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Methadone Maintenance Treatment: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

You would think that after struggling for seven years trying to find help for my addicted son, Matt, that nothing would ever be able to rock me again.

How foolish I was to think that finding help would have gotten easier. We have all these new websites promising avenues for help.  We have additional detox facilities and some changes have been made in location of services. But sadly,  nothing has really changed.

People who want help are still being turned away. Either for lack of funds or wrong insurance. No insurance or insurance that won’t pay for in-patient treatment. Then there are those in-patient treatment facilities that charge thousands of dollars for a month of care. Making recovery an unaffordable luxury.

Now it’s because of Methadone Maintenance Treatment.  My new education in the broken system!

Now, both detox and rehab facilities have placed limits on the acceptable milligrams used in their acceptance policy.  So let’s get this straight. Clinics can prescribe massive doses of methadone with no end in sight. No weaning plan in place, just keeping the addict dependent on a different drug. 

 It seems that the same company prescribing the methadone could be the same company refusing to wean down to levels acceptable for entrance into detox and rehab. I have been told by many methadone patients that the clinics have never discussed a weaning protocol with them.  If they didn’t voice a concern with coming off methadone, it was never brought up by clinic staff.

So, how is this helping our loved ones?

Why do rehab and detox facilities put a cap on how much methadone a person must be taking in order to qualify for detox admission?  If they understood the way methadone works, then they would also understand that there is no such thing as too high a dose to wean off of in a safe medically supervised environment.

I realize that if monitored properly, methadone maintenance can save lives. Curbing the cravings that lead to heroin abuse.  Methadone is also a highly addictive mood altering narcotic. According to SAMHSA, It is harder to detox from than heroin and prescription opioids. 

 So why are we refusing to admit those for treatment who have been prescribed methadone to combat those cravings?  Why are we forcing the use of methadone instead of assisting with detoxing off of it?

Methadone should not replace heroin addiction. There should be a solid plan in place for reducing the dosage allowing a person to live a completely drug free life.  Being a client in a Methadone maintenance program should not be a deterrent to obtaining treatment.

The system never ceases to amaze me with the incompetency in how it is run. Addiction is a man made disease. Man continues to place insurmountable roadblocks in the way of saving lives.

There are days I just want to throw my hands up and scream!  So many of us have suffered devastating losses because of the mistreatment of the disease known as addiction. When will those who hold the power to make the necessary changes act? How many more lives do we have to lose before real changes are implemented?

When will beds be readily available with no restrictions or loopholes to jump through? When will a phone be answered with a yes instead of a no?

Until then I will continue to fight for the Matt’s of the world. I will continue to point fingers at who and what must change. I will use my anger over the loss of my son to fight this broken system. I will never stop until doors are opened and lives are saved.

I didn’t ask for this life. I asked for help for Matt.  He’s gone. I would give everything I own to go back to my old life. Taking care of critical babies and spending time with my son.  To not live with the life changing grief of losing a son to a disease that continues to suffer from mistreatment.  

Now my passion is fighting to change the system that helped kill my son. A system that values saving money over saving lives.  I owe Matt. It’s the least I can do. ?