Frequently Asked Questions
What will happen during my first appointment at the clinic?During your initial appointment, our staff will meet with you and ensure that you are eligible and appropriate for outpatient methadone treatment. If you meet our established eligibility requirements, you will be asked to complete a number of different forms to tell us about yourself, your substance abuse history, and your needs. We will be happy to help you complete those forms if you need assistance. You will also be asked to provide a urine sample and will meet with a member of our nursing staff for medical evaluation including blood pressure, temperature, respiration and vital signs. Finally, you will meet privately with our Medical Director/Physician for an interview and evaluation prior to receiving your first dose of methadone.
If we determine that you are not appropriate for our program and services, we will refer you to another provider who can best serve your needs. We will gladly assist you with that referral.
We normally administer the first dose of methadone as a "split dose," i.e., we will give you half of your prescribed dose amount and then ask you to remain at the clinic for observation by our medical staff until we determine that you have not had any adverse reaction to the medication. Once we know that you are not experiencing any problems with your methadone, we will give the second half of your dose to you. We normally bring new patients into our program on Monday and Tuesday of each week. This allows time to adjust to your methadone dose before the weekend when you will receive a take-home dose for Sunday (when the clinic is closed).
At no time during the screening or admission process will we lecture, criticize, embarrass or humiliate you. We will treat you in the same manner we would like to be treated - with dignity, respect, courtesy and professionalism at all times.
How are Methadone Clinics Regulated and Licensed?Methadone clinics operating in Arkansas are some of the most highly regulated practices in the medical industry. Prior to seeing its first patient, operating permits and licenses must be obtained from:
- State of Arkansas Office of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention (OADAP)
- State of Arkansas Board of Pharmacy
- U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration/Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (SAMHSA/CSAT) and
- U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
With the exception of SAMHSA/CSAT, the other agencies listed above conduct periodic audits and inspections of licensed programs. This helps guarantee that methadone programs are operating in accordance with "best and better" clinical and administrative standards of care at all times and are operating compliance with all regulatory requirements.
Additionally, all methadone treatment programs are required by the federal government to be nationally accredited by one of three private accrediting bodies - just like hospitals and other medical facilities.
The accreditation process is comprehensive and thorough, and provides an additional measure of assurance to patients and their family members that the clinic is operating in strict conformance with a set of standards established by the industry.
What Is Methadone?Methadone is generally taken once a day and suppresses withdrawal symptoms for 24 to 48 hours. It should be noted that methadone is only effective in the treatment of addiction to opioid drugs, and it is not an effective treatment for other drugs of abuse such as marijuana, methamphetamine, cocaine, etc. Methadone reduces the cravings and blocks the high of opiate drugs, but it does not provide the euphoric rush. Many patients on methadone report feeling "more normal" and are better able to focus on their families and jobs and living productive lives.
Methadone is a long-acting medication that is prescribed in conjunction with individual and group counseling and other support services to treat persons who are addicted to heroin and prescription medications such as Oxycodone, Oxycontin, Hydrocodone, etc. First used in the 1960s for treatment of opiate dependence, methadone is widely prescribed in the United States as part of a comprehensive treatment. Arkansas Treatment Services, PA dispenses methadone in a pleasant-tasting liquid form.
Is Methadone Safe?When prescribed by a physician in the appropriate amounts, methadone is very safe, highly effective and has an excellent record of helping people overcome opiate addiction. Methadone has been well researched and treatment programs such as Arkansas Treatment Services, PA are strictly regulated by the State of Arkansas and the federal government. Treatment programs are also required to be nationally accredited by one of three accrediting bodies approved by the federal government.
How Does Methadone work?Prescribing methadone is similar in medical practice to prescribing insulin treatment for persons with diabetes, or blood pressure medications to bring blood pressure into normal limits. Opiate drugs release dopamine and diminish the production of endorphins, the body's natural painkiller. The dopamine release results in subsequent cravings as the body literally "cries out" for an opiate to continuously occupy the opioid receptor in the brain. In the simplest of terms, methadone occupies the opiate receptor site and reduces the cravings and other effects of opiate drugs. Persons on methadone consistently report that they do not experience the extreme highs and lows frequently associated with opiate use and no longer suffer from the compulsive and disruptive behavioral tendencies associated with addiction. These positive changes in addiction physiology allow our patients to initiate the treatment, recovery, and restoration process.
Methadone is not a cure for opiate addiction. It is, however, an effective pharmacological tool that works by reducing or eliminating "cravings" for opiates, blocking the euphoric effects of other opiate drugs, suppressing the symptoms of opiate withdrawal, reducing illicit opiate use, and helping patients focus on establishing and maintaining a drug-free lifestyle. Methadone is most effective when prescribed by a competent medical authority as part of a comprehensive program of counseling and other support services.