There so much misinformation about methadone treatment as one of the treatment options for those with heroin addiction. Is it as addictive as heroin? Does a person have to still go through detox? Doesn’t it just prolong the “real” work of addiction recovery?
So you can imagine how thrilled I was to read Edwin A. Salsitz, MD’s, “Commentary: Countering the Myths About Methadone,” appearing on The Partnership at Drug Free.org Join Together website, August 6, 2013. Edwin A. Salsitz, MD, FASAM, is the Medical Director, Office-Based Opioid Therapy at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York.
In his commentary, Dr. Salsitz writes, “Methadone maintenance has been used in the United States for approximately 50 years as an effective treatment for opioid addiction. Yet many myths about its use persist, discouraging patients from using methadone, and leading family members to pressure patients using the treatment to stop.”
To give you a sense about what you’ll read in the full commentary, here’s Myth #2 and why it’s not true:
Myth #2: Patients who are on a stable dose of methadone, who are not using any other non-prescribed or illicit medications, are addicted to the methadone. Patients taking methadone are physically dependent on it, but not addicted to it. Methadone does not cause harm, and provides benefits. People with many common chronic illnesses are physically dependent on their medication to keep them well, such as insulin for diabetes, inhalers for asthma and blood pressure pills for hypertension.
For more information on heroin addiction, in general, please check out NIDA’s DrugFacts: Heroin.
Finding Methadone Treatment and Other Treatment Options for Heroin Addiction
As with all addiction treatment, there is no one-size-fits all when it comes to treating heroin addiction. This link provides important information: NIDA “What are the Treatments for Heroin Addiction?“, as does this one from SAMHSA, “Medication-Assisted Treatment for Substance Use Disorders: Methadone.”
Buprenorphine (e.g., Suboxone) is another medication-assisted alternative. This link from SAMHSA, “About Buprenorphine Therapy,” explains, as does this one, “Clinical Guidelines for the Use of Buprenorphine in the Treatment of Opioid Addiction.” This link takes you to SAMHSA’s Physician and Treatment Program Facility Locator for Suboxone Providers.
To find treatment for heroin addiction in general, including providers of methadone maintenance, visit SAMHSA’s Substance Abuse Treatment Facility Locator. I’ve copied and pasted one of the category choices, below. As you can see, you can select “required” if you want to find specific locations offering methadone maintenance or using Buprenorphine in treatment.
|Substance abuse treatment|
|Buprenorphine used in treatment|