Methadone treatment client praises Island program

To the Expositor:

Methadone saves lives! It saved mine and thousands of others on methadone maintenance treatment (MMT) around the world. Many people stay on methadone long term for many reasons. They just don’t want to take the chance of relapsing back into active addiction. My methadone is prescribed by Dr. Brian Dressler who is one of the most caring and compassionate doctors around. To read his good name slandered (in my opinion) by someone who knows very little with regards to MMTs is infuriating.

The people in Chief Hare’s community should educate themselves on methadone maintenance as they are being given misinformation. There is an abundance of info on the net, just Google methadone or read the standards and clinical guidelines at www.cpso.ca. Also on www.methadone.org you’ll find the National Alliance for Medication Assisted Recovery.

Methadone gives an addict a way out of the drug scene. It stops cravings and allows one to step away from their addicted lifestyle to pursue other interest like school or work or whatever it takes to leave the old life behind. Methadone is one of the most regulated drugs around. Being on methadone is akin to a diabetic being on insulin in that it replaces chemicals that have changed or are lacking in your system.

A stable patient does not get a high from methadone. Until the dose is stabilized, which could take months, a patient may feel the effects of methadone like nodding off or feeling sleepy.

An intricate part of the program is methadone carries or take homes. Carries are not simply given to patients when they start the program. They must show clean, drug free urine samples twice per week for at least two months before they are considered for home carries. Stay drug free and you are awarded up to six carries per week. Carries enable a stable patient to live a somewhat normal life.

It is very difficult to go to work or school while going to the drug store every day and to the doctor’s office twice a week for urine samples. If one of those samples show drug use you loose those coveted carries for a month or more. If more drugs are found in urine you could loose those carries indefinitely. From time to time people have tried to smuggle clean urine into the clinic to avoid detection. That is why when starting the program you must go through the indignity of urinating in front of an attendant or a camera—very difficult to do for some people.

To receive carries from the drug store you must purchase a lock box to secure the methadone before leaving the drug store. You must stand at the drug store counter and drink your dose in front of the pharmacist and take six carries home.

Sometimes it’s difficult to find a new family doctor that will take on a methadone patient. They tend to think you may be a drug seeker. The sad thing is that the stable methadone patient is usually very compliant in not looking for drugs or their carries will be in jeopardy.

Methadone is not a cure. It doesn’t answer all the questions. It is dangerous to anyone but the patient it is prescribed too. Horrible things can happen with methadone or any opiate. A young girl drank a methadone laced Sunny D that she found in the fridge. There was a Coroner’s Inquest and as a result, patients must sign a contract that states that the methadone is kept in a locked box in the fridge.

Just like every other drug you carry home from your doctor, all of them can be dangerous, even aspirin causes deaths every year. It is up to the individual to deal with them safely and responsibly. There are no guarantees. Some people live on the edge and play dangerous games with their lives. It’s not up to me to police them and it’s not up to Dr. Dressler either.

Respectfully,

Wayne Alton

Evansville