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Opiate Maintenance: Open Season on Methadone Clinics and Clients in the Indiana Legislature

Indiana's methadone clinics and their clients are the target of close scrutiny by the state House of Representatives. Last month, the state Senate passed a bill, SB 174, that would tighten state regulation of the clinics, where people attempting to wean themselves from dependence on opiates are administered or allowed to take home doses of methadone as a substitute opioid.

The Senate bill may represent reasonable regulation of an industry in which some 10,000 people participate in Indiana, but it's a different story in the House. While the bill as passed in the Senate restricted itself to requiring clinics to adhere to state and federal law, register with the state, and meet certain record-keeping requirements, the House is trying to micro-manage not so much the clinics, but their clients.

On Tuesday, the House Health Committee unanimously passed SB 157, but not before approving amendments requiring that patients be tested for marijuana and that they have a designated driver after appointments. The committee narrowly defeated another amendment that would have barred patients from bringing their children with them to the clinics.

According to remarks reported in the Louisville Courier-Journal, the sponsor of the designated driver provision, Rep. Steve Stemler (D-Jeffersonville), said he added it because the FDA considers methadone in the same class of drugs as heroin, Oxycontin, and other opioids. Hospitals and medical centers require patients taking these medicines after outpatient surgeries and other procedures have a designated driver.

One witness, John Dattilo, who lives near the Southern Indiana Treatment Center, told the committee he is concerned about the safety of his family as they travel down a road with hundreds of methadone patients each day. "It's all about safety to me," he said. "We need help. We do need to put some restrictions on this."

But Tim Bohman, regional manager for the health care corporation that owns that clinic, told the committee patients have a high tolerance for opioids and can function normally after treatment.

At least one committee member, Rep. Carolene Mays (D-Indianapolis), worried the measure could push patients away from the methadone clinics. "I'm concerned we'll lose people in treatment who are riding a bus or walking or don't have a designated driver," she said.

Marijuana testing of methadone patients is necessary because some neighboring states require it, said Rep. Stemler. Indiana should not be a magnet for addicts from elsewhere because of its loose methadone laws, he said.

Indeed, about half of the 10,000 patients served by the state's clinics come from out-of-state. But perhaps that's not so shocking given the state's geographic position. At its northwest corner is Chicago, to the near northeast is Detroit, to the near southwest is Cincinnati, and directly across the Ohio River to the south is Louisville.

At least the committee rejected one more attempt to micro-manage methadone patients, an amendment by Rep. Terry Goodin (D-Crothersville) that would have banned patients from bringing their children to clinics. It was supported by Clark County Commissioner Michael Moore, who testified that "too many" patients bring their children with them when they come in early in the morning for treatments. Moore, who owns a restaurant near a clinic, said that he often saw them dozing off or acting erratically before or after treatment. "This is the kind of behavior that would make most social-service agencies jump in and act," Moore said.

But Rep. John Day (D-Indianapolis) managed to blunt Goodin's amendment, saying he worried that a single parent might have to miss an appointment if she could not bring her children. "That's a very real dilemma," Day said.

While Goodin then withdrew his amendment, saying it did not have enough support to pass, he said he would offer a similar proposal later.

This isn't the first time opiophobia has reared its head in the Indiana legislature. Last year, the legislature voted to enact a moratorium on new clinics. But this is the first time the legislature has zeroed in on patients -- with measures ostensibly designed to protect the public safety but whose real world result would be to drive patients away from the clinics.

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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These anti-patient

These anti-patient regulations are based on fear, stigma and prejudice--NOT on facts, studies or science. Countless studies have been done involving methadone maintenance patients and driving ability--and they all show that patients who are on chronic, long term opioid therapy are tolerant of the effects of their medication and can drive as well as those NOT on medication, and that there is NO medical reason to restrict driving privileges beased on this. These people are comparing someone who is not opioid tolerant and has just been wheeled out of surgery or treatment in a HOSPITAL to someone who is extremely tolerant of a dose of medication that, in stable patients, does NOT cuase a high or euphoria nor significantly impair motor function or response time. That is patently ridiculous, and is an obvious ploy to make treatment so difficult to access that the patients will give up trying--that is what commissioner Moore wants. He has stated on public message boards that he will do whatever he can to run the clinic out of town--using whatever means are at his disposal. I only hope lawmakers can see through this kind of blatant chicanery. And tell me--is it really ok to have children visit their parents in traditional rehabs, and even in PRISON, but not attend a medical appointment with them? Ludicrous! These patients are supposed to locate someone to drive them from each appointment every single day, and someone else to watch their kids every single day, and presumably pay these people in addition to paying exorbitant clinic fees--this puts treatment into the realm of the impossible for most patients--and that is the idea here. Note that this proposed bill even makes it mpossible for the patients to walk or take the bus home from appointments--they must have a driver, lest they go insane and start frothing at the mouth or knuckle-walking and hooting.

You're not seeing or stating both sides here...

Obviously this is a pro-methadone site. Also, this is also a place where one might find persons opposed to governmental regulation of drug use and rehabilitation. Knowing that, I expected to see the responses I did to the article I came here to read.

However, I think this slanted view of MMT and rehab is just as dangerous as the other view generally found in the uneducated public. The general public sees people on MMT as junkies and dropouts who can't get their fix anywhere else because of financial, legal, or logistical reasons. Members of this site seem to see MMT patients as underprivileged, unfortunate souls who should be cut yet another break. Both are true, and untrue at once.

I am a former morphine and oxycodone addict. I have been clean for 13 years, 2 months, and 12 days. I didn't use methadone or any other crutch to relieve my symptoms when I quit. I did it the old-fashioned way, and I used the pain and the sickness and the ongoing cravings as a tool to strengthen myself for the tough road ahead. I knew what was best, and a good friend helped me through it all.

I have a fiancee and her best friend who live with me. Both are former heroin addicts. Both are former alcoholics. Both have basically used every substance ever put in front of them to such excess as to cause every symptomatic problem of drug abuse. Pills, powders, liquids, needles; everything was fair game. They are both in MMT and are having varying degrees of success with it. Mostly, things are going well.

