Optional Components in a Methadone Maintenance Program

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, a methadone maintenance program when combined with counseling is one of the most effective ways to treat opiate addiction. Every maintenance program is different and tailored to an individual’s needs. It is because of this that there are optional components to the program. Although a complete program works best, it might not be the best for each person.

Doctors, clinicians, and counselors present the optional choices allowing the patient to play more of a part in their treatment. The optional components allow an addict to be in control of at least some aspects of their treatment. This control is empowering to recovering addicts. Some typical optional components are counseling, training, and sober living or transitional houses. There are also optional group based programs that fit specific groups or populations of patients.

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Career and vocational counseling is one method that could be offered in methadone clinics.

Counseling is included in almost all methadone treatment programs at the beginning. Many programs allow a patient to choose to continue the counseling well after it is typically included. Since the counseling is no longer mandatory, the patient’s can choose what type of therapy and counseling they wish to engage in. There are different types of counseling available. These types include:

  • family counseling,
  • group counseling,
  • individual counseling,
  • drug specific counseling, and
  • emergency therapy.

Each type counseling is available to most addicts since it is a vital part of the treatment program. Certified therapists, psychologists, and counselors conduct these counseling sessions. Many sources agree that methadone treatment is more effective when combined with the different forms of counseling and therapy. It is even more effective when combined with counseling and different forms training.

Training and Education

Training or education is another optional part of methadone treatment. It is vital for the patient to have a purpose while in recovery, getting a job or furthering their education provides that purpose. There are many training programs available for people on methadone or in a treatment program. These opportunities include:

  • job coaching,
  • life skills training,
  • education opportunities like GED programs and introductory college courses,
  • job training such as culinary arts, management, administration, and secretarial, and
  • resume and job skills training.

These training programs are offered free of charge by local educational institutions, government grants, and onsite in clinics or inpatient facilities. It is important for a person recovering from drug addiction to have at least some employment skills and education. This improves self-esteem and the outlook for the patient. The patient’s recovery rate and chances improve when training and job coaching is available before they return to normal living.

Sober Living Residence

Sober living or transitional housing provides a clean, drug free environment while a patient is on Methadone maintenance. Since they are less likely to encounter drugs, dealers, or their triggers in a new clean environment, they are less likely to relapse into drug use.

Many sober residences also offer job assistance, housing assistance, and counseling for their residents. These services are easier to access if conducted onsite in a transitional residence. More patients take advantage of these services when they are offered in a location they do not have to travel to and from.

Patients also do better when they are among other recovering addicts. They can mentor each other and share stories, which leaves them feeling less alone in their recovery. Sober living arraignments also offer a more structured environment than returning to a home without rules and regulations.

Group Based Needs

Not all addicts are the same but some addictions occur in specific groups. These populations require more optional components in a maintenance program. Some of these groups are:

  • Pregnant women – some optional components for this group are prenatal care, Lamaze classes, family counseling with their partner, financial programs for budgeting, and help with late stage pregnancy and birth.
  • Women – some optional components for women are counseling that addresses women’s issues, domestic violence counseling and help, gender specific treatment options, and childcare.
  • Youth services – some optional components for the young and teenagers are preventative counseling, school programs that cater to the needs of recovering addicts, flexible dosing schedules, advocacy, and access to markets and services that only adults can normally access.
  • Addicts living with HIV – some of the optional components available cater to HIV positive clients. These components include access to HIV related medication and doctors, testing including white cell counts, risk assessment, family training, and job advocacy.
  • People with mental health issues – these optional components provide assistance with mental health related issues, advocacy, medication management, and condition specific counseling.
  • The homeless – some of the optional components for the homeless are onsite dosages for those who cannot take medication with them, access to food, clothing, and shelter, education, help with housing, and employment services.
  • People in remote areas – the optional components available for people who live in rural areas mirror the area where they are. Some of these include relationship and support network building, access to transportation to and from the facility, and flexibility in program times and counseling.

What Optional Components in a Treatment Program Do for Addicts

According to the National Library of Medicine’s “Know Your Rights” Brochure, anyone who uses an opioid treatment program involving methadone has the right to counseling, training, education, references to transitional facilities, and other group based opportunities and treatments. These optional services are part of an overall methadone treatment program. Many doctors and clinicians see these optional services as vital to recovery and re-entry into society. Counseling helps the patient deal with the addiction and their behaviors. Education improves their opportunities in society and sober living or transitional residences give the patient a drug free place to live while they adjust.

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