Swim's methadone clinic has recently implemented some changes, and she's been doing some reading on the issues. She is one who believes that addiction and dependence are to be most effectively treated as social and medical issues and approached via harm reduction, and that professionals in treatment facilities such as methadone clinics should be able to have some flexibility to make individualized determinations (within reasonable guidelines). This new legislation in Indiana, sadly, seems to be a step back for harm reduction and making treatment accessible and reasonable..
And the comments that the law "didn't go far enough" ??? Addicts should (obviously) be treated as human beings, and receiving a medication like methadone should be be treated as such- it is a prescription drug. One comment included states that if patients cannot leave the hospital after taking a medication, why should clinics let patients leave? They implied that this was a public health and safety issue. As if the addicts are a threat to society once they have ingested their methadone. And that kids shouldn't be exposed to that. Well, kids see their parents drink alcohol, or ingest food, or take prescription or over the counter meds. They are usually taught themselves to drink their cough syrup or take their antibiotics when ill as a child. Why couldn't they be with their parent when that parent drank a cup of medication? And in fact, if you want to encourage responsible parenting and treating substance abuse and dependence within the context of "protecting the kids," then best to facilitate that logically. If kids are banned in the clinics, do you want parents to leave them home alone? Or do you want this to become a barrier to treatment for individuals with children? As for the limit on take-home doses- every extra day you make that patient come to the clinic is a day they have to wake their kids up early, get them all ready, and haul them off to the clinic ("exposing" them far more often, which is apparently a problem in these folks' eyes. So either way, once a patient is stabilized, treat them like an adult, and minimize the intrusion upon their family and their life.
The new law minimized the take-home dosing period, from the usual 30 days (which takes over a year to attain anyways I believe) to 14 days, or two weeks. In fact, the gent quoted in the article said he thought three (3!) days should be the maximum- meaning patients, no matter how long they'd been sober or how functional they are, should need to come to the methadone clinic every three-four days. And the required testing for THC- if someone is smoking pot and able to stay off heroin, why penalize them? Most clinics test for pot anyways; it's standard in the "NIDA five." And most do penalize you for it to some extent- they won't allow you take-homes if you smoke, but they often won't kick you out completely- but with the feds stepping it up, they may not have any choice at some point. Why take it as far as to specify this requirement?
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