“Methadone treatment” is an oxymoron. These edifices for enabling masquerading as medical clinics are a JOKE. And by “joke,” I of course mean “bullshit,” ’cause since when is addiction treatment palliative? Treatment is rightly concerned with and directed toward recovery; i.e., a cure, and includes interventions to address comorbidity, triggers, coping mechanisms, barriers, etc. Maintaining one’s dependency should not be an option. It’s like sending a diabetic to a cookie clinic and being all, “What?! They’re SNACKWELLS!” Lol. Remember when everybody thought they could eat cookies all day because they were Snackwells? Christ, those were some terrible cookies! But they sold like mad, because people want to believe they can have their cookie and eat it, too. Same principle applies here.
Methadone is a (Schedule II narcotic) synthetic opiate that was invented as an alternative to the “high-test” surgical analgesics of the WWII era, and failed to live up to its hype. Considered inferior to morphine, et al., yet nevertheless…um…continuing to exist, it was marketed by Big Pharma as a substitute for heroin — and later — other opiates. Interestingly, it was (and sometimes is) also used, and used effectively, for the treatment of schizophrenia, although this practice waned with the introduction of second generational atypicals — largely because of the tolerance threshold. Eventually, one will require more. And more. And one will require it forever. But the reality of “forever meds” are well-known to the schizophrenic patient, as are the reality of atypical side-effects such as zombification — and all that that implies, except for maybe super speed, and eating people, and flinging yourself against a wall and/or other zombies in Israel in order to breach that wall and eat the prematurely celebratory citizenry — yet there are some, I’d wager, who’d find even that preferable to gynecomastia. But I digress.
Methadone produces a less-intense (heroin/morphine-like), but nevertheless sustained euphoria that outlasts heroin for hours and hours. It is absolutely, positively, and unquestionably addictive. Any user who takes it will have a monkey on their back that they cannot shake without hurting. A lot. And the clinics know this. And the regulatory agencies know this. They have to know this because I know this. And although I’m pretty smart, I have to reluctantly admit that this is not “top-secret” information. Nor am I the only person who knows how to read. All of this stuff I am righting right now doesn’t even require research! And I’m not doing any! As the Dothraki say, “It is known.” NEWSFLASH: If it has a “street value,” (and it does — around fifty cents per mg) it’s not something you want to be taking on the regular unless you’re damned-near dead. Methadone itself has a whole shit-ton of side effects, including but not limited to a false or unusual sense of well-being, anxiety, chest pain, cardiac toxicity, confusion, extreme fatigue, hives, weight changes, difficulty sleeping, difficulty urinating, difficulty breathing, decreased sex drive, impotence, or difficulty having an orgasm. You’ll never convince me that’s a fair trade. It is also worth noting that although Methadone “treatment” is marketed as the “gold standard” for pregnant women with addiction disorders (because quitting cold turkey might cause one to miscarry, and that would be tragic) Methadone is actually a Class C Pregnancy Drug, meaning that it “its risk to the unborn is not known.” *Cough* bullshit *Cough* The withdrawal symptoms suffered by the newly born are pretty well known — and of particular interest to Child Protective Services, who typically has a representative standing by for such deliveries. Finally, Methadone, taken improperly and/or with the wrong “chaser” can and will kill you. Moving on.
Hey, remember that time I said “And one will require it forever”? That is key. Chris Rock addressed this in some stand-up special when he said,
“Ain’t no money in the cure! The money’s in the medicine! That’s how a drug dealer makes his money — on the comeback!”
Methadone “maintenance” costs an average of $12 per day. Cash. Only. No insurance accepted. Can’t come up with the cash? Sorry! You’re out. There’s no “comprehensive” to these clinics, and there sure as hell isn’t any “contingency.” Don’t even get me started on their “counseling.” I called a local clinic to ask what would happen to a person who could no longer pay, and was told, and I quote, “I mean, they could probably get like a referral to counseling or something.” Okay…so if you’re lucky, and whether you are lucky is entirely subjective, you COULD get (like) a referral to someone or someplace, which you may or may not be able to afford, who will certainly NOT give you methadone. Which begs the question — if “counseling or something” will do the trick (and it can absolutely do the trick if one is determined) why not start there?
By the way, this particular clinic has had 48 violations in the last two years and is still fully operational, despite that their overseeing physician was arrested for child pornography. Their spokesperson’s response to media inquiry made reference to addiction treatment being “complicated and difficult...” I don’t remember how the rest of that response went, but I like to imagine that it was something to the effect of, “…I mean…who knew? Am I right?!” Because that’s how goddamned ridiculous the first part of the response was. Complicated and difficult, indeed.
Proponents argue that the cost of Methadone maintenance is far less the money addicts will spend, beg, borrow, steal, rob, kill, or prostitute themselves for to “maintain” their dependency illegally. By that logic, we might also assume that the installment of a methadone clinic near you will actually reduce crime. Ain’t nobody tryna rob nobody if their check will cover it! Speaking of disability, I read somewhere once that most of the “for profit” methadone clinics are in the areas where prescription drug-abuse is most widespread. But guess what? I’m not going to cite that source either, because — no! Plus, it’s too…perfectly absurd to be wrong. It is known.
I have known people who are serving twenty years for possession and those who are serving more or less than that for distributing. None of these people deserved to be imprisoned. NOT A ONE. If you can support your habit through your own efforts without committing a crime, and commit no crimes under the influence of your habit, you may have a problem, but you do not deserve to be imprisoned. If you cannot support your habit without depending on government subsidies for income, housing, food, etc., you definitely have at least one problem — and that is the inability to support your habit. In such cases, certain sanctions may need to be imposed to encourage you to reconsider/reprioritize your life choices, but imprisonment should not be one of them. It is known. To anyone with any sense.
Methadone clinics are to medicine what payday lenders are to banking; i.e., predators. The “Rent-A-Centers” of treatment, they are entrepreneurs capitalizing on the instability of the most vulnerable. They’ll give you what you want — or what you think you need. But there’s hell to pay, and you will be paying 5-ever.
At the heart of any addiction, state-supported or otherwise, is an overwhelming and pathological need to escape. To feel differently/better about one’s life and circumstances than one would feel without pharmacological enhancement. The key to recovery is not finding a more cost-effective or legal form of escape. The key is building a life from which you won’t want/need to escape. This is not the easiest thing — far from it. If it were easy, everyone would do it. But it is possible. It is known.