The problem is, they are probably two of the handful of success stories coming out of this clinic. Most of the patients at the clinic are still drug abusers. Probably 90% of the people I've talked to are on Xanax, most without a prescription. Many are using other pills, Percocet, Klonopin, Fentanyl patches, alcohol, or whatever is around to get high. Most are no longer using heroin, but are still getting high on a regular basis. Methadone satisfies and abates the PHYSICAL need for opiates, but it doesn't change the MINDSET of an addict! An addict using methadone every day is still an addict, and when the methadone dose doesn't increase any more, they will find a way to get high.

Contrary to the belief of most on this site, methadone DOES cause many of the patients to "nod off", become drowsy, and drive erratically. I drive my fiancee to the clinic as much as possible. If I'm not working early that day, I will take the girls and let them rest on the way home. By the time we make the 50-minute drive (each way), they are ready for a nap. They should NOT be driving in that condition. They also have friends at the clinic, and it's funny that their phones both ring at all hours of all days of the week, but no one seems to call for about 2 hours after they dose in the mornings.

MMT might have worked for you. It might be working for you right now, and if so, I'm happy for you and I wish you the best. Beating an addiction is one of the hardest thing you can do, and it's something to be proud of. But you have to be realistic. You're in the minority. Most of the people who go in the clinic will come out in the same or worse shape than they went in. After the days of hell, then the weeks and months of heck, the physical part is over. Methadone is no longer useful or effective. But if the mindset isn't changed, the person is now hooked on methadone and will either stay on forever, or fill the methadone void with street drugs.

I had friends that I used to get high with; there were 9 of us that were really close. I went cold turkey and made it. 2 others tried the same and failed. 5 went for MMT and none is clean to this day, 13 years later. 1 never quit. Only 5 of us are alive today, the other 4 lost to OD, Hep C, a car crash, and a stabbing. I'm only in my 30s, and 44% of my "friends" from 15 years ago are dead. In fact, of all the people I've known personally who went into MMT for opiate dependence, none has EVER made a permanent change to a clean lifestyle.

So don't blame those of us who want the clinics closely regulated. We only want to protect ourselves, to protect our rights to freedom and life. I for one don't want to share the streets with the thousands of people who dose at the local clinics every day. I know those people, and they're not fit to drive.


my bf just started mmt and he nods off in the middle of nowhere.....everywhere...toilet driving,walking standing etc.. it is very dangerous for one to assume that methadone doesnt cause one to be "drowsy" BECAUSE THEY"ED BE WRONG I SEE IT FIRST HAND

nods off

of course your boyfriend is going to nod off if he just started the clinic. they start you on 30 mg and increase your dose by 5 each day until you are comfortable. if his dose is being increased daily you can expect him to nod off, at least until hes on a stable dose. once youre stabilized, the euphoria goes away and you dont nod out anymore. i went through the same thing when i started. ive been in the clinic for about two years now and i never nod out, and am fine to drive.

Re: the person above who is speaking for someone else in MMT

If he just started MMT then he is struggling with drug abuse, maybe this is why he is sleepy. Some people say they are drowsy when the start MMT, when i started i wasn't drowsy and i am not now. If someone is just starting taking this medication there body is also changing from not using the drugs there in treatment to get away from,, the normal physical reaction is to sleep in this time of repair. hence forth all the negative talk of sleepy people on MMT. Some people are always going to jump up and slam people who are recovering or are in treatment, they cant handle the fact that these people are leaving the old life and ways behind, they want to stigmatize those who used to be addicts, and i speak from experience, i learned this first hand, for some people in treatment, it might be a surprise to learn that some people, even family, but mostly the public, do not really like to see some of us get clean and wake up, they like to keep you where they can keep there finger on you, because your this or that.I have learned that if i stay with my MMT program and i am not using illegal drugs,( A ) i am not going to end Dead or in jail ( B ) i am not going to end up losing everything to others, ( C ) i am working toward a better life away from things that hold my life in its its grasp and control it, and to all those in treatment and doing it right, who don't feel like they are a slave to illegal drugs anymore, keep on doing what keeps your life in the best light, there are always going to be those people who are always going to think there better than us, and want to keep us down where they can stand over us, because they have never been on drugs or had a problem like us, but you know what they say about people who throw stones and live in glasshouses, i wouldn't trade my life for there's,, scars, dirt and all, Freebird

well dont you think he is on

well dont you think he is on to high of a dose?????


love that word opiophobic,its called yen sleep that sort of sleep,totaly changes from person to person.Do yanks have so much a prob with english,there dose to high etc haha

I have been on methadone for

I have been on methadone for two yrs now. And compared to my life before this drug came into it, you would not believe it. My family and I were worried at first because of the way it makes you nod at first. But after a month or so your body adjusts. I did not let them take me up 5 mg. a day. That is YOUR decision. If it does not help than you go up. We have such a high tolerence for opiates that the 5 mg. a day is really not going to make a difference. Unless you are up to high to tolerate. I agree that this is not for everyone. And should be used as a last resort. And I have never done heroine in my life. My addiction came from a medical problem and the pain meds that were perscribed BY MY DR. I had no idea about addiction at the time, no one informed me just how serious it is. For me methadone has saved my life. I hope one day to be able to leave it behind. But for now, I am just trying to adjust and enjoy life with my son and daughter. I feel for people who this has not worked for. But you cant lie to yourself. You have to be in this program for help, not a free high. I see it alot and its sad. But there is always a downside to everything. No program is going to be perfect. I am alive today and happy with my children because I made a decision to change the way things were headed. I hope more people do the same. I do not nod off at all EVER anymore. It  lasted like I said about a month. If anyone is nodding after that time they need to lower what they are on. Good luck to all and God Bless.

