Why do we need a methadone treatment facility in this community?
Drug addiction ignores every socio-economic variable and finds its way into all communities. Treating addiction is far less costly than ignoring addiction. It won't go away and if left untreated it impacts the community through public health diseases like tuberculosis, sexually transmitted diseases, HIV and hepatitis. Additional community costs include emergency room visits, admission to medical and psychiatric facilities, criminal activities of active addicts supporting their addiction, and incarceration.
Isn't methadone substituting one drug for another?
Heroin is a destabilizing addictive drug that impacts the central nervous system in a manner that makes it very difficult to engage in activities of daily living. Methadone is an FDA approved medication that provides a stabilizing effect on the central nervous system of an addicted individual without euphoric or mood altering effects. The medication allows the stabilized addict to engage in normal activities such as parenting and work. Similar to many other diseases like diabetes or hypertension that require medications for patients to live a normal life, a person with the disease of narcotic addiction may require Methadone to achieve/maintain a stable state.
Will a methadone treatment facility attract addicts into my community and cause an increase in drug traffic and crime?
Treatment reduces drug use and crime. This is supported by numerous studies and by treatment outcome data analyzed from individuals in treatment. Demographic data on patients indicate that the largest number of people in treatment live in the community where the facility is located followed by people from abutting cities or towns. Individuals in treatment have long associations with the community both as an active addict and as a person dealing with their disease. It is far better to provide and encourage treatment of the addicted patient than to ignore the problem and live in the community with those untreated.
Is withdrawal from Methadone more difficult than just quitting heroin "cold turkey"?
Abrupt discontinuation of heroin use or of Methadone medication results in significant and similar drug withdrawal symptoms. However, the Methadone withdrawal starts more slowly and is less severe than withdrawal from heroin, but it does continue for a longer time. Ideally, individuals should be withdrawn from Methadone by gradually reducing their dosage in a manner that avoids all withdrawal symptoms. Subsequent to achieving a medication free state, the individual should continue abstinence from all narcotics or the addiction and withdrawal syndrome will reoccur.
How often is methadone prescribed and how long does treatment take?
Methadone is taken daily. Initially, patients come to the clinic for their medication and monitoring; medically stable patients who have demonstrated progress and responsibility in treatment can take methadone at home. Treatment is individualized, but the average length of treatment is eighteen to twenty-four months.