Monday, January 07, 2008

DWI LEADS TO ABRUPT DISCONTINUATION OF METHADONE TREATMENT

An article in The Olympian (Washington State) on 01 Jan stated that a woman with a 3-year old child in the car was cited for drunk driving while on her way to her methadone clinic. The clinic "told her she had to find someplace else for treatment soon." A social worker has been trying in vain to find an alternative provider and indicates that if she's not successful soon the woman will have to "go cold turkey."

Can one imagine any other medical care provider abruptly discontinuing treatment - especially treatment for a condition known to have a significant risk of death - because s/he was cited for drunk driving? Would a diabetes clinic tell a patient on insulin s/he had to find another provider or else simply do without insulin? Or a provider of care for cardiac disease or hypertension or prenatal care or . . .? Unthinkable, and if a provider for whatever reasons were to threaten to do that it would be deemed therapeutic abandonment and subject the physician in charge to possible revocation of medical licenses as well as God knows what civil actions. How incredibly ironic that this particular medical care provider, whose raison d'etre is caring for chemical dependence, should have such policies and practices!

An additional issue raised by the article: narcotic dependence is a medical condition with the most severe consequences for the individual and the community. For the former there is the risk of getting and spreading HIV, hepatitis and other illnesses, arrest and incarceration and loss of child custody, and death from overdose. For the community, there are enormous social and also financial costs. While to date no one has been able to make a credible claim for a cure for narcotic addiction, effective treatment exists - and no form of treatment is recognized as being as effective as methadone maintenance. So . . . shouldn't some voices be raised demanding the State explain what is being done to eliminate the irrationality and inhumanity of requiring those seeking help to languish on waiting lists? The social worker quoted in this article reports that waiting times routinely are 1-1.5 months. Indeed, someone should be demanding to know what consideration is being given to increasing capacity sufficiently to allow the state to take the initiative with public service announcements urging more narcotic dependent people to seek help.

6 Comments:

At 4:47 AM, Anonymous max pain said...

Since both parents often want to maximize their time spent with the child, child custody battles can sometimes erupt into a very heated battle. These battles can have a heavy physical, emotional and financial burden on both a parent and ...

 
At 12:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

is methadone helpful in the addiction of xanax?? I have been taking methadone for about 2 years, as well as xanax 2 mg. for about 10 years,and it doesn,t seem to help. I guess maybe because it's non-narcotic. Are there any suggestions to get off this med?? I've overdosed on Xanax 4 times. Sometimes it makes me blackout and I forget I have taken it, so I take another dose. I have gone down from taking 15 Xanax to 5 per day and for that I am proud of myself, but It still has a tremendous hold on me. Someone please help!! No Relief in sight. Thanks ALOT!!!!!!!!

 
At 1:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello, I am on a methadone mantinence program and nothing has helped me more. I now have my independence back, a better relationship with my family and belive or not money in my pocket. But the best thing I have gained is peace of mind knowing that I am not harming myself or others. Methadone works if you work it, just like the program. Alot of addicts like a quick fix from the problems, we want everything now but dont know how to get it. For everyone who is thinking about methadone give it a try it saved my life! Dont listen to all the myths about methadone just do it for yourself. I've been to jail, institutions and I only had one option left, witch was death, and I am not about to give this disease my life, after 11yrs of heroin addition it's my time to win, thanks to my methadone program!!!
Grateful to be alive,
Jodi in PIttsburgh

 
At 11:47 PM, Anonymous Ira Marion said...

Interestingly, Washington State has applied to be a Board member to the American Association for the Treatment of Opioid Dependence (AATOD). One requirement is to comply with a Canon of Ethics that precludes such practices. I will advise the Board delegate of this bizarre clinic practice and perhaps something can be done to help this patient, and other patients who are threatened by clinics.

However, the real issue is "power". No where else in medicine, or in other human services does such a power relationship exist between the patient and the provider. In most other situations, patients can simply seek out other medical providers when one acts inappropriately or no longer wishes to treat. In OTP,pProviders can make up all sorts of rules or hurdles that patients, dependent on this medication, must obey or jump through to continue to access this live saving medication. I believe that a thorough discussion of this power issue might raise the consciousness of those who hold it and help to mitigate these kinds of situations, where programs arbitrarily make decisions that cast lives into chaos - in this case a woman with a child who will be cruelly discharged from medical treatment, possibly without even tapering her from the medication.

 
At 7:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Methadone has also saved my life and also given me a good life that i use to spend time with my nephew and neices istead of chasing heroin 24/7, because it is a full time job, MMT however is not full time and allows for an actual life. God help the naysayers understand the stigmas that have followed us in treatment around are unfounded and totally wrong. But I have never jumped thru more hoops than at the Meth clinic and I don't see a stop to it, they know they have the kind of control they have over their patients and they will abuse it until the state stops them which will never happen. until then we jump thru the hoops to stay off the streets chasing dope and stealing your car stereos (or alot worse) for the simple reason that we get NO respect from the clinics, counselers, or whoever else may be involved. To them we'll 4ever be just dirty junkies. No matter how much money your making or college degrees you hold, if your on methadone your a peice of sht, period. I pray that in the future, im guessing distant future, people will be more open minded.

 
At 9:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My life has been saved and turned around because of the methadone treatment I am receiving. Everyone who knows me will tell you how this treatment has saved me from a spiral down to hell. Recently I was pulled over and pleaded guilty to driving while impaired. I had taken a half of a xannax right before I left my job to go home. I did not have a prescription for it. I thought I had enough time to get home before it started to work. It was a bad decision. I had been suffering panic attacks because of stress from loosing two loved ones. One on Thanksgiving and the other Christmas eve. I do not take xannax regularly. I did not hurt anyone or myself. It was my very first offense. Now I am trying to pay my dues and get my license back here in the great state of New York. I am being told that in order to do that I must now enroll in a drug treatment program which requires me to get off my methadone program. I am so afraid. I don't understand how this can happen. I did not plead guilty to being on methadone. It is perfectly legal and I have a valid prescription. I don't want to be sucked down the drain! This has got to be addressed!

 

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