Call for "Audit" of Methadone Maintenance Programs in PA
According to an article in the July 1 issue of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Pennsylvania lawmakers have called for an "audit" of methadone maintenance programs in the state to help them consider a half-dozen proposed laws to restrict the eligibility for, maximum duration of, and a host of other restrictions to be imposed in methadone treatment for opiate dependence. It is always appropriate for government to audit services for which taxpayers provide the funding, but the article reflects a fundamental misunderstanding when it states, “The review will examine . . . whether methadone is used as part of a treatment plan aimed at recovery or as a maintenance plan.”
The concepts and goals of “recovery” and “maintenance” are not mutually exclusive. By analogy: would one consider AA to be geared towards “recovery,” or simply “maintaining” an alcoholic’s dependence on meetings, mutual support, etc.?
Similarly, diabetics are “maintained” with insulin, but that does not mean they or their physicians reject “recovery” from the host of complications that diabetics can have. Like diabetes and alcoholism addiction is a disease that we cannot – as yet – “cure,” but can treat with great effectiveness; methadone maintenance is clearly recognized as the gold standard of the treatment options.