It’s a scary thought that the days of Waco or in Texas or any other state could be limited. Yet that’s exactly what has been threatened in the state of Maine recently. There are also threats to clinics in Maryland, where a county commissioner has proposed limiting just where methadone clinics can be located. The stigma associated with opiate treatment
Opiate treatment centers in Waco extend a helping hand to people struggling with addiction to hydrocodone, other pain pills, and even heroin. What would your life be like if you hadn’t found a way to get some help with your addiction?
Methadone clinics operate under strict guidelines. Clients report to the clinic each and every day to receive their medication dosage, and a nurse observes them take it. Take-home doses are not possible unless you’ve been attending the program for months, participating in counseling or group activities, and maintaining a good standing within the clinic. There aren’t many opiate treatment centers in Waco, but those in the area work well, providing well-documented services to clients from all socioeconomic levels.
What’s the Problem in Maine?
In Maine, however, the governor has a different perspective on opiate treatment centers . In fact, Governor Paul LePage’s focus is outright cockeyed. He is concerned that people are going to methadone clinics with the purpose of sneaking their medication out of the facility. He then believes that they sell it on the street and fund illegal heroin sales.
What’s the problem with this scenario? If you attend one of the opiate treatment centers in Waco for example, you can probably guess: Methadone in tablet form, the kind that is prescribed for cancer therapy or pain management, is showing up on the streets. Yet it’s methadone in liquid form that is dispensed in the clinics. The Maine governor is not doing his homework.
The governor’s threats are frightening to the many people who manage to put their lives back together after getting help at opiate treatment centers. The governor believes by withdrawing payment for treatment at methadone programs, he can force people to substitute Suboxone, or buprenorphine, in place of methadone.
However, many individuals addicted to opiates, especially those who have been taking long-acting opiates, do better on methadone. Many of the clients attending Waco opiate treatment centers are recovering from abuse of Zohydro, a newer, extended-release formulation of hydrocodone, for example. Buprenorphine is fine for some but not all clients.
Both Roy McKinney of the Maine Drug Enforcement Administration (MDEA) and Dr. Dan Coffey of Acadia hospital in Maine take issue with the governor’s proposal. McKinney agrees that the methadone pills found on the streets are not coming from opiate treatment centers. Coffey cites the difficulty in switching clients from one medication to the other. Neither one of them believes that withdrawing Medicaid support of methadone treatment will help patients.
If you’re attending one of the opiate treatment centers in Waco, you’re probably familiar with the complete scope of services that such a program provides. Group and individual counseling are rarely available in doctors’ offices, which is where the Maine governor wants to send people.
We are waiting to hear McKinney and Coffey speak out about the help that counseling provides. When you develop an opiate addiction, there are generally problems you need to work out in your life, and the counseling services can make the whole difference in treatment options. At an opiate treatment program, you’re working with a team of substance abuse treatment professionals that are pulling for you to succeed. If you’re going to a doctor’s office to pick up a buprenorphine prescription, you may be dealing with a staff member who just wants to get you in and out as fast as possible, without counseling and other treatment supports.
More Trouble, in Maryland…
Then we next turn our focus to the proposal by Derek Fink, a county councilman for Anne Arundel County in Maryland. Councilman Fink wants to ban methadone clinics within a thousand feet of homes, public parks, schools, or religious facilities.
County Executive Steve Shuh declared heroin to be a public emergency just weeks before Fink’s proposal. There are five clinics in Anne Arundel County, providing services for over 2,500 people, and there are waiting lists to be admitted. But “Not in my back yard,” (NIMBY) declared Fink, who prides himself on his alliance with conservative party politics.
It’s frightening, for the many people attending opiate treatment centers in Waco, San Antonio, Fort Worth, Dallas, or throughout Texas, to hear about methadone services shrinking instead of expanding. It’s only a few years since Texas Medicaid began paying for methadone treatment in opiate treatment centers, and a threat in other places could mean a future threat in states like Texas.
Guidelines for Opiate Treatment Centers in Waco
You cannot operate opiate treatment centers in Texas without following strict guidelines. One of the first requirements is adherence to an established code of ethics to safeguard the clients. The state requires programs to provide services and simultaneously protect the culture and identity of the individual. That means, in the opiate treatment centers in Waco, you’ll find staff dedicated to protecting your confidentiality and making you feel comfortable.
Such programs, according to Texas code under Chapter 448, must provide substance abuse treatment services over the long term. They must teach people the skills they need to recover from addiction and also be willing to address family issues. Councilman Fink wants to do away with methadone programs in his own backyard in Maryland, rather than help people seeking treatment become more productive members of their community.
Think of the many benefits offered by opiate treatment centers. You can breathe more easily now that you are living on the right side of the law. A doctor oversees your medication and you don’t have to worry about overdosing. If you have health concerns, you can easily be referred to a primary care clinic. You are able to function once again, going to work, going to school, and enjoying good times with your family. If you experienced dysfunction within your family, you can now talk to someone who will help you put it all back together so life makes sense once again.
That’s why it’s important to stay aware of news stories like the ones coming out of Maine and Maryland. Whether you attend one of the opiate treatment centers in Waco, anywhere in Texas, or elsewhere in the United States—possibly methadone clinics in Georgia or California—we all have a vested interest in keeping abreast of any threats to local clinics. That’s when it’s time to take your citizenship seriously and write to your local congressman.