if u were just on 10 aday,,then u could quit without help but ,,

the DEA and the FDA ,,know more than u,, I work with these people every day i see them suffering ,,and yes there has to be regulations and stiplulations ,,but the uneducated are the people that spout off shit they see on tv or read from biase websites and aritcles ,,,and yea iam mad but i myself am a physicians asst.,,so i am far form uneducated prlly more so than most the ones that say otherwise,,dont say these people arent fit to drive,,98percent are perfectly fine to drive and in the off chance they arent ,,at most reputable clinics they will be stopped at the door and held until time that they can drive or are drivin home,,people need to go educate there selves before they spout shit,,,the DEA says and i quote ,, " methadone treatment is the gold standard ,,in drug addiction treatment, maintinance, and recovery,, look it up ,,i trust them a lot more than these people that think they know what they are talkin about cause they saw a news program or read the morning paper ,,,and the FDA too,,methadone treatment isnt by any means new ,,its been goin on for over 30 years ,, with no change or no faults other than things that would happen at any doctors office or treatment facility ,,u have to remember these are addicts not usually good people,,,but for the most part after continued treatment they go to school ,,,get jobs,,,earn an income legally,,,raise children,,love children,,and go on too live a life they wouldnt have other wise lived,,,, AND I WANT TO SAY THIS WITH ALL MY HEART I COMMEND YOU EVEN IF I DONT AGREE WITH YOU,,FOR GETTING CLEAN WITHOUT THE USE OF A SO CALLED CRUTCH,,BUT YOU HAVE TO REMEMBER LENGTH OF USE AND AMOUNT OF USE MAKE THE DIFFERNCE TO ,,AND SOME PEOPLE CAN MANAGE BETTER THAN OTHERS ,,YOU MAY HAVE A STRONG ENDORPHINE SYSTEM TOO ,,that would make your recovery a lot better too ,,but everyone is differnt but one thing that is the same is its not easy either way and if someone finds somthting that helps them they shouldnt do all they can to prevent there recovery which is exactly what they are doin with these laws,,all of which iam not opposed to ,,,but most clients are well informed and are able to manage after they become stable ,,you cant blame every client for what a small small percentage abuse u know,,,but iam sorry for the harsh language earlier,,i just cant stand people not looking at the true facts if methadone treatment was as bad as they saay it woudltn have lasted 30 years continued ,,you know ,,just please read up on it before you say to much is all i ask ,,i dont expect u will but ,,,that doesnt matter cause iknow there are some people with sense still left out in this sorry ass world,,30 years and counting ,,,recovery is dependant on inspiration ,,inspiration is dependant on a sense of understand and compassion,,,without those niether is possible,,,thanks for reading ,,and godbless the suffering ,,pray

hard to believe...

It is hard to believe what you are saying is true. You start your message off with saying that everyone that doesn't agree with you must be uneducated and how you are OBVIOUSLY educated. I would hope that most physician assistants could spell, use appropriate grammar, and use appropriate punctuation.

Word to the wise, next time you want people to read your message and understand it's meaning...take the time to ensure that it makes sense (especially when choosing to bash those that are uneducated).

I am on sites like this to learn, think about those readers while you are using fowl language and bashing people who have battled their addictions.


i just wanted to say thank you for your words of wisdom toward this treatment,ive been on it for 3 years and i can drive fine, the only only time i get tired or (nod off) is when ive been working my ass of and i should be tired.. i really do hate when people spout off about what they dont know,and its better to help these addicts stay or complete methadone treatment than its is to throw them out or make the rules so hard they cant go to treatment, because one way or another if they can have treatment-they will be in your neiborhoods dealing ,buying, using, and stealing from those very people who didnt want treatment. now tell me which better serves society??? 

Finally......someone who understands the truth!

You are exactly riht! I hope your message gets through to someone because you are the only one here who knows whats really going on. All the others are too uneducated or an outsider looking in on MMT. MMT saved my life 3 years ago and I have myself and my counselor to thank for it but that is because I was ready and dedicated to my recovery.

Driving after dosing....

I thought your statement was well thought out and written. I'm a patient at a clinic and now detoxing. The only time I ever had a slight problem with driving was the first month of treatment when adjusting to my correct dose.Matter of fact, I am the designative driver and have a chauffeur drivers license as well. I don't drive crazy or tired, any responsible person should obey laws on the road. I have drove 70 miles there and back for 8 years and never had a ticket, never had a wreck, and I bet that's more then you can say.You obviously don't know "those people". You may have friends who can drive well. Everyone does, but don't blame it on Methadone recovery.

Really you are calling this treatment after 8 years1 WTF!!!

Come on now.......Naturally you would reply to this message,-being that you are in year 8 of treatment- your more like in a drug store/replacement center. What treatment center would give you a fuc--Ng narcotic for 8 years and make you think you are getting treatment, when you are going to be in worse shape going out (age 100), than starting the program. That shit is harder to detox from than normal opiates.

borden's picture

open your eyes

Sounds like he is living life, working, not getting into trouble, etc. So what if he is also taking an opiate? That's your standard that he should be off the opiate, but why should it be his? So long as he is working, not getting into trouble, not hurting anyone, living a stable life and happy, those are the main things to me, and I don't see how anyone has the right to judge him or the treatment that makes it possible, regardless of how long that treatment lasts. I don't care if it's life-long -- IT'S WORKING, OPEN YOUR EYES.

David Borden, Executive Director the Drug Reform Coordination Network
Washington, DC

Thank you Mr. Borden

Thank you for your comment. I have been on a maintenance dose for 9 years now. 3 of those years I spent trying to clean up to please family,etc. I walked away my 3rd year and made it 4 months before falling into old habits. I quickly returned to MMT for myself this time. I have remained on a maintenance dose ever since, and lost my job 2 years start my own business, which I am doing quite well with. People need to understand when a person puts drugs, be it alcohol, heroin, valium, etc., for a long period of time, it changes the chemistry of the brain. You can't expect the brain to jump start itself after years of abuse, followed by a successful long term treatment program such as MMT or Suboxone. I look at it as if I would look at a diabetic taking insulin because their body, for some reason, does not produce enough. I take my medication daily to function normally, and those who I choose not to tell, have no idea, I'm involved in a long term MMT Program. More education is needed within the public, political, and law enforcement community on the benefits of this treatment. The problem is, bad news makes good news. So you only hear of the patient in treatment that causes a major accident, for instance, rather than the large number of people who are doing quite well with treatment. Of course, "Ex-Addict Doing well and now is a productive member of society", don't grab the headlines or sell newspapers, does it? Thank you for your comment.
Long Term EITC Patient

people that need it dont even

people that need it dont even get high they take it so they dont get sick.

