Hartford Dispensary

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Medication Assisted Treatment

Why is medication assisted treatment with methadone "MMT" the preferred treatment for opiod dependence?

A small percentage of persons who use opiods - heroin and synthetic opioids used for pain management such as oxycotion - become addicted. Medical research on the treatment of opioid addiction over the past 30 years confirms the effectivenesss of methadone for those persons. An off-quoted study of 150,000 patients in California found that MMT was the lowest-cost, most effective treatment modality of opioid addiction. Programs offering only opioid detoxiofication showed no long term benefits.

Isn't methadone just the substitution of one harmful drug for another?

Current science continues to confirm that chronic opioid addiction is a brain disorder. Methadone is an effective medication for treating this disorder. Like other chronic diseases, such as diabetes, medication is required to be taken indefinitly.

What is the primary benefit of methadone treatment?

A person with chronic opioid addiction can carry on a normal life with the proper dose of methadone as it does not make a person "high" or "drowsy". In one NIDA study it was reported that among MMT participants illegal activity declined by 52% and full time employment increased by 24%. People can recover from opioid addiction.

What are the other benefits of methadone treatment?

Once cravings are controlled, daily drug seeking behavior and criminal behavior related to drug seeking behavior can be reduced and then eliminated.

Methadone is both low cost and effective and can be taken daily by mouth, without the use of a needle.

Methadone's gradual long lasting effects can eliminate drug hunger or craving.

The euphoria blocking effects of methadone make taking illicit opioids undesirable.

Methadone is generally safe and non-toxic with minimal side effects when taken under proper medical supervision.

Isn't methadone a dangerous narcotic that is responsible for many deaths?

Methadone prescribed in MMT clinics has not been found to be the cause of increases in opioid related deaths. By 2002, the prevalence of opioid analgesic medication abuse - pain killers such as oxycotin, had surpassed illicit drug use. A SAMHSA expert panel concluded that opioid analgesics in general, when combined with other drugs and alcohol were the major source of opioid deaths.

From a research perspecticve, how effective has methadone been in reducing illicit opioid use?

Reductions in illicit opioid use of 80% or more are reported after several months, with greatest reductions for patients who remain in treatment for more than a year. Ten years of Hartford Dispensary data has consistently shown an over 84% reduction in opioid use for patients in treatment over two years.