Understanding Methadone Treatment Guidelines

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Calendar icon Last Updated: 09/16/2021

Reading Time: 3 minutes

When it comes to medication assisted treatment (MAT), everyone has an opinion. Some people swear by it, thinking it’s the only way to recover from addiction. Others feel that it allows addicts to replace one drug with another, never finding true recovery. Either way, when it comes to MAT, there are a lot of misconceptions and none more so than those surrounding the methadone treatment guidelines and procedures. Instead of believing the rumors and myths heard around the clinics, rehab, and at 12 step meetings, here are the facts and what you need to understand when it comes to the methadone maintenance and treatment guidelines.

Methadone Treatment Guidelines

Methadone Treatment Guidelines

Patients must undergo a medical assessment prior to receiving methadone treatment.

Methadone maintenance programs fit under the federal guidelines for opiate treatment programs (OTP), a specific subdivision of MAT programs. Each treatment center that administers methadone for opiate addiction must be accredited by a body approved by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and maintain treatment regulations and standards.

These programs must use a combination of behavioral therapy along with the administration of methadone to provide a whole patient approach to addiction recovery. As part of the federal regulations, each patient involved in a methadone maintenance program must receive assessments across a variety of areas including medical, counseling, vocational, education, and drug and alcohol.

Based on these assessments, individualized treatment plans are developed that address all issues, and often case management is available for those who need assistance meeting the non-treatment needs.

Methadone doses must be given daily through the clinic until stabilization and treatment compliance are met. At that point, it may be determined that a patient can receive take home privileges, starting at one dose at a time.

Methadone Treatment Is Clinically Effective

Although the methadone treatment guidelines are often misunderstood, you must remember that methadone maintenance is a clinically driven treatment. For nearly 50 years, methadone has shown to be effective and help people addicted to opiates live a full recovery.

Over two million people in the US are addicted to either prescription pain pills or heroin, and methadone is a viable option for many of them. These programs reduce the need for inpatient detoxification. They reduce both IV drug use, as well as poly drug use. With methadone maintenance, those addicted to opiates are less likely to overdose and have a much lower rate of drug related death. They’re also less likely to contract HIV or Hepatitis C, both diseases easily spread through IV drug use, and criminal behaviors are reduced.

Patients experience an overall life improvement, including the quality of relationships, the ability to maintain employment, and overall wellness. These people are living a self directed life in addiction recovery.

There Is Hope

When you’re addicted, it’s easy to feel hopeless. But there is hope. If you or someone you love is addicted and in need of treatment, don’t wait.