Driving after dosing....

You said,"I have drove 70 miles..." You should have used the word, "driven" because you used the helper verb "have"

WOW wrote so much

WOW wrote so much pure hate propaganda at least most unture and biased. I went to the clinic for two years. I was drug tested on a regular never failed not ONE. You forgot to state the clinic will force you to detox out after several + drug test. My brother was forced to detox because he had 3 + drug test after the 1st + he lost his take home doses. Yes, a few on methadone do try to use benzos to get high on methadone. The fact is the program requires drug testing and they do make you dextox out if you are using on top of your methadone. You wrote like you can go there and still do whatever you please as far as drugs that is not true. I was clean five years after leaving the clinic untill a very recent relaspe. Don't break your arm patting your own back. The fact you did it the old way means your better then the avarage junkie i guess or whatever. People are not all the same, there is no reason to put people down who need the clinic the counslors and the support to get to where they can live clean. Of course it's safe i'ld rather live near a clinic then a needle exchange you need to get real. The people going there are trying even if many fail they are trying to get better how can you fault that? Yes, sometimes it takes years to get it right. Addiction it's self is a life long problem where most do not recover ever read NA/AA members have like a 5% rate of staying clean?. Just so you know methadone patients rate up around 30-40% recovery rate with MMT. YES, many do not use the program correct but, the is a fact of being human not a fault with the the program. On a stable dose people don't nod and can drive just fine. When first starting or when going up in mg's yes you can nod but, it takes 30-40 mins to even feel methadone most people are HOME by that time. No your not high for HOURS and HOURS on a regular dose people can and do carry on daily life with no issues. Just because you were so hard core you just quit with no methadone no support just your own will power proves you don't understand the struggle of getting and staying clean. Wonderful you were able to  do it on your own but, your mind is closed to the fact everyone is not you and it is not that eazy.

A coment on the last setnance


425 mgs? WOW

Do you go to S.I.T.C.? And how the hell did you get on 425 mg? Did Rivera or Dr. Blackburn take you up this high (if you do indeed go to S.I.T.C.?) I wish I could be taken up that high, but all this stigma causes people to suffer on inadequate doses.

MMT works!

Well, despite you're slanted view of methadone clinics, not to mention the fact that you have NO statistics to back it up, I and many others I know that are in MMT remain clean and sober. I have been an MMT patient for over 5 years, and yes I did relapse in the beginning, but I have now been clean for 4 years. I think a big reason why a portion of MMT patients don't succeed is because of all these unnecessary regulations and stigma that is put on the clinics. Prescribing doctors at these clinics now fear that if they take a patient up above 150 mg they'll be scrutinized. Heck, I've seen people who needed an increase and couldn't get past 80 mg. I'm on 115 mg, and I could definitely use about more, but I can function still without craving too bad. It's all in the company you keep too. If I was around dope fiends day in day out I would probably relapse in no time. I keep myself on the straight and narrow while trying to finish my college education. I have one more year to go before I finally get my BA in Psychology, and without Methadone I would still be strung out on the streets, selling my body (even though it never went that far luckily) and stolen goods probably.


I just wanted to say that I am new to methadone. Today will be my 5th dose. When I talk to people at the clinic they ask me what drug I was using. They laugh at me when I tell them vicodin. But for me living without vicodin was too hard for me, I felt like I was dying. If I didn't have any pills in my cabinet for the next day I felt like this was the end of the world. I couldn't function at all. Everything felt like a chore. All I wanted to do was sleep and I had diarreah. I was taking 8 to 10/ 10mg tablets of vicodin a day. I was prescribed 90 a month and I was lucky if the lasted 2 weeks. I was spending money I didn't have buying the pills I needed to function. I read about suboxone but in my area no one was taking new clients and I needed help NOW! I have a friend that goes to the methadone clinic so I called him and asked for the number. I was lucky as they were taking new clients. The only drawback was they had a policy that they aren't allowed to dose you until you get your urine tested and have a blood test. This was on a thursday and they gave me an appointment for that following tuesday. Well, I was able to obtain a few vicodins to carry me through until tuesday. So tuesday I received my first dose. It was 20mg. That day I felt great! I did not have any cravings but it kinda wore off around 7pm. I told the Dr. and he increased my dose to 30mg. Well, that did it! I am so thankful for methadone! No cravings, I have energy so I am able to get things done around the house, no diarreah and I don't sleep all day! I have someone that is willing to drive me home because while I drive I nod off and that scares me. I am thankful I have someone to drive me home. I have read conflicting reports both pro and con from people regarding methadone but it must be how each individuals react to the drug. For me it is saving my life!


I  see your point, but the success of any treatment depends on the person and there are people overly medicated but thats the clinic allowng the clients to increase there doses Ifor no medical cause, so the tighter restrictions should be dosing amounts.I have been an addict for over 25 years, in and out of prison and tried every kind of treatment available to get clean and stay clean, even the clinic 3 previous times. It didn't work because I didn't want it to work. I went thru a treatment facility one more time and changed the human being I was but I couldn't change the physialogocal effect of 20 years of opiate use to my brain. Methadone is just one aspect of my recovery. I am a college student who will graduate this year with my associates with a 3.67 GPA. It has not been easy, I'm 45 and have been out of school for longer than I can remember, I maintain employment and support myself. I don't have anyone to drive my around like a child when I have to go to the clinic which is once every two weeks. I don't use other drugs and I'm offended that this is how you see me, a danger to you on the road. A lot of us that are on the clinic don't do any of what you suggested we did. Your friends and wife to be must be over medicated if you are seeing what you speak of in your comment. Please don't  side with making it harder for the ones that are mature adults, and want to change the way we used to live, by treating the biological side of our addiction with methadone. I will soon be closing on a home in Jeffersonville where I have lived for over a year now. Iam doing very well in my recovery with the help of the MMT. You say you have recovered but your perception is still off and that is the real problem of addicts, they have a perception problem. Good luck.



How do we elect people who are so....

...excruciatingly ignorant? *sigh*

Before I comment, does this new bill exempt patients with medical marijuana recommendations from their doctors? Does Indiana even have medical marijuana legislation, and if so, is it addressed in this bill?

