Medical Maintenance: Next Step for Methadone Patients

A New York medical-maintenance program offers a way forward to individuals who were addicted to heroin and are ready to move on from methadone clinics, Capital News TV-9 in Albany, N.Y., reported May 10.

"Methadone treatment in the United States is hedged around so many extraordinary draconian regulations that it is really the equivalent of lifetime parole," said Regina Belser, who has been going to a methadone clinic for two decades. For people like Belser, who no longer need the rigid regulations of methadone maintenance clinics, New York offers a medical-maintenance program that provides methadone prescriptions via private, one-on-one consultations with a doctor.

Joseph LaCoppola of the Whitney M. Young Jr. Health Center in Albany, said patients who meet behavioral requirements and have made a four-year commitment to methadone maintenance are eligible for the program.

"It's office-based privacy. A prescription is written. You are no longer going to a dispensing window to be observed drinking your medication or take your medication home. All those policies and procedures, and regulations are waived," said LaCoppola.

The medical-maintenance program at the Whitney M. Young Jr. Health Center is one of the first in the nation to be offered through a community health center.


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