Frequently asked questions
Education and understanding can help the addicted person, their family, and the community around them to understand addiction and learn how to be part of the solution. Click on one of the FAQ selections below to see quick answers to commonly asked questions, or scroll down to get more information and access helpful resources.
What is methadone and how is it administered?
Methadone is widely prescribed in conjunction with individual and group counseling, case management and other supportive services to treat persons who are addicted to heroin, fentanyl, and prescription medications such as Oxycodone, Oxycontin, Hydrocodone, etc. First used in the 1960s for the treatment of opiate dependence, methadone is widely prescribed in the United States as part of a comprehensive treatment program.
We dispense methadone in a cherry flavored liquid form. Methadone hydrochloride is generally taken once a day and suppresses withdrawal symptoms for 24 to 48 hours. It should be noted that methadone is only effective in the treatment of addiction to opioid drugs, and it is not an effective treatment for other drugs of abuse such as marijuana, methamphetamine, cocaine, etc. Methadone reduces the cravings and blocks the high of opiate drugs, but it does not provide a euphoric rush or a “high” when taken in the dosages prescribed by our physician. Many patients on methadone report feeling “more normal” and are better able to focus on their families and jobs and living productive lives.
2. Is methadone safe?
When prescribed by a physician in the appropriate dosage, methadone is very safe, highly effective and has an excellent record of helping people overcome opiate addiction.
Methadone has been extensively researched over the past 60 years. It is, in fact, one of the most researched medications on the market. Our Medical Director is fond of saying that the amount of research published about methadone is truly encyclopedic. It is, in fact, an incredibly safe and effective medication when prescribed by competent medical authority. Despite the amount of research that has been conducted that proves the safety and efficacy of methadone, there are still many people—including medical professionals—who have not been adequately educated about the benefits of treatment with methadone.
3. How does methadone work?
Prescribing methadone is similar in medical practice to prescribing insulin treatment for persons with diabetes, or blood pressure medications to bring blood pressure into normal limits. In the simplest of terms, methadone reduces the cravings and other effects of opiate drugs. Persons on methadone consistently report that they do not experience the extreme highs and lows frequently associated with opiate use and, no longer suffer from the compulsive and disruptive behavioral tendencies associated with addiction. These positive changes in addiction physiology allow our patients to focus on restoring their lives, families, and futures.
Methadone is not a cure for opiate addiction. It is, however, an effective pharmacological tool that works by reducing or eliminating cravings for opiates, blocking the euphoric effects of other opiate drugs, suppressing the symptoms of opiate withdrawal, reducing illicit opiate use, and helping patients focus on establishing and maintaining a drug-free lifestyle. Methadone is most effective when prescribed by a competent medical practitioner as part of a comprehensive program that includes counseling, case management and other supportive services.
4. How are opioid treatment programs (methadone clinics) regulated and licensed?
Methadone clinics operating in Arkansas are some of the most highly regulated practices in the medical industry. Prior to seeing its first patient, operating permits and licenses must be obtained from:
State of Arkansas Department of Human Services [Division of Provider Services and Quality Assurance];
State of Arkansas Board of Pharmacy;
U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration/Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (SAMHSA/CSAT); and
U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. (DEA)
With the exception of SAMHSA/CSAT, the other agencies listed above conduct periodic audits and inspections of licensed programs. This helps guarantee that methadone programs are operating in accordance with “best and better” clinical and administrative standards of care and in compliance with all applicable regulatory requirements.
Additionally, all opioid treatment programs are required by the federal government to be nationally accredited by one of the national accrediting organizations recognized by SAMHSA/CSAT – just like hospitals and other medical facilities. The accreditation process is comprehensive and thorough and provides an additional assurance to patients and other stakeholders that the program is operating in conformance with a strict set of international standards established by the health care industry.
Our programs are nationally accredited by CARF International in Tucson, Arizona for three years – the longest accreditation award currently offered by CARF. We work diligently every day to maintain our national accreditation and, to comply with all regulatory requirements.
5. What is medication-assisted treatment?
Most traditional addiction treatment programs have focused on individual and group counseling, case management and self-help group attendance. Those programs have largely included a requirement that patients be abstinent during treatment. In fact, some “old school” treatment programs required patients to stop all medications as a condition for admission. Medication-assisted treatment refers to treatment programs that include a medication component to help patients achieve stabilization and in fact, require medication as a treatment component. Persons receiving medication-assisted treatment receive an FDA-approved and highly regulated medication that is specifically targeted to help with opioid addiction.
Our medication-assisted treatment program is carefully administered and monitored by our Medical Director and other advanced practitioners and counselors who are specially trained in working with people who are addicted. We find that medication-assisted treatment accelerates the stabilization process and provides more immediate relief from the physical withdrawal symptoms and cravings associated with opioid dependence
6. Why should I trust you with my treatment?
Treatment effectiveness is a function of many factors with the primary factor being the relationship that is built between provider and patient. The key element in the relationship is trust. A person must know that the provider cares for them as a human being before they will trust them with their care. Almost every organization has competent clinicians these days but not every treatment organization has clinicians who can truly relate to other people suffering from addiction. True compassion and empathy—combined with a commitment to world class customer service--are hallmarks of quality addiction treatment. A significant number of our employees have experienced the devastating results of addiction in their own families of origin. They have chosen to work in the addiction treatment field because of those experiences and, because they know firsthand that treatment represents the best hope for personal restoration, family reconciliation and recovery.
