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Methadone Maintenance Therapy: Do You Have to Tell?

You are not alone if you hesitate about getting methadone maintenance therapy. You don’t worry whether it will work, because you’ve heard many positive stories about it. But you can’t help wondering what the people you care about will think.

Consider your options: If you don’t take this step into treatment, you know you’ll keep stealing from family and friends in order to pay for your habit. You won’t be able to keep or find employment, you will live in legal limbo never knowing if you’ll be arrested, and you’ll keep putting your health at constant risk. On the other hand, if you go into methadone maintenance therapy, you can make great strides in getting your life back in order.

But here’s the dilemma: You already know that many people in traditional 12-step groups speak out against the use of methadone to treat addiction. They say that you are being weak, and just using one drug so you can stop another—remaining an addict. What words can you say that will convince your family and friends that methadone maintenance therapy represents a valid treatment option that will work well for you?

Keeping Quiet About methadone maintenance Therapy

You actually don’t have to tell anybody anything about your decision. You can choose to keep your decision to yourself. People go to doctors or even psychiatrists all the time without putting it out on the grapevine. As an adult, it’s your decision to make.

These are the facts, however, that your family will want to hear, should you decide to tell them:

  • The methadone maintenance therapy program that you’ve chosen has been evaluated and approved, or accredited, by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) and licensed by your state’s drug addiction services board. The counselors who work there are licensed by the state and they have achieved certification for their ability to treat substance use disorders.
  • All patients at the clinic undergo a formal assessment procedure. They have proven their identity using a state-issued photo I.D. card. It’s good to remember that the first time you contact the clinic to ask about methadone maintenance therapy, you can give them any made-up name you like, but when you begin treatment you have to prove who you are.
  • Before they begin treating you, the program staff will verify the extent of your drug use, as much as possible. They will ask you questions about any other drugs you might be using besides opiates. They will look at your records for past arrests and treatment, and they will evaluate your current health.
  •  Because most opiate abusers feel plagued by some kind of emotional baggage, the counselor assigned to your specific case will talk to you about mental health or emotional disorders. He or she can help you deal with issues that bother you and learn how to improve communications with your loved ones.
  • The program nurse and doctor review methadone doses very carefully. You receive only enough medication to control your cravings but not enough to make you feel high. It takes a small amount of time to adjust your dose so that it meets your own needs.
  • Many people abusing opiates who failed at abstinence rehabilitation such as outpatient counseling or even residential treatment will find success in a methadone maintenance therapy.
Privacy Is a Promise

Don’t pass up the benefits of methadone maintenance therapy simply because you can’t stop worrying about what people will say. Your confidentiality and your privacy will remain protected when you go into treatment. If you decide not to tell anybody, the people who supervise your therapy will respect that. It’s your choice.

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