This article is to inform you about methadone being an option in the treatment of opioid addiction. We do not provide methadone treatment at our facility. To find a methadone clinic, please visit the treatment locator at the SAMHSA website.
Methadone treatment is an effective way to quit heroin and fentanyl.
When it comes to medication-assisted treatment for substance use disorder, methadone maintenance treatment has been around the longest. And, it is still considered to be the gold standard of opioid addiction treatment. Originally, methadone clinics were started in New York in the 60s. Now, it is possible to find a treatment center almost anywhere in the country. We have several to choose from here in South Florida, from West Palm Beach to Miami-Dade County.
Is methadone safe?
While methadone has developed something of a bad reputation, many of the concerns about it are myths. For example, people are worried that methadone will rot their teeth and bones. This is simply untrue. Methadone is a very potent opioid with a long half-life that is uniquely suited to being a part of an opiate addiction treatment program. That being said, while methadone can be used safely in methadone treatment programs that are credentialed as SAMHSA-certified opioid treatment programs (OTP), methadone can be a hazardous drug if not used properly. There is a significant risk of respiratory depression and overdose if too much methadone is taken or if it is mixed with alcohol or other drugs.
Additionally, methadone can be hard to quit if you decide to discontinue treatment due to physical dependence. Quitting methadone can lead to very long-lasting and severe withdrawal symptoms.
Where are Florida methadone clinics? How can I get a prescription for methadone in Florida?
First of all, if you are enrolled in methadone maintenance, you will not be getting a prescription for methadone. Typically, the only way that patients get prescriptions for methadone is in pain management programs. When it comes to treating opioid use disorder, the rules are different. Methadone clinics dispense methadone to their patients daily. Usually, the clinics open early each morning so that patients can go before work. Each daily dose is given under supervision. This ensures that the methadone is taken properly. One-on-one care and counseling are often provided to address any mental health issues and to help the patient move forward in their recovery program. After some time, if the patient has demonstrated success in their methadone program, they may be given take-home doses of methadone. Florida officials have allowed a limited number of methadone clinics to open throughout the Central Florida and South Florida regions as well as other regions of the state. The best way to find a methadone clinic near you may be to visit the SAMHSA website and go to the treatment locator.
Are there other medication-assisted treatment programs available in Florida besides methadone clinics?
While there are relatively few methadone clinics, due to the difficult credentialing process, there are many more doctors and clinics that can provide other forms of medication-assisted treatment. For example, there are many Suboxone clinics and Suboxone doctors throughout the state of Florida. Suboxone is a medication that contains buprenorphine and naloxone. Unlike methadone, Suboxone can be prescribed. Typically, patients who have demonstrated success in a buprenorphine addiction treatment program can get up to a month of Suboxone prescribed at a time. This allows for a full life, including traveling and sleeping in on days off.
What options are there besides methadone and buprenorphine for treating substance abuse?
There is a third and intriguing medication-assisted treatment option for treating various forms of addiction. While buprenorphine and methadone are only used to treat opioid use disorder, the third option, naltrexone, can be used for both opioid addiction and alcoholism. Additionally, there is evidence that it may be useful for treating other forms of addiction. Naltrexone is even used in a weight loss medication! Naltrexone is an opioid blocker tablet, also available as a monthly injection called Vivitrol. Getting started on naltrexone can be difficult for people addicted to an opiate or opioid drug because you have to be opioid-free for a longer period of time compared to methadone and buprenorphine.
How soon can medication-assisted treatment be started?
Methadone can be started right away. In fact, on the same day that you stop using heroin or fentanyl, or another opioid, methadone treatment can be initiated. This is one of the great advantages of this particular treatment. Buprenorphine, or Suboxone, can be started usually within a day of quitting opioids. While this can be difficult, most people can abstain from their drug of choice for about 24 hours, knowing that the Suboxone will make them feel better, relieving them of opioid withdrawal symptoms. Naltrexone, on the other hand, can not be started for up to a week or two. This presents a difficulty because opioid withdrawal symptoms peak at about 72 hours and can include severe opioid cravings. If you are quitting heroin and fentanyl, naltrexone may not be the best option, unless you are first in a long-term residential treatment program that includes detox.
Which clinic should I choose if I have an addiction problem?
Drug abuse treatment plans will vary from one person to another. There is no ideal one-size-fits-all solution. I recommend starting by seeing your family doctor for an evaluation and referral to the best possible addiction treatment plan for your situation. If you are in a high-risk position, you can start by going to the emergency department at the nearest hospital. More emergency physicians are becoming experienced in treating addiction now and learning about how to begin medical treatment and refer patients to ongoing medical care.
Can medication alone be used to treat addiction?
While medications can be highly effective in treating cravings and withdrawal symptoms of opiate drugs, there is more to treating your addiction than just taking a dose of medication each day. It is important that in addition to going to a clinic for medication that you also see a psychiatrist or psychologist for ongoing therapy. Getting to the root of your addiction and learning how to deal with it long-term will make a big difference in your success. Especially if you plan to only be on medication-assisted treatment for a limited period, you should consider getting started in therapy early. Psychotherapy is one of the cornerstones of medication-assisted treatment.
Should I go with methadone or buprenorphine?
This is a good question. As I stated earlier, methadone is the gold standard in treating substance abuse when it comes to opioid treatment. However, buprenorphine is quickly becoming recognized as a superior solution for many people. This is because it is safer and less regulated, so there are more doctors who can prescribe it. Also, you can get medication for anywhere from a week to a month at a time, rather than the daily clinic visits required with methadone maintenance. Yet, methadone still has its place in the world of drug treatment, especially in light of the current opioid crisis. For patients who are unable to get started on buprenorphine, especially those patients who struggle with street heroin and fentanyl use, methadone may be the best option to prevent overdose and help the patient to get clean. On the other hand, in most cases of opioid addiction, such as painkiller abuse, buprenorphine will be the better choice. If you are using heroin and/or fentanyl, you may want to still try a Suboxone clinic or Suboxone doctor first before going to the methadone maintenance clinic.