Methadone Narcotic Treatment

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What is Narcotic Treatment?

The State of Texas calls use of methadone for addiction “narcotic treatment”.  It’s a form of medication assisted treatment. During narcotic treatment, you take prescribed medications in combination with counseling and talk therapy to treat opiate or opioid use disorder.

So, what is methadone? How does it work?

Methadone is a synthetic, long-acting opioid that works by acting on the brain receptors. It “covers” nerve receptors so that if you take strong drugs, you don’t get high. In the same way, methadone can dull withdrawal symptoms and drug cravings. It is a Schedule II controlled substance…which means that it is habit forming and has the potential for possible addiction if not used as directed.

Public health officials consider medication assisted treatment one of many solutions that can help the growing number of people in the U.S. addicted to opioids. However, use of methadone is controversial. While it can be essential, some people abuse it. That’s why this type of treatment shouldn’t be limited to medicines. Other services include case management and referrals to help with lifestyle changes.

How Methadone Clinics in Work

Narcotic Treatment Programs in Texas are specialized medical clinics that use methadone or buprenorphine to help people reduce or quit their use of heroin or pain killer drugs. It is illegal to use methadone without a prescription, to sell or give it to someone else. There are also laws against forging or altering a prescription or making false representation to obtain methadone or a prescription for the drug.

STEP 1: Screening

You won’t be processed for admission as a patient of a methadone clinic until you have been determined eligible to enter an narcotic treatment program. So, you will be screened by a health care professional to see if you meet the criteria. Exception to this screening phase include pregnant women, patients who have resided in a penal or chronic care institution for one month or longer, and patients who have had two documented attempts at short-term detoxification or drug-free treatment.

The screening process can include a history of your drug use, a medical history, psychological and sociological background questions, educational and vocational achievements, current mental status, and a physical examination. Also, you should be 18 or older with moderate to severe opioid use disorder for at least 12 months in order to qualify to receive methadone.

STEP 2: Admission and Initial Evaluation

After it’s been determined that you meet the criteria for admission, you will be evaluated by the medical director or program physician and clinical staff trained and qualified to perform assessments. The purpose of the evaluation is to determine if methadone treatment is the most appropriate treatment for you. The evaluation usually includes an assessment of your medical, psycho-social, educational, and vocational needs.

STEP 3: Drug Testing

Before receiving methadone, you will have to submit an initial drug test. For the first year of treatment, you will have to submit random drug tests each month, and eight random drug abuse tests yearly afterward.

STEP 4: Treatment Planning

Based on the initial screening and evaluation, your primary counselor will create an individualized treatment plan. The treatment plan will be reviewed at least once each 90 days during the first year of treatment, and at least twice a year thereafter. Planning will include a dosing schedule and outline recommended prescription use. You’ll also be encouraged to seek counseling or talk therapy at the same time you are taking methadone.

Dosing and length of treatment

Typically, most people go to a methadone clinic on a daily basis, six days a week. How long treatment will last is different for each patient, but for methadone maintenance, 12 months is considered the minimum. Some people use methadone for many years. The cost of treatment will be based on your income and expenses, and you may need to pay for some services. If you comply with the rules of the program, you may be allowed a certain quantity of take-home doses.


Counseling and behavioral therapies are an essential part of a Narcotic Treatment Program. They can help you reach stability faster and become a productive member of society. They can help you focus on relapse prevention, gain control over your life and learn to live a drug-free life. Individual and group therapies, family and couples counseling are just some of the services you may be offered.

Methadone Narcotic Treatment

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