I was a heroin addict for 8 years. I grew up in a middle class family, always had good grades, and was a physics major at the university of TX at Austin. I was the white sheep of the family, and expectations were high.

I felt so much pressure, and was so depressed, that when I first tried heroin in my junior year, I was already well-positioned to become an addict. The cycle lasted about 8 years...including going to jail for possession, many rehabs, many withdrawals, and many relapses.

I finally realized that I was fast approaching the point of no return. I felt I was a good person, but my addiction, in our "war on drugs" society, was ruining me. I was in total despair. If I didn't do something fast, I was going to either die or go to prison. I was miserable without opiates, and I was miserable and ruining my/my family's life with them. So, I did what I had been reluctant to do since the beginning...I went to a methadone clinic. I haven't used since, and that was February of 2002. My girlfriend/family just took me out last weekend to the symphony/dinner to celebrate my 6 year anniversary.

I am now going back to school, finishing my physics major, and will be starting graduate school soon after.

Methadone is different from other opiates in a number of significant ways, one of which is the cause of some overdoses. For one, unlike heroin, methadone has a very long half life. With heroin you're constantly going up and down...from being sick, to being well. Everyday one physically and mentally goes back and forth from one extreme to another. However, with methadone, this is not the case. I feel no up and down effect that is so pronounced with short acting opiates like heroin, morphine, hydrocodone, oxycodone, etc...

Not once since starting methadone 6 years ago have I felt any kind of high or mental impairment. The unique nature of methadone's half-life enable one to be on a stable dose without the up and down "high" feeling, and it also acts as a blocking agent so even if I used heroin I would not feel it. Its longer half-life also effectively eliminates the problem of increased tolerance. So a person on a stable methadone dose should not have to continually increase their dose to stay stable (minor adjustments are sometimes necessary over the years, but that's negligible when compared to heroin).

The other unique characteristic of methadone is that, unlike heroin and other short-acting opiates again, methadone does not occupy ALL of your opiate receptors. Heroin occupies all of them, so your body stops producing the normal endorphins/natural opiates because it is getting them from an outside source. Part of withdrawal is your body re-starting that process of creating those natural opiates in the brain. Sometimes the brain heals partially, rarely completely, and sometimes not at all. Well, methadone does NOT occupy all of the receptors, so your brain can slowly begin to heal, and the patient isn't constantly assailed with unreasonable depression and cravings.

The "methadone has saved my life" comment has been denigrated often, but cliches are cliches for a reason....they are common. It is difficult to explain to someone who has never been opiate dependent, but I tried abstinence only treatment modalities for years, unsuccessfully, before I finally went to MMT. NA, AA, rational recovery, you name it, I've done it. And I really put my soul into it (drank the kool-aid I would say). I went to NA every day for 10 months once, but never felt relief from unbearable depression and opiate cravings. And this is not depression that responds to normal anti-depressants such as SSRI, SSNRI's, or tri-cyclics. It is specific to opiate addicts, and methadone allows one to live without that pain, and allows your brain to heal at the same time.

Sure, there are deaths/diversion. Most of the diversion comes from places other than addiction clinics, but to say that methadone is the most diverted drug is silly. Even with my history, I've never seen methadone on the street. Never. And, I've never sold or given any of my take homes away. I keep them in a safe, hidden. Xanax, and other benzos are so much more diverted.

The issue of driving, IMO, is also a position of ignorance. An opiate naive person who goes for outpatient surgery is given opiates and other narcotics for the express reason of sedating them. The opiate tolerant methadone patient is not sedated, not "high", and studies have shown that it does not impair a person's performance to drive a car or otherwise. Sure, using it with other drugs, and in unwise quantities can impair you, but that is not the situation with most methadone more than it is with people on other meds, such as anti-depressants and cold medications. There is no discernible difference in my coordination or ability to drive now on methadone than there was before I ever tried an opiate. Methadone stable patients are neither sedated, or impaired.

I ask that you really look at the research, and don't put such a vital treatment for so many in jeopardy because of someone's misuse of the drug and/or misunderstanding of what it can do to them and how it should be used.

Thank you for taking the time to read this comment.


i personal have bought methadone on the "street"

and it does get me high i am responsible in what i take maybe 2 10 mg at one time the most i have EVER taken at once.. I do get high.... also after a while i get SO sleepy that if driving i get scared because i feel an uncontrollable need to pass out .eyes rolling in the back of my head eyes shaky etc. so for everyone it is different

re buys his methadone on the street

this guy is a joke, maybe what you took wasnt methadone,your buying stuff on the street from drug dealers, you sound like a idiot, you need help, if your eyes are rolling back in your head maybe you have been buying smack or something else. who knows what you took, you sound like you don't. what we are talking about is controlled by a Doctor.if you aren't some joker who is just a treatment basher.

Actually, I can take a 10 mg

Actually, I can take a 10 mg methadone it says (54 152) on it. It is most definatley that and i pretty much feel like im high, and am going to fall asleep alot. So it most definatley can have similar side effects than what he mentioned. A friend gave me some after I was in a car accident and I had run out of my meds and my back was still killing me.


I like what the person from said . They are a great orginization . I will say one thing all these drugs do effect people different . Regulation has been making life hell for decent people . I take methadone for severe pain after being opiate dependant for 10 years plus . There is no doubt my brain chemistry changed . Each opiate does effect people different . There is no real standard dosing like they want to establish nor is methadone the best . A person needs to take a drug regularily in a stable dose to be safe and function well . Break through drugs need to be used in pain patients . Withdrawls are too much for many legitimate patients being treated for pain . We need to have seperate programs for them . They treated my pain with opiates because it was all that would work . They told me it would be like taking Insulin . I did nothing wrong , am too sick to be involved in Politics . I just want to be comfortable enough to live and die with dignity . The Goverment is switching people onto methadone as part of managed care for severe chronic pain against their will as part of the drug war and to control expenses . Methadone costs pennies a dose . Please give some respect to patients . I have learned also the hard way even street addicts have suffered enough. Tough love is wrong . Most people cant quit do to hormonal changes and damage previously done . Were all different have some compassion . I am very sick so excuse how poor this was written . I can tell you only patients know which drugs are better for them and proper dosing . At least after they have been on these for a few years . Once you have taken these more then a year your dependant and after 2 years there is little chance for many to get off without nursing care and a slow titration of equal leangh.

then your taking it illegally

then your taking it illegally and what your saying doesnt even need to be on this topic

borden's picture

please clarify


Perhaps you read In Chronic Pain Hell's remarks too quickly and misunderstood something. I don't see anything there suggesting any illegal methadone-taking. Remember that methadone is legally prescribable for both addiction treatment and chronic pain treatment. If I've missed something, let me know.

