- 21-day Detox(Short Term): The patient will be stabilized and tapered off Methadone within a 21-day period.
- 180-day Long Term Detox: The patient will be stabilized on Methadone and slowly tapered off over a 6 month period. The patient may complete this program prior to 180 days when clinically appropriate.
- Methadone Maintenance: The patient will be stabilized on Methadone and the dose will be maintained throughout the course of treatment. The length of treatment will be determined by the physician and patient, as this program offers ongoing treatment without a specific end date. Pregnant patients are included under this program.
- Buprenorphine: The patient will have the opportunity to choose the appropriate program that meets his or her needs: 21-day detoxification, 180-day detoxification, or Suboxone Maintenance.
Initially, the patient must visit the clinic regularly and receive his/her medication, yet over time the successful patient earns privileges. These can include fewer clinic visits and eligibility for take home medications as allowed by state regulation.
SOAP MAT focuses on breaking the destructive cycle of opioid addiction and dependency, understands the difficulties of the social stigma associated with being addicted and believe an independent and constructive lifestyle is attainable. SOAP staff members believe that all patients should be treated with dignity and respect and are committed to delivering quality healthcare services in a compassionate and supportive environment.
Medications developed to treat opioid addiction work through the same receptors as the addictive drug, but are safer and less likely to produce the harmful behaviors that characterize addiction. Physicians prescribe a particular medication based on a patient’s specific medical needs to help reduce withdrawal symptoms and cravings. Methadone and buprenorphine are medications used to treat opioid dependence and addiction. People may safely take medications used in MAT for months, years, several years, or even a lifetime.
Taking medication for opioid addiction is like taking medication to control heart disease or diabetes. It is not the same as substituting one addictive drug for another. The prescribed medication operates to normalize brain chemistry, block the euphoric effects of opioids, relieve physiological cravings, and normalize body functions without the negative effects of the abused drug. If controlled and used properly, the medication does not create a new addiction but helps people manage addiction so that the benefits of recovery can be maintained. In turn, patients are better able to focus on the lifestyle changes that lead back to healthy living.
What Is Methadone
Methadone is a long acting, synthetic drug first used for the treatment of drug addiction in the United States in the 1960’s. It has a 40-year history of demonstrated success in the treatment of opiate addiction. Methadone is used to treat people who are addicted to heroin and narcotic pain medicines. When taken as prescribed, it is safe and effective. It allows people to recover from their addiction and to reclaim active and meaningful lives.
Methadone works by changing how the brain and nervous system respond to pain. It lessens the painful symptoms of opiate withdrawal and blocks the euphoric effects of opiate drugs such as heroin, morphine, and codeine, as well as semi-synthetic opioids like oxycodone and hydrocodone.
Methadone is offered in liquid form at SOAP MAT and is taken once a day. Pain relief from a dose of methadone lasts about four to eight hours.
Patients taking methadone to treat opioid addiction must receive the medication under the supervision of a physician. By law, methadone can only be dispensed through an opioid treatment program (OTP) certified by SAMHSA.
Methadone medication is specifically tailored for the individual patient (as doses are often adjusted and readjusted) and is never to be shared with or given to others. Patients should share their complete health history with health providers to ensure the safe use of the medication.
Whenever possible, SOAP MAT counselors cooperate with local jails to encourage continuity of treatment for incarcerated Methadone Maintenance Treatment patients.
If an agreement is in place with the jail, for an additional fee a detoxification regimen can be implemented with the patient upon notification of the patient’s incarceration.
Due to the numerous restrictions that are in place at the detention facilities, we cannot guarantee we will gain access to medicate patients while they are incarcerated, and as noted above, there is an additional fee for this service.
The Treatment Solution:
Overall, treatment of addiction is as successful as treatment of other chronic diseases, such as diabetes, hypertension, and asthma.
Methadone is one of the longest-established, most thoroughly evaluated forms of drug treatment. The science is overwhelming in its findings about methadone treatment’s effectiveness. For example, a Drug Abuse Treatment Outcomes Study by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) found that methadone treatment reduced participants’ heroin use by 70%, reduced criminal activity by 57%, and increased full-time employment by 24%. 1 It also reduces deaths—the median death rate of opiate-dependent individuals in treatment is 30 percent of the rate of those not in treatment.2
- McCaffrey, Barry, Statement of ONDCP Director Barry McCaffrey on Mayor Giuliani’s Recent Comments on Methadone Therapy, (Press Release) (Washington, DC: ONDCP), July 24, 1998.
- CDC publication on IDU HIV Prevention. Methadone Maintenance Treatment, February 2002.