A methadone clinic is a location also known as an OTP (opioid treatment program) where those addicted to opioids like heroin or prescription painkillers undergo MAT (medication-assisted treatment).
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Methadone is a medication used to treat opioid use disorder as part of a medication-assisted treatment program. Methadone can also be prescribed for pain management.
Approved by the FDA in 1947 for antitussive and analgesic uses, the medication was shown to effectively treat opiate addiction in the 1960s. By 1972, the FDA approved methadone for this use.
If you take methadone as prescribed, it is safe and effective. The medication can promote abstinence from opioids and help sustain recovery.
Methadone is not used in isolation, but rather as part of an integrated treatment plan incorporating counseling and behavioral interventions like psychotherapy.
Methadone is a long-acting opioid agonist taken daily. The medication comes in the following forms:
The medication can help to reduce the intensity of opioid cravings and withdrawal symptoms, while at the same time blocking the effects of opioids, discouraging further opioid abuse by those in recovery.
As an opioid agonist, methadone works by targeting the opioid receptors in the brain. As a synthetic opioid with a slow release, methadone activates your opioid receptors more slowly than other opioids. This causes the medication to ease opioid withdrawal symptoms without delivering the rewarding effects associated with opioids.
Those seeking treatment for opioid addiction can receive medication at a methadone clinic.
Methadone clinics are also known as OTPs (opioid treatment programs) or SUDS (substance use disorder services clinics).
Methadone clinics can dispense Suboxone and naltrexone in addition to methadone. Most people visiting these clinics seek methadone, so the informal name of methadone clinics is most commonly used.
Every methadone clinic must be:
There are around 1700 methadone clinics in the United States. Most of these clinics are located in California, New York, and New Jersey.
There are two types of methadone clinic:
There are many benefits of methadone as a form of treatment for opioid use disorder, including:
Methadone is most effective when used to treat opioid use disorder in combination with counseling and psychotherapy like CBT (cognitive-behavioral therapy). Working closely with a therapist, you’ll learn to identify triggers for substance use, how to change ingrained behaviors, and how to implement healthier coping skills.
For more severe opioid use disorders, MAT typically starts with a medical detox. A medically supervised detoxification will streamline the withdrawal process, making it as safe and comfortable as possible.
All clinics must offer a minimum range of services to gain the required certification. These include:
All of the best methadone clinics will offer more than just the above basics, often providing many types of counseling and psychotherapy alongside holistic therapies.