Another thing that sets us apart from other providers is our commitment to treating people the same way we want to be treated. We do not believe there is any place in treatment for harassment, ridicule, judgement, intentional embarrassment, or criticism. Seeking admission to treatment is a huge step and takes real courage. We try to acknowledge and reinforce that decision by treating every patient who walks through our doors with dignity, courtesy, respect, and professionalism at all times.
7. What will happen at my first appointment?
During your initial appointment, our staff will meet with you to ensure that you are eligible and appropriate for outpatient methadone treatment. If you meet our established eligibility requirements, you will be asked to complete a number of different forms to tell us about yourself, your substance abuse history, and your needs. We will be happy to help you complete those forms if you need assistance. You will also be asked to provide a urine sample and will meet with a member of staff who will take your blood pressure, temperature, respiration, and other vital signs. Finally, you will see our Medical Director or one or our physicians for a private interview and evaluation prior to receiving your first dose of medication.
If we determine that you are not appropriate for our program and services, we will refer you to another provider who can best serve your needs. We will gladly assist you with that referral at “no cost” to you.
At no time during the screening or admission process will we lecture, criticize, embarrass, or humiliate you. We will treat you in the same manner we would want to be treated – with dignity, respect, courtesy, and professionalism at all times.
From the moment you walk in our front door, everything you say to us is strictly confidential and is protected by federal and state confidentiality laws. With some limited exceptions allowed by law, we will never release any information about you without your prior, written consent.
8. What about my confidentiality?
Persons receiving substance abuse treatment services are protected by both federal and state confidentiality laws. With some limited exceptions allowed by law, the staff will not release any information about you or your treatment without your prior, written consent and, will not say or do anything that would confirm the identity of any person receiving services at the clinic. You may choose to involve family members or “significant others” in your treatment and authorize the staff to release information about your treatment to them. Confidentiality laws and regulations can be confusing, but we are happy to explain them to you as part of our “fully informed” approach to treatment.
9. Can I begin treatment if I am currently pregnant?
Each person who enters our program is carefully evaluated to ensure that they are right for the program. Being pregnant does not prevent a woman from being admitted to treatment. In fact, we give pregnant woman “admission priority” unless there are medical reasons that we cannot safely provide services to her.
Research has shown that methadone does not cause birth defects and may prevent a mother from using illicit drugs during her pregnancy. It is possible that your baby may experience withdrawal after birth; therefore, it is important to speak honestly with your primary care provider to coordinate care for yourself and your newborn. Your baby may experience some symptoms of withdrawal, but these can be safely treated with proper medical care. As part of the admission process, our staff will ask if you are pregnant; we routinely administer pregnancy tests to all women of childbearing age. We will also ask you to sign a release of information so our Medical Director can communicate with your primary care provider to coordinate your care.
10. Will I be screened for use of other drugs?
Yes. We routinely screen for other drugs of abuse during admission and at random times during treatment. This is a federal and state requirement. We send samples to San Diego Reference Laboratory in San Diego, California for testing and confirmation. It is important to remember that the results of your urine drug screens are completely confidential. We view test results as one of many clinical tools and do not use the result of lab tests or urine drug screens as the basis for discharging patients from our program. We fully expect patients to “test positive” for other drugs of abuse while in treatment. That is a characteristic of addiction and something that we routinely expect to see.
11. How long will I need to be in treatment?
There are many variables that determine the best course of clinical care. Suboxone treatment is highly individualized, and no one can accurately predict how long any person will need treatment. In some cases, patients may be able to benefit from treatment of short-term duration; in other cases, patients may need to be involved in suboxone treatment for relatively long periods of time. Under the direction of our Medical Director our staff works with each patient to develop treatment protocols based on individualized needs that represent the best opportunity for an optimal treatment outcome in the minimal amount of time.
12. How much does methadone treatment cost?
In our experience, many people who suffer from opioid addiction are often reluctant to seek treatment because they fear they cannot afford it. Finances should never be a barrier to getting help. As compared to the cost of an illicit drug “habit,” treatment is very cost effective.
We offer discounts for patients who choose to pay for treatment services in advance and, a significant discount to legally married couples who enter treatment together. If you have medical insurance and your policy includes reimbursement for out-of-pocket treatment expenses, we would be happy to provide you with a “super bill” and help you submit an industry-standard insurance reimbursement claim form to your insurance company. Please contact us for more information about our current fee schedule and charges.
13. Do you accept private insurance?
We do not accept private insurance directly but will gladly provide receipts for services to assist patients in seeking reimbursement directly from their private insurance carriers. Additionally, we will gladly complete the standardized insurance reimbursement form that most insurance companies now require. Our staff is experienced in working with insurance companies to help patients seek reimbursement for the costs of treatment.
14. Do you accept debit or credit cards?
We do not currently accept credit or debit cards and, do not extend credit for services rendered. Payment for services is required in advance.
Removing Financial Barriers
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