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Tips for Finding a Methadone Clinic

If you’re living with heroin addiction, you may find relief in a methadone clinic.

Your daily visits can help soothe your drug cravings. In some centers, you’ll get counseling and behavioral support that could change the habits that support an addiction. 

There are thousands of methadone clinics in the United States. While the laws that regulate them might be the same in some states, each location may have something different to help support your recovery. 

Here’s what you should know about methadone clinics and how you can choose the spot that’s right for you and your recovery. 

What Is a Methadone Clinic? 

Methadone is a prescription medication, and it is structurally similar to heroin and other opioids. It lasts longer than other drugs in its class, however, and it isn’t associated with intoxication or euphoria.
When given at the right doses, it blocks drug cravings. That allows people to move through their lives without needing to use drugs.

While methadone is beneficial, it’s also powerful. In the wrong hands, it can be abused.
As a result, officials require close supervision of dosage and use. That means you won’t be able to walk into a pharmacy and walk away with a month’s supply.

Enter methadone clinics.

About 350,000 people take methadone in a clinic, according to Pew Charitable Trusts. There are more than 1,400 centers that offer this help to people in need.

In addition to methadone, centers may offer:

  • Counseling. You may work alone or with your family to understand the roots of your addiction and how you can get better.

  • Job training. Unemployment and addiction are often linked. Your center may help to break that cycle.

  • Housing assistance. When you have a safe place to live, you’re less likely to use. Some centers help people apply for programs made for those with low-income levels.

  • Legal outreach. If you’ve been arrested for drugs, you may need to prove you’re in treatment. Your center may help with that, and you may be able to get help with other difficulties with the law.

Some doctors provide methadone treatment through their primary care practices. The Pew Charitable Trusts says about 56,000 physicians are licensed to do this. But it’s rare for people to get this therapy from doctors. In most cases, you’ll need to go to a clinic to get methadone help.

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Look for These Four Attributes

If you’ve overdosed on heroin or you’ve been arrested on a drug charge, you may not have a clinic option. You’ll be told where to go and expected to show up.
But if you’re hoping to get well before you’re arrested or ill, you may have plenty of choices open to you. Doing your homework is critical so that you can choose a clinic you’ll stick with.

As you assess the clinics, ask yourself these four questions.

You’ll need to go to your methadone clinic every day to get treatment, and some are located in out-of-the-way areas you can’t access with public transportation. If you miss a dose, you put your recovery at risk. Make sure you can make it to your appointment every single day. Choose the clinic that’s closest to you.

Motivation to recover can wax and wane. There are some clinics with long waiting lists. However,  that’s growing less common because the benefits of methadone are becoming better known. Take advantage of your recovery inspiration and choose a provider that can help you right away.

Some clinics offer comprehensive care, including counseling and job placement, while others do not. If you’re not combining your methadone with other forms of therapy, you may not recover quickly. Make sure you get the help you need.

If you have insurance, make sure your provider accepts your coverage. If not, determine how you’ll cover the cost. Does your clinic offer grants or sliding-scale payments?

Some people ask to meet the staff before signing up. If you’re worried about stigma and judgment, this could be a wise decision. A face-to-face introduction could help you to learn more about your recovery team, and that could put your mind at ease.
Clinic staff is trained to help people with addictions. They will not be surprised by your past, and they will help you focus on the future. That’s their job.

Don’t be embarrassed to ask questions. This is a serious decision, so it makes sense to be selective about your treatment.

Is Methadone Right for You?

Finding a clinic to help you isn’t always easy, and you might be tempted to skip the process and continue with your heroin use. It’s important to remember what’s at stake.

In 2017 alone, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were 70,237 deaths due to overdose. Drugs are powerful, and they can quickly overwhelm your body. Without treatment, you can become part of this statistic. You could leave your family, friends, and coworkers devastated.

You can tackle your addiction in many ways, including counseling. But as experts point out, drugs alter brain chemistry. The brain functions much differently after prolonged exposure to drug use.

Woman at an methadone clinic drinking water

As much as you might want to stop using, and as much as you might work with a counselor on that goal, your brain’s changes may impede your progress. 

If you’ve tried to recover before and you relapsed due to cravings, it’s vital for you to try a different approach to recovery. Methadone could be the solution you need to help you quell cravings so you can focus on building healthy habits. With the help of the right clinic, your recovery could come quickly.

Sources

(November 2016). In Opioid Epidemic, Prejudice Persists Against Methadone. Pew Charitable Trusts. Retrieved February 2019 from https://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/blogs/stateline/2016/11/11/in-opioid-epidemic-prejudice-persists-against-methadone

(October 2018). Long Stigmatized, Methadone Clinics Multiple in Some States. Pew Charitable Trusts. Retrieved February 2019 from https://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/blogs/stateline/2018/10/31/long-stigmatized-methadone-clinics-multiply-in-some-states

(July 2018). It's Time for Methadone to be Prescribed as Part of Primary Care. STAT. Retrieved February 2019 from https://www.statnews.com/2018/07/05/methadone-prescribed-primary-care/

(October 2017). Emergency Physician Runs Methadone Clinic to Treat Opioid Addicts. American College of Emergency Physicians. Retrieved February 2019 from https://www.acepnow.com/article/emergency-physician-runs-methadone-clinic-treat-opioid-addicts/?singlepage=1&theme=print-friendly

(December 2018). Drug Overdose Deaths. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved February 2019 from https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/data/statedeaths.html

Interview with Dr. Vincent Dole, M.D.—Methadone: The Next 30 Years? Addiction Treatment Forum. Retrieved February 2019 from http://atforum.com/interview-dr-vincent-dole-methadone-next-30-years/

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