Methadone FAQ

What is methadone?

Methadone is a synthetic drug used to treat addiction to opiates. The initial goal of methadone treatment is to free a person from the withdrawal symptoms that occur when he/she stops taking a drug such as heroin, making it easier to avoid using the drug and to begin a recovery program. Methadone does not “cure” addiction. It is a powerful and addictive drug that must be used with caution and under the care of a licensed treatment center/physician.

What are opiates?

Opiates are derivatives of opium, including heroin, morphine, codeine, Dilaudid, Oxycodone, and other related drugs. The drugs are so similar that, if you are addicted to one of them, you are addicted to all of them.

What is withdrawal from an opiate addiction like?

A person may be physiologically addicted to opiates if they have been taking heroin or other opiates daily for extended periods of time and exhibit symptoms of withdrawal when they stop using these drugs.

Along with irritability and cravings to use opiates within eight hours of discontinued use, the most common signs of opiate withdrawal are runny nose, large pupils, eyes tearing, sweating, chills, diarrhea, yawning, nausea, cramps, insomnia, joint pain, and gooseflesh.

Is methadone treatment right for me?

Before admitting anyone for treatment, our physician will conduct a complete physical examination to determine whether methadone treatment is appropriate.

Am I just trading one addiction for another?

Methadone does create physical dependency, but there are number of differences between methadone and opiates:

  • Methadone is given orally, which reduces the risk of HIV and Hepatitis C.
  • Methadone is very long acting. You only have to take methadone once a day. The proper oral dose remains fully effective for 24 to 36 hours to prevent the beginning of withdrawal symptoms.
  • Methadone takes effect slowly and gradually, so you will not experience the euphoria caused by street drugs.

How much methadone will I receive?

Dosage is affected by many different factors and varies by patient. It will be overseen by medical staff and adjusted as needed. Achieving and maintaining the correct dosage requires cooperation between you and the staff. Once you have reached a stable maintenance dose, it does not generally need to be increased over time.

How will I feel on methadone?

Methadone patients feel “normal”. Usually within the first few weeks of treatment, a person in methadone treatment cannot be distinguished from a drug-free person.

Is methadone all I need?

Methadone substitution for opiates is only part of the program for success. We believe recovery requires physical health, mental health, and the ability to develop healthy relationships. We support you through a full range of services, including psychological counseling and medical examination.

Does methadone have side-effects?

Most patients experience no severe side-effects. However, when experienced, side-effects are infrequent, usually minimal, and short-lived. They most often occur in the early stages of treatment.

You should notify our medical staff if you experience light-headedness, dizziness, extreme tiredness, nausea or vomiting, sweating, ankle swelling (edema), skin rash, restlessness, or malaise (a vague feeling of discomfort).

What are the drug interactions with methadone?

Methadone must be used with caution. It is a powerful drug and has a number of interactions and side-effects that you should understand. As with heroin and other narcotics, it is never safe to drink alcohol when using methadone.

Excessive use of alcohol combined with methadone can cause breathing to stop, resulting in coma or death.

Note: If you are taking any medication, notify the physician when entering the program and also tell your primary counselor.

Caution: Opiate agonist/antagonist drugs (such as Talwin and buprenorphine) should not be prescribed for anyone using methadone as they will produce opiate withdrawal illness.

What about pregnancy and methadone?

Federal Treatment Improvement Protocols states that pregnant women users who are in treatment with methadone deliver healthier babies.

Babies born to women on methadone sometimes experience withdrawal symptoms during the first several days after birth. The symptoms are routinely treated by the baby’s pediatrician and do not result in any long-term damage. Babies born to women on methadone tend to have a slightly lower birth weight than babies of non-addicted mothers. However, the most important comparison is with babies of mothers addicted to heroin.

Studies that compared babies born to mothers in methadone treatment with babies born to mothers who use heroin have demonstrated tremendous benefits for those whose mother is in methadone treatment.

Mothers in our methadone treatment program are in prenatal care, receive nutritional supplements and information, and participate in parenting classes. In comparison with heroin-addicted women, those in methadone treatment reduce the risk of miscarriage, increase birth weight, reduce infection and HIV risk to the fetus, and generally have a much greater chance for a healthy baby.

Suboxone FAQ

What is suboxone?

