Methadone treatment was too restrictive to help my son
Legal and regulatory restrictions create barriers to accessing lifesaving methadone treatment
Fatherhood inspired my son to seek treatment at a methadone clinic. But, repeatedly, he was denied access to this lifesaving treatment.
Once he committed to addressing his opioid use, the clinic rules and regulatory environment made it almost impossible for him to work or see his son.
As patients are required to go daily to take the medication, he would have to go early in the morning to keep his job. However, he would find out that his medication was withheld once he arrived because his counselor needed to see him. He’d often have to choose between going to work or waiting for the counselor to come in and release the hold.
Clinic staff was limited, unlicensed and overworked; many were interns who had no clue what to do. There were few people to help him or help resolve treatment roadblocks.
For instance, he would be penalized for not joining a weekly 5:00pm meeting. It was on Zoom with limited capacity, so when he tried to get on, it was filled by 4:45pm. Furthermore, the clinic dispensed doses from 6:00am to noon. With only one nurse working at 6:00am, the line was so long he couldn’t wait. There was no consideration for him as a person or that he was proactively seeking treatment. He couldn’t meet their demands. He was passing all his urine tests, but they wouldn’t let him take any doses home because he never made a meeting.
These pre-dawn mornings, hours spent in line instead of with his son, and penalties for missed meetings went on for over a year. Ultimately, he decided to just come off of it, as it was more of a burden than a help.
This went on for over a year at which time he decided to just come off of it as it was more of a burden than a help.