- Dave

You're taking it illegally doesn't pertain to this post

This doesn't even pertain to this post because we are talking about people who are legally prescribed methadone under a doctor's care. The type of methadone you are getting is only given to patients at pain management clinic/or by a doctor for reasons other than addiction treatment. If you are given wafers or any other type of pill in MMT they have to be watered down, as passed by the FDA to reduce diversion.


You are also obviously opiate naive, and the reason this doesn't pertain is because if you are abusing this drug illegally who is to say you're not abusing other drugs concurrently. When attending an MMT program, a physician/physician's asst. checks for symptoms and signs of opiate addiction and they give you an instant drug test on the spot. You have to show symptoms of mild-serious withdrawal symptoms to even be considered for opiate treatment. So if you're only taking 10-20 mg and getting high then chances are you might be turned away. Methadone maintenance was not developed in hopes for people to get high, but rather made for people seriously addicted to opiates who have tried and failed 2 or more other substance abuse treatment options.

Personally bought on the street

That's because you are illegally abusing it as a street drug you idiot. Under the treatment of a qualified physician, on a stable dose, yes, it would be different. You are the cause and reason that patients like me have to tolerate archaic laws against our treatment. You are the person that runs head on into a family of four. I am the one who has to pay for your stupidity and illegal abuse of a prescribed medication. Check yourself into treatment before you kill yourself or worse, someone else.


I'm really glad it works for you. My daughter has been using for 9 years. This is her third MMT program. She has also tried suboxone and NA and straight rehab, and cold turkey. She's lost two of her three children.

And, she can buy methadone cheaper on the street. It most certainly is out there.

She also shoots up while she is on Methadone, so it doesn't totally block the high from heroin. She told me it takes more, so there is a greater risk of od'ing...

She also nods off alot while on methadone. She has fallen asleep while driving.


its not the methdadone if she is shooting up , ,,uknow

she nods off because she is shooting up with her dose,,,or taking other stuff with it ,,,u cant blame MMT,,if the patient isnt totally compieing with the program and if she is taking anything narcotic or benzoz or anything with her dose then she isnt compying u know so how can u say its methadone if she isnt just taking methadone,,u know think about it ,,its not hard,,,MMT treatment if used right and by someone that actually is looking for help works and it will continue to ,,no matter how much dumbasses like her fuck it up,,,she needs to get her head together the treatment will stablilize her and it does block the effects of shooting up ,,but that doesnt mean it wont still pass u out if u fuckin shoot up right after u dose thats just ignorance,,,if she used it right ,,and just took her dose i garuntee she wouldnt fall asleep driving,,,i know u will not listen to this but if she continues to not follow her program she will od,,but it wont be the clinicsfault no mattter how much u will blame them ,,u know that u are watching her kill herself make her go dose and not shot up that day or take anything else with the methadone and look at the diff,,and u will see i have no doubts of that,,,if she is completley off anything but the her dose,,:>


I think the writer meant her daughter still shoots up on heroin while on methadone.

People need to be educated on Methadone before making judgments

People need to be educated before making judgements and especially laws. I have seen many methadone clinics and the people who are going to them are not bad people. You do not see a bunch of people outside the clinic acting like a bunch of idiots, copping drugs, wearing filthy dirty rags, or anything like that. I see people who had a drug problem and are seeking help for it. Driving while taking methadone is not any bigger of a problem than driving on antibiotics. People who take methadone are tolerant of it, and if they do drive like an idiot, chances are they have always driven that way. I've been on methadone for 7 years, after getting addicted to oxycontin, and have never had an accident or ticket. I drive better now than before because I'm very content with my life, where before I wasn't, and methadone is the reason for this. People with epilepsy are allowed to drive with no restrictions, as are many, many others on medication, so why should methadone be so different? Cancer patients drive on medications such as opiates, as do a lot of people, but methadone patients are the only ones being discriminated against? If you will do some research, there are many articles about driving and methadone, and all of them say there is nothing to worry about, so why is so much effort being put into doing something that will only make it harder on methadone patients? Would the Indiana state legislature rather see people out here copping drugs on the street, driving while high, putting not only their lives in danger, but the lives of others? No, they wouldn't. But they are not giving patients much of a choice now are they? Certain people in the House and Senate need to do some real research, not just make judgement calls on something they know little about. And, most people who overdose on methadone, have mixed it with another drug, and the other drug is actually what caused their death, not the methadone, and to those family members who have lost loved ones to methadone alone, I'm truly sorry, but just as many people have died from other drugs also. This is a life saving medication for so many people, and it's becoming harder and harder on them and all they are trying to do is get better. It's sad. Tjkel




Judgement is constant, everyone knows everything about you!
Ain't that amazing? Most of the peeps that turned their backs and stuck their noses up at my misfortunate decisions are the exact ones who are asking me to hook them up now. MMMMM. Methadone saved me from more prison time and certain death. Sure I may never get off mostly due to fear of relapse and withdraw, but....... I have been in school a year and am once again steady in my only son's life. There is no doubt in my mind that it will be the biggest struggle of my lifetime to kick this particular stepping stone but it is the only thing that has even tried to work for me. I've been to many rehabs and gone AWOL more than I can count so to all those who judge anyone for methadone use needs to step lightly cause carma is a bithch!!!!!!
Oh yeah, God does not like ugly. So walk a mile in our shoes if you dare, before you say a damn thing that is negative cause it takes strength to endure what we have and survive. To say the least!

Here are some articles they need to read

From the White House office of Drug Control~
Methadone is NOT sedating or intoxicating, not dies it interfere with ordinary activities such as driving or operating machinery.