Suboxone is a treatment for dependence on opiate drugs such as heroin, morphine, codeine, or oxycodone. The active ingredient in Suboxone,buprenorphine hydrochloride, works to reduce the strong cravings of addiction while also reducing the discomfort of withdrawal symptoms.

Suboxone can be prescribed in a doctor’s office (rather than in a clinic, such as those that distribute methadone).

How quickly can I get help?

Right away. You can contact us right now by email, using the form available on each Suboxone Center’s contact page. If you are contacting us after hours, your email will be received and responded to within 24 hours.

If you prefer to call, most of our offices are staffed from early in the morning until mid-afternoon. Hours may vary slightly by office, but you can get phone numbers and hours for an office near you via our Contact Us section.

Why use Suboxone for opiate addiction?

Buprenorphine hydrochloride, the active ingredient in Suboxone, works to reduce the strong cravings of addiction to opiates while also reducing the discomforts of withdrawal symptoms.

Am I just substituting one addiction for another?

Suboxone occupies the receptors in the brain that would otherwise be occupied by an addictive drug (such as heroin or prescription pain killers). However, when taking Suboxone as treatment for an opiate addiction, you will not get high. A person using Suboxone is able to function normally.

If you are addicted to an opiate, sudden discontinuation of the drug can cause serious withdrawal symptoms. Suboxone is used to make it easier to handle those withdrawal symptoms.

What is the right dosage of Suboxone?

The right dosage of Suboxone is one that allows you to feel and act normally while taking it.

Opiates can have either a stimulating or a sedating effect, especially in the beginning of treatment. We will work with you to determine the right dosage for you. Most likely, the doctor will start you with 4mg to 12mg and have you come in on a weekly basis (for a few weeks) to monitor your withdrawal symptoms and adjust dosage as needed.

How often do I have to visit the office?

All Suboxone patients are required to be seen by the doctor at a minimum of once a month.

How will I be treated at your Suboxone Centers?

We are here to help. Our staff will strive to help you feel at ease with the challenges you face. We are committed to treating you like a person, not a number. We are not here to judge what brought you to our door; we are just glad that you are here. We are here to support your desire to overcome addiction. Contact today to arrange a meeting or tour the addiction treatment facilities.

Is Suboxone the same thing as buprenorphine?

Yes. Buprenorphine is the main ingredient in Suboxone.

Subutex® (a sister drug to Suboxone) is pure buprenorphine. Suboxone also contains naloxone, a drug intended to deter people from abusing Suboxone or other opiates while they are undergoing treatment.

Does Suboxone have side effects?

The most often reported side effects are nausea, vomiting, and constipation in varying degrees.

Suboxone withdrawal symptoms, though less severe than withdrawal from addiction to opiates, are similar to those associated with all opiates: muscle aches and cramps, sweating, runny nose, diarrhea and stomach cramps, low fever and chills, irritability, and an inability to sleep or eat.

Can Suboxone be abused?

If a person is not addicted to opiates, he or she could get high by taking Suboxone. Suboxone does not have the same level of euphoric effects that other opiates provide, so it is not a drug that is commonly abused.

Suboxone contains naloxone, which prevents it from being abused by injection.

Is Suboxone a pain reliever?

No. Suboxone is only prescribed for the treatment of opiate addiction. If you suffer from chronic pain and are addicted to a pain killer (such as oxycodone, Percocet, or Vicodin), your pain will return as you detox off of your medication with Suboxone.

Which is the better opiate treatment: Suboxone or methadone?

It depends on the patient. Neither option is “better.” Your decision should be made with input from a professional, such as your own doctor or a doctor at one of our Suboxone Centers on this site.

For how long will I need to take Suboxone?

This is probably one of the most difficult questions to answer because each person’s treatment path is affected by many variables. This is a question you should discuss with the doctor; however, here are a couple of points to consider:

Studies show that those in long-term treatment have a lower relapse rate than those in short-term treatment.

If need be, it is possible to be successfully weaned off Suboxone within a matter of months. However (as noted in previous bullet) you may face higher risk of relapse.

Some people need maintenance therapy using relatively low doses of Suboxone indefinitely.

How much does Suboxone cost?

