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Methadone proven to be effective treatment option for opioid abuse

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Little Rock, Arkansas – Between a 12-step program, therapy, or even medicine, there are several ways one may consider getting treatment for opioid abuse.

One method, many doctors are recommending is Methadone. “At an appropriate dose, it goes into the brain and occupies the receptors, so the patient doesn’t experience withdrawal or cravings for opioids, and then allows them to avoid using non-prescribed opioids such as heroin, morphine, and of course nowadays fentanyl,” said Dr. Michael Mancino, the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences program director for addiction services and treatment.

But, that’s where the controversy comes in. “That is certainly a perception that people have is that we’re substituting one drug for another. The problem is, the typical ways that people recover from substance use disorder involve things like therapy, 12-step programs, etc., and those have proven not to be that effective for the vast majority of people,” said Mancino. “So a lot of people find about a 10 percent recovery rate with traditional methods of treatment versus almost a 50 percent recovery rate for people using treatment with medication like Methadone.”

According to doctors, methadone can prevent a person from overdosing, which is the main reason we are in this epidemic.

It’s also proven to be one of the most effective treatment options. “Part of the reason for that is we’re able to keep people in treatment longer than we’re able to keep people in treatment using some alternative method, such as long-acting injectable naltrexone or a very popular medication now which people are familiar with called Suboxone,” said Mancino. “The difference is that Methadone has to be prescribed through an opioid treatment program and there are only six of those in the entire state of Arkansas.”

Of those half-a-dozen centers, UAMS in central Arkansas is the only one receiving federal block grant funding, allowing them to offer discount treatment to patients.

If you’re interested in methadone treatment, contact a physician to see if it’s a viable option for you.

 

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