Also check out~


These all say there is absolutely NO reason why people on methadone cannot drive while taking it. Why hasn't the Indiana State legislature taken these article and research into perspective? The first one is from the White House drug policy, and shows there is no reason for concern. I guess they have just chosen to ignore the facts and go by an uneducated guess. Tjkel


But, they would have to abandon science and depend on the more ignorant emotional response! Which is exactly what they are doing! They do not understand tolerance, as most doctors don't. The doctors just don't prescribe controlled drugs and the patients all benefit FROM NOT GETTING TREATMENT! Don't bother them with the scientific facts. They enjoy their blissful ignorance!

Indiana reps need to open their eyes, and do their research.

I am very upset by the latest news of this new law they are trying to pass. I have been a patient at an Indiana Clinic for 3 years and will be completing my detox in aprox. 10-15 weeks. I was addicted to oxycottins. The clinic has been a big help, with out it I would probably be dead or almost dead. If this ridiculous law would have been in affect back then, I never would have seeked help. And if I did seek help, there would have been no way for me to get to my appointments. If passed, this law is going to prevent 1,000s of troubled people from getting the help they really need which will create a even bigger problem. Then you will have even more un-monitored drug addicts out on the road that will actually cause problems just like a drunk driver, all because they have no way of seeking help, because they have to drive to and from the clinic, plus go to work.

To be successful at a clinic you have to be able to keep a solid routine, otherwise if you are detoxing you body will get out of sync/wack, causing you to feel even sicker. With the no driving law, people will have to rely on friends and family to get to the clinic causing them to have a screwed up schedule, thus hampering their recovery.

There are many myths out there about methadone, like it rots your teeth and it gets in your bones. These are completely false, but yet everyone and even some ignorant doctors believe them. People teeth go bad when they get on methadone because when they were using drugs they didn't take care of their teeth. So when they started getting back to normal at the clinic and starting to take care of their-selves their teeth start rotting and everyone says its because of the methadone. When really it is simply because they didn't take care of them before and the damage had already been done and the problem worsens. The problem is because their gumlines had receeded as an addict, exposing the roots of the tooth. This is just a simple example of how concepts surrounding methadone have gotten twisted into something that it isn't.

When you are on a maintenance dose you do not get a buzz. You don not get deadly sleepy, {Unless You Are Using Other Prescriptions Like :Xanox) or are getting extra methadone off of the street so they can get a buzz. Yes some patients are on high dosages, but that is because they were using large amounts of opiates when they were an addict. In order for them to use a maintnance dose correctly they will have to have a large amount to equal their tollarance. Everyones tolerance is different, it depends on many factors like weigth and the amount of drugs you were using before getting treatment. This is no different than an older person taking pain pills for their pain, once they have been on it for awhile the doctor increases their dose because their tolerance goes up and it doesn't help them anymore requiring a higher dosage. Addicts are the same except we get up to extremely high amounts. So a patient of a clinic will be on high dosages, but it is because of their tolerance to the drug. Once they get to a comfortable level of methadone, then they start detoxing a little at a time. Again through out this whole process there is no buzz, no sleepyness or drowsiness.

There are some patients I have seen and they can't keep their eyes open. This isn't because of the methadone. This is because they are using other drugs or getting more methadone off the street. And when counselors, nurses or doctor sees patients like this, they get drug tested or they will not give them their methadone for the day and will make sure they have someone to take them home.

There are a lot worse drivers on the road, than a clinic patient that is getting their life back. The next time your driving down the road count how many people you see talking on cell phones not paying attention to what they are doing. You will be surprised by the amount of dangerous drivers there are on the road all because they have to talk on their cell phone. There are much more people in this state with a cell phone that causes accidents and problems while driving than a clinic patient that is taking the program seriously and not using drugs.

The clinic enables people to stay in their environment where they have to stand up to their problem, instead of hiding behind closed doors in a rehab facility that creates an artificial life for you. At the clinic you are able to get better in the environment that got you there in the first place, so then you are confronted with that environment everyday, instead of hiding behind closed doors away from all the demons. You have to test and strain your demons in order to learn how to stay away from them. If you just hide from them, they will keep following you around. This way you are able to learn how to stay out of and get out of real life situations that make you want to use. The clinic provides this environment with the addition of qualified professionals to help steer you in the right direction in your element of life.

No kids allowed, that a joke. If thats the case, kids shouldn't be allowed to go to a doctors office with their parent. Whats the difference? People at the clinic are repsectable human beings, that have a few problems. Its no different than going to a resturaunt that serves beer and drinking it in the family section with kids. Speacially when the does are monitored by the nurses and security guard and all take homes are to be in a locked bag at all times, even if empty.

This law is created by un-informed, un-educated people that need to do their research. You should always think before you act, but what does the government do?

The Driving Conditions

I saw another article about the driving conditions in southern Indiana, and can see why the sudden upset. A clinic is a crazy, busy place, just like the busiest gas station on the road. It is the same thing just a different business, except everyone is automatically labeled as bad people because they are addicted to drugs. BIG DEAL. Gas stations have wrecks happen just as much because of people being high on drugs or just plain stupid same thing. Except their not at a business that helps addicts so its ok. You see its really a bigger problem at the gas station, can you say BOOM!!! Usaully its because someone roles through on a cell phone. You know what a CELL PHONE can be an addiction too. If you talk on the phone to much while you drive, causing you not to pay attention then you are addicted to the cell phone, but hey we don't label you a looser because you can't go without your cell phone causing you to almost hit kids, cars and even parked cars. I'm more afraid a person on a phone will kill me than of a drunk driver hitting me. What about you, just think about it.

People at the clinic are in a hurry, they have lives and jobs they have to attend to. Many people are forced to come as early as they can, standing in the freezing cold rain or shine, just so they can get to work on time to support their families. You would be in a hurry to. Like when you wake up late and have no gas and you fly into the parking lot(almost hitting a car or a small child) while talking on your cell phone and not paying attention to anyone around you because you have to get to work so you don't loose your job.

Many people have to go to the clinic on their lunches and don't have much time to spare.

It would help the traffic and lines by simply opening sooner and staying open later. Simple as that.

