Are you traveling out of the area so that you’ll miss your regular medication doses at your program for methadone treatment in Fresno? Or are you about to visit the area and you’ve got to find a place for methadone treatment in Fresno where you can guest dose? Either way, here’s everything you need to know about methadone guest dosing.
Methadone guest dosing falls under guidelines established by the federal government’s Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), but despite most people’s dislike of government red tape the process doesn’t have to give you a headache.
Whether you are going away from your program for methadone treatment in Fresno or coming in to Fresno needing to guest dose, it really is an easy process. Some of the restrictions may be annoying and inconvenient but just remember your program for methadone treatment in Fresno is following the rules established by the government agency that monitors them. They have to account for every single dose—whether the methadone is spilled, stolen, destroyed, or dispensed to someone who’s visiting from out of town.
When your counselor and doctor agree that you are eligible for guest dosing, there’s a good bit of paperwork that transfers back and forth between your home clinic and the place where you’ll be a guest. But before you are judged to be eligible for methadone guest dosing, you need to determine whether or not your clinic will recommend take-home or exception doses.
Take-Homes Count Before Methadone Guest Dosing
Earning take-home doses allows you a break in your daily attendance at your program for methadone treatment in Fresno. Those breaks will count if you need to go out of town. SAMHSA wants people to stay in their regular methadone treatment programs whenever possible. Continuity of care is important to your progress in treatment. That level of comfort you feel with the people you already know really counts for something.
In order to ensure this continuity of care, your first step is to determine whether you have a good reason to be away from your regular clinic. Obviously an out-of-town trip for a job interview rates as highly important, as does a parent scheduled for surgery. If you just want to go out of town for your high school’s tenth reunion or even for a vacation, they may question how important that is. The answer, of course, depends on your progress in the program. SAMHSA requires each methadone treatment program to determine if you are eligible for take-home doses. For many years, the same 8 criteria have applied. Your counselor and your doctor will discuss your success, or lack of it, in these areas:
- You are not abusing either opioid or non-narcotic drugs, including alcohol.
- You attend your program for methadone treatment in Fresno—or wherever your home program is—on a regularly basis.
- You have not demonstrated any behavioral issues while at the clinic or while meeting with the counselor.
- You have not been arrested, and nobody suspects you of dealing drugs or other illegal drug-related activities.
- You demonstrate that your home environment and your social relationships are stabilized.
- You have been in comprehensive maintenance treatment for the minimum time—and your program’s rule book will tell you the length of time.
- You have participated in a discussion about medication safe-keeping with your doctor, and your counselor agrees that you are capable of keeping any take-home medication safe.
- The reason for missing your daily appointments at the center for methadone treatment in Fresno outweighs the risks of missing.
Even if you meet the 8 criteria above, the clinic where you attend may restrict your access to take-home doses. Most programs for methadone treatment in Fresno require a minimum of 90 days’ participation in the program. If you’ve met that requirement, then SAMHSA allows you to have one take-home dose. If you’ve been in treatment beyond 91 days, you could qualify for two take-home doses. It’s up to your counselor and doctor whether you can get take-home doses, exception doses, or if you have to go for methadone guest dosing.
Exception Doses For Methadone Treatment in Fresno
If you are not eligible for take-home doses but you still satisfy the people in charge of your methadone treatment in Fresno, they can also approve you for exception doses. That means they make a one-time exception to give you the extra doses that you need so that you don’t have to go through methadone guest dosing. The methadone program must carefully consider whether you fit the criteria for exception doses, because SAMHSA requires them to fill out a form just for that purpose. You can combine your days approved for take-home doses with any approved exception doses for your time away from your local program.
Methadone Guest Dosing
In some cases, however, you will not be approved for take-home or exception doses. That’s when methadone guest dosing comes into play. Here’s how it works:
Your local center for methadone treatment in Fresno must be satisfied that you are in no emotional distress and you are not having any medical issues. The same applies if you live out of town and you are visiting Fresno for guest dosing. Your current dose should be stabilized, so if you’ve just had a dose increase you may not be eligible for methadone guest dosing elsewhere.
Then, you must sign an authorization to exchange information with the guest clinic at your destination location. You have to list all of your current medications. The clinic has to sign off on its approval for the methadone guest dosing. There will have to be written verification of your last dose at your center for methadone treatment in Fresno and the date that you need your first dose at the clinic where you’ll be a guest. Your doctor has to sign a written order for you to guest-dose, and the guest clinic must receive it in advance so that they are prepared for you.
You or your counselor will find out the name of a contact person at the other clinic involved with your methadone guest dosing. The guest-dosing clinic does not know you and will not accept your check, so be prepared to pay by cash or money order. You’ll also need to know the schedule for methadone guest dosing, because they may not want to do it during regular clinic hours. You can’t just show up there without a plan in place. You’ll also need to take your state-issued photo I.D., because you’ll be going to a place where they won’t know your face.
The Clinic Will Welcome You
All of that being said, as long as the I’s are dotted and the T’s are crossed, the staff at the guest clinic will welcome you. They want to ensure their own patients receive good care when they have to go out of town and guest-dose, and they will want to offer the same courteous treatment for you. Remember that you have to follow their rules, and you need to have your documentation in place, your fees arranged, and your identification in hand. Show up at the methadone guest dosing clinic looking presentable so that they don’t question your home clinic’s decision to send you, because they can refuse you if there is any question that you don’t meet the 8 rules described above.
Also, if you are going out of town for 30 days or more, you will simply become a traditional patient at that methadone guest dosing location. It’s a good idea, whether you’re going for a couple days, a couple weeks, or for a month, to participate in any group or individual counseling that they offer you, because any interruption in your regular routine puts you at risk for relapse. However, walk in the door of that clinic with a smile on your face—and they will smile back at you.