Methadone Treatment Controversy

Posted on :  April 26th, 2017  |  By :  towardsrecovery

In case you weren’t aware of it, the use of legal opiate as a way to reduce the intake of illicit drugs has long been plagued with controversies. This is despite scientific evidence has supported the treatment as a cost-effective and practical strategy that will prevent illnesses and deaths associated with street drug usage. It also allows people with addiction to get back their lives. If this is so, why is there a methadone treatment controversy?

Replacing the Addiction

Methadone as a legal substitute for morphine, heroin, and other painkillers is a type of long-acting narcotic. The treatment makes use of methadone to replace the opiate that is the source of the addiction in order to prevent physical withdrawal, reduce cravings, and create a euphoric high. It is in this context that one of the controversies is anchored on. Many opponents of the treatment believe that the addiction is only replaced and not resolved.

The Ontario medical watchdog, College of Physicians and Surgeons, regulated methadone way back in 1996 after the responsibility was devolved to the provinces by the federal government. It is quite noteworthy to understand that the program was initially introduced when there were a lot of controversies surrounding the treatment of addicts and the increased access to the treatment.

Is there really any difference between methadone and the other opiates being prescribed by doctors? Doctors would prescribe Demerol, Percocet, Tylenol 3 and 4, and codeine for example, without any controversy. The ironic thing is that these often cause the addiction requiring the patient to turn to the methadone treatment.

When we come to think about it, shouldn’t the concern be directed to those who are using drugs and not seeking the proper treatment, rather than those who are on the methadone treatment? There is no doubt that many have benefited from the treatment. Unfortunately, such controversies are only stigmatizing methadone as well as those taking advantage of the treatment.

Addicts Keep on Using

Although some say that it is a better way of treating heroin addiction, some contend that how could it be better if addicts are still using? Their point being that what is the use of an addiction treatment where addicts do not really quit?

Methadone treatment may not be for everyone, but when it comes to harm reduction that policy makers are trying to get to, it has helped reduce instances of certain illnesses like HIV for example. The treatment would not be as controversial if it is understood that the part of the idea of the treatment is to help people live healthier and more productive lives while reducing health risks that are associated with heroin and other opiates.

So even if addicts don’t get completely clean, the reduction in HIV and hepatitis C that can spread with the use of dirty needles is something worth considering. There is also the benefit of crime reduction in the areas of theft and prostitution that are used in funding the habits of drug addicts.

Cost of Treatment

There are some quarters that insinuate that the cost of providing methadone treatment is just too high. What makes up the cost of the treatment anyway? In a gist, the estimated cost for the delivery of methadone maintenance treatment comes from laboratory costs, pharmacy costs, physician costs, and methadone costs. The pharmacy costs also covers markups and dispensing fees.

A study involving 9,479 patients, it was discovered that the average age that sought treatment was 34.3. And 62.3% of these patients were male. A total of 6,425,937 patients were involved in treatments for the study with the cost coming out to a total of $99,491,000. Out of this amount, 46.7% went to laboratory screening, 39.8% for pharmacy costs, 9.8% went to physician billing, and 3.8% for methadone. If we were to take this study as a reference point, we would come up with an average cost per day of $15.48 for the treatment or $5,651 each year. This of course is based on the assumption of continuous treatment for patients.

When you put this amount into context, the cost of delivering methadone treatment in Ontario is virtually the same as the estimates for both Australia and the United States. There shouldn’t be too much controversy with that.

If you would want to know more about effective methadone treatment, get in touch of Towards Recovery Clinics.

Who We Serve ?

  • Individuals using/abusing street narcotics (e.g. heroin).
  • Patients abusing prescription narcotics(i.e., Codeine, Talwin, Percocet/Percodan, Dilaudid, Morphine or Demerol, et cetera).
  • Individuals displaying any of the following behaviours: Compulsive drug use or drug seeking/craving.