoms of the withdrawal many individuals will turn to methadone clinics for help.
What is methadone?
Methadone is an opioid pain reliever that is similar to morphine. Methadone reduces withdrawal symptoms in people addicted to heroin or other narcotic drugs without causing the “high” associated with the drug addiction. Methadone is used as a pain reliever and as part of a drug detox and methadone maintenance programs.
How do methadone clinics work?
Intake/Screening in the methadone clinic
Before an individual can begin a methadone program, they will have to go through an initial screening process with a methadone clinic counselor. The screening will determine whether methadone is a good fit for them and whether or not the methadone will help them become sober or will be simply used as part of a maintenance program to keep them from using other powerful opiates unsupervised. The initial screening process in the methadone clinic determines whether or not an individual may be more successful using another method of maintenance such as buprenorphine to control cravings.
Process of going to the methadone clinic
Going to a methadone clinic is part of a daily routine for thousands of American across the country. Each day the participant in a methadone clinic travels to the clinic for his or her scheduled dose that has been determined during the screening process. Waiting for a dose of methadone at a methadone clinic usually involves waiting in a long line until your name is called and your dose can be given to you. Initially, the doses of methadone are small and they continually increase as the maintenance treatment continues. The methadone dose usually only increases as long as the participant never misses a dose and can pass drug screens.
Once a methadone dose has been reached that allows the participant to function without using other opiates, the dose remains the same. This process continues either until the participant can no longer afford to go to the methadone clinic or they are able to break their opiate addiction. Becoming sober is the ultimate goal most methadone clinics have for people and methadone maintenance is often associated with drug and alcohol counseling as well, to help achieve that goal.
The entire process of a methadone clinic is overseen by a medical professional to insure that the health of the participant continues to improve throughout the process. Most methadone clinics when they do random drug screens, such as urine drug tests, it is to ensure that the individual is not using other illicit drugs. This helps reduce the chances of overdosing due to drug mixing. If the participant does fail a urine screen usually the methadone dose is lowered until they can pass a drug screen and then the dose will begin to increase again.
What is the cost of a methadone clinic?
Going to a methadone clinic cost around 10 to 15 dollars a day which is about 300 dollars a month. The cost can vary greatly depending on what state the methadone clinic is in. The costs are sometimes covered by an insurance company but not all insurance plans cover the program. Some methadone clinics are cash only and don’t accept insurance at all, regardless of whether it is covered by insurance or not.
Relapse rates are high in patients treated at methadone clinics, between 70-90%. The high relapse rate may be partially due to the severity of cases seen at methadone clinics, as well as the long term effects of opioid use. Some patients will be on methadone for the rest of their lives, which generates criticism regarding the effectiveness of the clinics.
If you or someone you love is in need of drug addiction treatment, please give us a call at 800-951-6135.