We Speak Methadone (and buprenorphine)

Epidemic leads Indiana to expand methadone programs
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Author:  tndirector [ Sat Jul 18, 2015 1:34 pm ]
Post subject:  Epidemic leads Indiana to expand methadone programs

'Horrible epidemic of drug abuse' leads state to expand methadone programs

Posted: Friday, July 17, 2015 10:58 pm
By Maureen Hayden CNHI State Reporter • Indianapolis

A swelling tide of heroin and opioid addictions is prompting the state to soften its ban on new methadone clinics.

A move to allow a handful of new clinics — which lawmakers authorized in part to combat an HIV outbreak tied to opioid abuse — also allows for Medicaid coverage of methadone and other addiction treatments for the first time in years.

The drug is controversial. It’s long been used as an inexpensive, long-term treatment for opioid addiction, but critics say it, too, is addictive. A synthetic form of opium, it is easily abused.

“My concern has been that it gets people off illegal addiction and into legal addiction,” said Senate Public Health Chairman Patricia Miller, R-Indianapolis, a longtime supporter of the ban.

But Miller carried the legislation, effective this month, allowing new methadone treatment programs under strict conditions.
Passed with bipartisan support, the law allows up to five new clinics by 2018. They can only open in communities where the treatment isn’t now offered — such as rural Scott County, the seat of the HIV outbreak in southern Indiana.

New clinics must be associated with a hospital or community mental health center, and the law allows the state to use federal Medicaid dollars to pay for the methadone treatment. Until now, that was illegal.

Indiana already has 13 methadone clinics, serving about 14,000 addicts a year, according to state analysts. All but three are for-profit, charging $65 to $100 per week for a course of treatment that involves daily doses.

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