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Treating Addiction with Methadone

Posted on :  February 24th, 2017  |  By :  towardsrecovery

Did you know that treating opioid dependence with methadone has been around since the 1950s? The routine with the methadone treatment is that the patient will take a daily dose in liquid form. The intention is to reduce the craving for opioids and the symptoms of withdrawal. However, with the potential for addiction, it is necessary to follow certain guidelines for treatment.

Opioid Addiction

Just like any other opioid, methadone is addictive, but not like heroin. What are the main differences between methadone and similar opioid addictions?

  • Methadone is safer for patients to take provided that it is under medical supervision;
  • When taken orally it minimizes the possibility of HIV transmission;
  • Patients on methadone are productive and are rarely involved in criminal activities; and
  • Methadone is part of the list of essential medicines released by the World Health Organization.

With so much research going into methadone treatment, there are some significant results that have been uncovered such as:

  • Methadone treatment will drastically reduce drug injecting, hence minimizing HIV transmission;
  • Opioid dependence related death rate can be significantly reduced;
  • Criminal activity of addicts can be reduced; and
  • The most effective doses are higher than 60mg.

For patients using methadone who want to pursue the treatment within a closed setting or those with opioid dependence history should have ready access to it. This must continue for the entire time that they are under a closed setting. The rationale behind this is to ensure that they receive the maximum benefits from the treatment.

Closed Settings

Part of the methadone treatment guidelines is that it must be available in federal prisons where the process is offered. In fact, according to the Correctional Service of Canada (SCS), as early as December 2001, there were already 304 federal prisoners receiving methadone treatment. This forms part of the public health approach and thrust to prevent HIV infection as well as being consistent with the principle of having care equivalence.

There are about 30 countries providing methadone treatment in a closed setting as an option for reducing the number of prisoners injecting. This includes Canada, Indonesia, Spain, Iran, and Australia. Encouraging results can be seen like in the case of Australia where a drop from 80% to 25% in heroin addiction was recorded after only 4 months of methadone treatment.

It is worth noting that there are fewer options available to provincial prisoners as only those who were in a methadone program prior to being incarcerated are qualified for in-prison treatment whenever available.

Treatment Planning

In order to be familiar with what would happen once the treatment commences, it is important that the patient should be given proper information so that the right decision would be arrived at. What are the information that should be given?

  • Rationale of the maintenance treatment;
  • Reasons why methadone treatment is recommended for opioid dependence;
  • Potential side effects and risks of the treatment;
  • Length of treatment; and
  • Treatment options.

Patient should know the methadone treatment guidelines and rules. For example, guidelines should cover:

  • The need for patients to complete their doses in front of the staff to ensure that they are not sold in part or in whole to others;
  • Violence or threats against staff and other patients will not be tolerated;
  • Consultation with doctors is required; and
  • There will be consequences when the rules are breached.

All the necessary information must be given to the patient in the form of an information sheet so that it can be read and understood. In cases where the patient cannot read, it should be read aloud to him and asked if he has understood it. A consent form must also be signed by a patient who is willing to begin the treatment program.

Once an informed consent has been given by the patient, the treatment plan should be developed. The plan must cover the starting dose of the patient as well as the schedule when those doses should be increased. Every treatment plan must be supervised.

In order to help patients take control of their addiction, it is necessary to have methadone treatment guidelines. Towards Recovery Clinics Inc. can help in the comprehensive treatment of drug abusers, contact them today.

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.
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