The South Texas Outpatient Program for Substance Abuse (STOP SA LLC) treats opiate-addicted individuals in San Antonio, Texas by providing patients with methadone and Suboxone (buprenorphine). STOP SA is an outpatient methadone maintenance clinic that also treats patients using buprenorphine medications. We do not support any special groups or programs, and self-payment is accepted. Ask us about the possibility of using private health insurance and Medicare. We offer language assistance for ASL or other hearing-impaired assistance, as well as Spanish language services.
We believe in the importance of medication for recovery from opiate addiction. By stabilizing our patients’ brain chemistry through the appropriate dosage of methadone or buprenorphine, we allow them to feel the strength and normalcy that they need to seek counseling, confront the issues that led them to abuse substances in the first place, and make positive changes in their lives that will support long-term recovery health.
In addition to providing pharmacological treatment interventions in the way of methadone or Suboxone therapy, STOP SA is committed to finding ways to help recovering addicts and their families understand substance abuse, medication therapy for substance abuse, and the benefits of medication maintenance.
Medication has been proven to be a key element of opiate addiction recovery, but patients cannot kick an addiction to heroin or prescription painkillers through treatment with Suboxone or methadone alone. Medication merely stabilizes the patient, supporting them while they do the necessary psychological, social, and behavioral work that needs to be done to achieve a successful, long-term outcome.
Our clinic prides itself on being clean and prompt with treatment times. STOP SA’s nursing staff effectively facilitates urine drug screenings and daily patient dosing. Over time, patients can earn the right to take home medications, making the medication side of their recovery process more convenient.
At STOP SA, we evaluate each patient to decide if methadone maintenance or Suboxone (buprenorphine) maintenance is the right choice for their recovery journey. Once a medication is chosen, regular check-ins help determine how effective the medication is, and increased or decreased dosages or medication changes will be made for patients who are not getting the desired results.
Both methadone and buprenorphine support patient recovery by preventing withdrawal symptoms, stabilizing brain chemistry that has been disrupted by opiate abuse, and reducing drug cravings. This gives patients a feeling of normalcy that permits them to effectively tackle the emotional, psychological, social and behavioral self-discovery and transformations that need to occur for them to truly overcome their addiction to opiates such as heroin or prescription pain pills.
STOP SA understands the importance of substance abuse education as part of the recovery process, and encourages patients to increase their knowledge and awareness of issues related to opiates, opiate abuse, and addiction recovery. Addiction treatment medication can be a lifesaving intervention, but medication alone is not a magic fix for addiction.
Addiction is a chronic, relapsing disease that needs to be continually managed in the same way that medical conditions such as diabetes and hypertension need to be managed. Patients should remember that addiction is a disease and that they are deserving of the same respect given to patients with other chronic diseases. At the same time, addiction recovery requires humility, and patients must develop the ability to take ownership of their substance abuse, so that they can take charge of their recovery, rebuilding their health and reclaiming their lives. Only then can they undo the damage that opiate drug addiction has inflicted on them and their loved ones, and find the strength and focus to rebuild their lives stronger than before.
Long term Medication-Assisted Treatment has been proven to be the gold standard in the field of addiction recovery. Medication-Assisted Treatment is a therapeutic approach that combines the daily use of addiction treatment medications such as buprenorphine and methadone with other forms of therapy, such as 12 step support groups, and individual and group counseling sessions. STOP SA provides addiction treatment medications that support our patient’s recovery journey, giving them the stability they need to tackle the comprehensive changes that need to be made in their life and in themselves in order to achieve lifelong recovery success.
Most of the positive changes that patients receive from methadone maintenance or buprenorphine maintenance occur in the first year of treatment. After this time, STOP SA patients who are doing well—i.e., are continuing to abstain from substance abuse, are engaged in meaningful and productive actions such as education, work, and creative pursuits; are physically and emotionally healthy, and have the necessary income to care for themselves and maintain a stable and healthy living situation—should make the effort to slowly and carefully wean themselves off of methadone or Suboxone.
The weaning-off process should be done very carefully, with guidance from medical professionals who can oversee the physical side of the process, and counseling and support groups who can oversee the emotional and psychological side. This cautious, two-pronged approach will ensure the patient remains healthy and avoids relapse. Relapse is particularly dangerous at this time, because the patient will not realize how low their tolerance has become for opiate drugs. Once the methadone or buprenorphine is out of their system, the dosage level of heroin or other opiate drug of choice that they were using before getting into treatment will most likely prove fatal.
