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  • Approximately 115,000 Americans rely on a prescription medication called methadone to help them battle addiction to heroin, reports PBS.org. To obtain methadone in the United States, patients typically visit health care centers known as methadone clinics.

    Features

    At the clinic, physicians perform medical tests to diagnose any health problems in patients and then determine a safe dosage of methadone for them to take. Most clinics provide counselors for patients to provide advice throughout the treatment process.

    Time Frame

    Patients typically visit methadone clinics for a daily dose of medication. Once the heroin addiction is under control, doctors gradually decrease the dosage of methadone over the course of approximately six months until eventually the patient no longer takes any medication at all, explains Methadone-clinic.com.

    Cost

    Methadone clinics typically charge fees for the initial examination appointment and then an additional fee with each visit. A 2001 study conducted at the Center for Health Services, Economics, and Policy Research, at the Research Triangle Institute in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina found that the average cost for the initial consultation and medical examination was $116 and the average cost for each visit afterward was $20.

    Benefits

    Methadone clinics perform regular drug testing to ensure that patients remain free of heroin, which helps hold them accountable. The methadone dispensed at clinics helps addicts avoid symptoms of withdrawal, while not providing the same high as heroin.

    Considerations

    The daily visits to methadone clinics may make it difficult for recovering addicts to work. In addition, some people may not wish to visit a clinic for fear of being seen entering or leaving it.

    Source:

    PBS.org: Methadone Maintenance

    Methadone-Clinic.com: What Methadone Treatment is Like?

    NLM Gateway: The Cost of Methadone Treatment: Results from a National Sample of Treatment Programs

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