I like to tell people that don't know nothing about addiction, drugs and the methadone clinic that a clinic patient is like a diabetic, if they don't get their dose they will get sick and not be able to work or lead a productive life. A diabetic doesn't get high, nor does a clinic patient. The only difference is that the clinic patient has the hope of getting off the medicine, while the diabetic will never quit taking their shot. Both are able to lead full, effective and productive lives if they take their medicine has prescribed. This is just analogy, I know they are different, but as a patient this is the best way I have found to explain how treatment works to someone who know nothing about it.

Most people have the wrong facts and not enough of the good ones to make the right predictions about this topic. I have found that if you have never dealt with addiction that you will never have a clear understanding of the underlying problems or the motives behind an addicts mind.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line here people is that we are all screwed. I live in Northwest Indiana and ever since Porter County asked for a clinic, we have been under drastic and devastating scrutiny by the House Public Health Committee. First, we were taken away our Sunday doses. We now go seven days a week. Now they've hit us with this no one under 18 to be in the clinic issue as well as the designated driver issue. Hey, I wonder if the Senate would like to sponsor a "junkie" or two to drive to the clinic every single day in order to be their "designated driver"? NO?! Didn't think so. It's our problem now and we will just basically have to deal with it until some other travesty worse than the methadone clinic comes around and then they'll lay off of us and go after someone else. God help the next lucky victim. God help us all.

Jamie Nagy
Methadone Client and Irritated Taxpayer...

methadone and driving

methadone is the MOST studied drug,bar none. Possibley because the federal government started perscribing it for free, to help combat the war on drugs, and the numbers of opiate addicted vetrans of vietnam returning, after their forced tour of duty.
It has been scrutinized in every possible way, since before it was made available, in the 1960's.No, it dosen't affect one's ability to drive.No, you don't get 'high'.I would ask that you do your research
(which you,as a tax payer, have already paid for.)The research is there, for anyone to read.Please do your homework, before passing more needless laws, which only serve to lead us into ignoance.The "drug problem", came into existence, the day after legilation was passed, to demonize, and outlaw them.If you study your history, drug laws were passed to be used against the "lesser races".A knee jerk reaction to racisim.(I don't write history, nor do I make it up.)We live in a free country, where it is still legal to read and study it, for yourself.Please do so!

Get a F'N Clue steve stemler

I would love to challenge State Representative Steve Stemler to a debate on this subject. He might be a goverment official and be of high intelligence, however in a debate on this topic i would literally stomp his ass. What a uneducated fool, comparing a MMT client to a person just out of surgery when driving a vehicle. Let me tell you Mr. Stemler, after i dose in the morning, i drive an hour to work and then continue to work for 10 to 12 hours. I certainly do not think that someone leaving surgery would be nearly able to drive and certainly wouldn't be able to work for a half a day. So if you are going to declare that you're main basis for SB 157 then you need to get another analogy buddy. Instead of just being a prick why not try and use some intelligence, maybe the intelligence that got you where you are today because you definitely aren't using it right now. This bill is sooo outrageous and ridiculous its not even funny. If you want me to have a designated driver after i dose, then you sir better make sure every f'kn patient that goes to a pharmacy that gets prescribed to narcotics better have a damn DD everywhere they go. And one more thing, if this bill does pass, please get ready to build extensions to all of the county jails in indiana because you sure as hell will need the extra space with over 10,000 persons on methadone that you are trying to endanger, so go get educated before you use your power and make a dumbass decision

What's even scarier is that

What's even scarier is that with the thousands who simply CAN'T get to their clinic every day will have no other choice but to stop going. If a single clinic loses hundreds of paients,it will no doubt cause at least some to close their doors. After all,they ARE businesses. They have to pay their counselors,nurses,doctors,security,building costs,property taxes,electricity,clinic fees,etc. Many patients drive far distances and it's hard enough getting there themselves let alone having someone else take them. I personally have about an hour's drive one way-which is not TOO bad,but some drive MUCH further than that... a lot of patients will be screwed.

I believe there's an over-all bigger motive behind these new amendments. Those here who say the senators and house members need "educated" before they introduce bills such as this...well,they are. There's NO WAY any politician would attempt to introduce something of this nature without being at least minimally aware of methadone and it's effects. They know. At least they know as much as they CARE to know...

I believe they know this will be a tremendous strain on the clinics themselves. Possibly even causing enough financial damage to,hopefully in their eyes,cause them to collapse on themselves and force closures. Clinics are looked down upon-everyone knows this. What better way to deal with the "problem" of clinics than to eliminate them?

What will we do?

I've been a patient at an Indiana clinic for almost 7 years now. I am a single mother of 2 and take care of my elderly father. I also work full time. I am terrified of what I will have to do when this designated driver crap goes into effect. I can't stop thinking of my past days when I used and how I DO NOT ever want to go back to that. I feel as though I will be forced to because some uneducated jerk decided methadone patients are intoxicated after they dose. Is there anything we, as patients, can do to prevent this? I am afraid my life will become a mess again after 7 years of getting it all back together since being on MMT. If these people knew the facts about methadone they would never try to pass something like this. I thought it was bad everyone got harrassed by the cops almost every day on the street leading to the clinic and now this. Looks like they will do anything, short of shutting the places down, to get us "dope heads" out of their community. Good luck to all in this situation!!

surgery patients compared to MMT patients..what the hell?

you have got to be kidding me. when a person goes into surgery they are sedated so as not to wake up and feel the pain, cutting into the skin and/or organs, etc. that absolutely CAN NOT be compared to methadone patients. surgery patients may be prescribed narcotics after the surgery but the reason they ARE NOT ALLOWED TO DRIVE THEMSELVES HOME IS BECAUSE THEY HAVE BEEN SEDATED FOR THE SURGERY. what kind of idiot would compare that to a patient at a methadone clinic who is tolerant of their dose and feels absolutely NO side effects from their methadone dose. this is going to cause so many problems for people in a methadone program who have worked so hard to get their lives back together. methadone maintenance can be a very effective and positive thing for heroin addicts. that has been proven in recent studies. please do your research before you agree with such a ludacris decision as having a designated driver after dosing.

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