Methadone and buprenorphine stabilize recovering addicts’ brain chemistry by a) attaching to opiate receptors, which prevents withdrawal symptoms and physical drug cravings, and b) by blocking opiate intoxication, which prevents relapse because patients will be unable to achieve the desired high from opiate abuse. Methadone can also prevent overdose by filling up opioid receptors. When all receptors are blocked by methadone, opiate drugs such as heroin have nothing to bind to, and can therefore have no effect. No high is achieved and the drug is flushed out of the body without the user overdosing. Overdose can occur through the abuse of other drugs, however, such as stimulants or benzodiazepines.
At STOP SA, we specialize in the pharmacological treatment of opiate addiction through methadone maintenance treatment and Suboxone (buprenorphine) maintenance treatment. We understand that the abuse of opiates such as heroin or oxycodone or fentanyl make profound changes in brain function and chemistry, which need to be addressed before addiction recovery can be achieved.
Opiates such as prescription painkillers or illicit opiates such as heroin fool the brain by mimicking the structure of neurotransmitters naturally found in the brain, and by hijacking the brain’s reward system. Almost immediately after taking an opiate drug, users experience a rush of euphoria that is the result of a flood of dopamine being released. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter associated with emotion, movement, motivation and pleasure, and it is key for effective communication within the brain’s reward center.
The reward center’s function is to reinforce healthy, survival behaviors, such as eating, with the release of small doses of dopamine, which gives individuals a feeling of pleasure and motivates them to repeat the behavior. The amount of dopamine released by opiate drug abuse is so high that it overcomes all other previous training, reinforcing drug abuse so strongly that the addict prioritizes drug seeking behaviors over other healthy, life-sustaining behaviors.
Furthermore, over time, the brain tries to counteract the unnaturally high volume of dopamine that has been regularly flooding the brain by reducing overall dopamine production and shutting down opioid receptors. This results in dysthymia, a condition defined by persistent low mood and energy, and difficulty finding enjoyment in any activity, including drug abuse. At this point, addicts transition from using to get high to using as an attempt to feel normal enough to function. It is almost impossible to break out of the resulting cycle of drug abuse without quality, professional help.
STOP SA provides treatment with methadone and buprenorphine, slow acting, “blocking” opiate medications that bind to opioid receptors, thereby preventing withdrawal symptoms and reducing cravings, while simultaneously blocking the high that patients would feel if they relapsed and used again. These drugs themselves do not create a high either, which means patients cannot abuse them the way they once abused their drug of choice. By normalizing brain chemistry and suppressing physical cravings, patients are able to achieve the energy and focus needed to get counseling and tackle the intensive self-discovery and life changes that need to be made in order to free themselves from substance abuse.
The staff at STOP SA, from physicians to nurses to supporting staff, have the training and experience to provide effective medication maintenance treatment with buprenorphine (Suboxone) or methadone. Medication-Assisted Treatment is a treatment modality which integrates prescription pharmacological therapy with counseling, psychotherapy, behavioral therapy, support groups, and other forms of addiction treatment, in order to address all aspects of opiate addiction. This holistic approach has been proven to be the most effective method of treating addictions to prescription opiates such as OxyContin and fentanyl, as well as addictions to illicit opiate drugs such as heroin.
At STOP SA, patients on medication maintenance for opioid addiction receive regular drug testing and dispensing of methadone or Suboxone (buprenorphine) from our knowledgeable staff. Our staff also encourage patients to take an active role in their own recovery journey by educating themselves about opiate drugs, opiate addiction, and addiction recovery, and by seeking out regular counseling and attending support groups. Education and counseling gives patients the self-knowledge that must be achieved before patients can address addiction issues and any co-occurring mental health disorders that may be underlying their addictive behaviors.
The medication delivered by STOP SA staff normalizes brain chemistry, prevents withdrawal symptoms, and diminishes drug cravings, which frees patients to do the real work of recovery, addressing the roots of their addiction, developing healthy habits, and learning new ways to cope with stress and trigger situations. Once patients have successfully regained their physical and emotional health, have sufficient income to support a safe and stable home life, and have abstained from substance abuse for a significant period of time, they can be guided by medical and counseling professionals through the slow, steady process of weaning themselves off of buprenorphine or methadone. This must be done carefully to ensure safety and avoid relapse, so that patients can successfully achieve a healthy, drug-free life.
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