Again, this can be a difficult question to answer because each person’s treatment path is affected by many variables, so cost will vary depending on dosage. Here are some points to consider:

Treatment has two costs: doctor visits and prescriptions. At our Suboxone Centers, most insurance coverage will pay for your prescriptions but not the doctor visits.

Methadone is often very inexpensive for people who receive public assistance, which has made it a viable option for those with limited income.

At our Suboxone Centers, we do not escalate intake costs. We maintain consistent costs through the treatment. Some other facilities may charge much higher rates for your initial visit.

Those who take Suboxone while in an outpatient program or at home under the care of a doctor will need to have insurance or the means to pay for it.

Will my insurance cover the cost of treatment?

Not all insurance plans cover opiate addiction treatment. To see if your insurance covers treatment, call the 800-number on the back of your insurance card and speak to a representative. Please feel free to call us and we will work with you on payment options.

You may also want to inquire about any coverage guidelines, such as limits on doctor visits or how quickly you can begin treatment.

Our Suboxone Centers are not equiped to handle insurance reimbursement.

Residental FAQ

How much does the program cost?

We accept most private insurance and private pay. After the initial assessment, the level of care is determined and the treatment program is outlined. The charge to each individual is based on their specific program. We are contracted with several major insurance companies, allowing us to utilize their member’s in network benefits.

Are you a locked or unlocked facility?

We are an unlocked facility in a residential home environment. We transport our clients to numerous offsite activities (AA/NA meetings, parks and recreation, etc.)

Do you have nurses and MD’s?

We have 24 hour nursing coverage. Our Medical Director is Board Certified in Addiction Medicine and an Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner is available on site for any medical needs.

Do you have Medically assisted detoxification?

Our medications along with 24 nursing care which are based on the symptoms and usage of a client to stage them through a safe and comfortable detoxification.

How long are the programs?

Every individual that seeks treatment will receive an Individual Treatment Plan based on his or her needs. Treatment may be longer for some patients based on their clinical progress, and on recommendations from the therapist. Our treatment approach and structured environment, enables our clients to move forward to life without drugs or alcohol.

After completing individual treatment plan goals in our full-day treatment program, clients are encouraged to continue treatment at a less intensive level of care. We provide a day and evening intensive outpatient program to address the needs for those clients that remain in the region.

Do you have outpatient services?

We have a Day and Evening Intensive Outpatient for our clients that can be flexible based on the clients’ schedule. We also offer full day treatment and Partial Programs seven days per week. Families are strongly encouraged to attend our Family Program. Outpatient treatment provides support from our clinical team member while the client resides outside of our treatment facility. It also enables the client to test the waters while building their confidence to meet the challenges of day to day living.

What if the person has legal issues?

We will work with legal aid courts and probation officers to be sure our clients are in compliance with any current court orders or probationary requirements.

What about privacy and confidentiality?

We are in compliance with the Standards for Privacy of Individually Identifiable Health Information (“Privacy Rule”) that establishes a set of national standards for the protection of certain health information.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services established the Privacy Rule in order to implement the requirement of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (more familiarly known as HIPAA).

The Privacy Rule standards address the use and disclosure of an individual’s health information. A major goal of the Privacy Rule is to assure that an individual’s health information is properly protected, while allowing the flow of health information needed to provide and promote high quality health care. It also assures the protection of the public’s health and well being.

What does the treatment schedule look like?

The client participates in daily individual and group therapy with a licensed Therapist, along with meditation, recreational, and additional education and support groups. We provide a structured treatment environment for clients, but also time for meditation and relaxation. In addition, part of the treatment process is living in community. Each morning, clients will be expected to prepare for the day by showering, receiving medications, having breakfast and assisting with community chores. From there clients participate in morning meditation which can take place in the client’s room, outside in the recreation area or in one of the provided community spaces. The rest of the day will consist of both individual and group therapy sessions. These sessions include, but are not limited to the following: psychotherapy, music therapy, art therapy, cinema therapy, and a variety of educational groups. Time for rest and recreation are scheduled into the day usually in between meals. A basketball goal, corn hole, pool table, and exercise equipment is provided. In the evenings, Recovery Dynamics and or Self Help Groups are provided onsite or clients are transported to local meetings. The daily schedule ends with time for homework and reflection on what has been learned throughout the day.

In addition, family is encouraged to participate in the recovery process of their loved one. Educational groups and visitation are scheduled through the week and on weekends.