Methadone Moms: Are Parents on Methadone “Fit” To Keep their Children?
As one of the more touchy areas in addiction recovery, many drug-addicted mothers face an uphill battle whether they seek out needed treatment help or not. Methadone treatment, in particular, has been called into question in terms of the actual authenticity of this treatment approach.
While a woman’s fitness to keep her children should be plainly apparent in her day-to-day dealings, a mother receiving methadone treatment has the added burden of overcoming the stigma and controversy surrounding the methadone treatment approach. In spite of its designation as the standard of care for treating opiate addiction, a mother on methadone can just as easily be considered an addict because of how methadone works.
Call our toll-free helpline at 800-891-9360 to ask about methadone treatment program options.
The Stigma of Addiction
As one of the more heavily researched medical fields, addiction has been investigated from all angles in terms of its physical, psychological and environmental components. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, brain scan studies, behavioral studies and pharmaceutical treatments have all played a part in creating today’s addiction treatment landscape.
While addiction has been proven to be a chronic brain disorder, stigmas surrounding compulsive drug use still carry considerable weight within the social service and legal systems. Myths that attribute character flaws as the primary cause of addiction have made it difficult for people in recovery to overcome the “sins of their pasts,” even in cases where a person is actively engaged in the treatment process.
The Methadone Maintenance Treatment Approach
As the very first federally-approved opiate addiction treatment drug, methadone has been around for over 50 years. Questions as to methadone’s authenticity as a treatment stem from it’s classification as an opiate drug; the same drug classification as heroin, oxycodone and scads of other addictive opiates.
The effects of chronic opiate abuse leave the brain unable to function normally on its own. Severe drug cravings and withdrawal effects will continue to torment a recovering addict in the absence of needed treatment help.
According to the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration, methadone produces controlled effects that work to support damaged brain chemical processes and relieve uncomfortable cravings and withdrawal effects without producing a “high.” In the process, a person is able to carry out the affairs of daily life, such as hold down a job and care for a family.
Methadone Moms – Still Considered Addicts
While effective, methadone’s classification as an opiate drug has drawn considerable controversy. Opponents of methadone maintenance treatment view methadone as a mere substitute for drugs of abuse, such as heroin and fentanyl.
From this standpoint, people receiving methadone treatment aren’t really in treatment at all. Likewise, mothers receiving methadone treatment retain the “addict” label, making them unfit to care for or keep their children.
The Benefits of Methadone Maintenance Treatment
The truth of matter is, after a certain point, the damage left behind by chronic opiate addiction requires medical treatment. Methadone acts as a type of medication therapy specifically formulated to treat the damaging effects of chronic opiate addiction.
Punishing a mother for seeking out the level of treatment needed to overcome an addiction problem is comparable to punishing a diabetic for “shooting up” with insulin. Ultimately, a woman’s fitness to care for her kids should be determined by her actions, not her treatment needs.
If you’re struggling with an addiction problem and are considering methadone treatment, please don’t hesitate to call our helpline at 800-891-9360 to speak with one of our addiction counselors.