Methadone Clinics in South San Francisco

Rules and Regulations

South San Francisco, San Mateo County, California, United States adheres to strict federal and state regulations regarding methadone clinics, outlined by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the California Department of Health Care Services.

Certification Procedures

  • Methadone clinics must be certified by SAMHSA and licensed by the state health department.
  • Staff must meet educational and training requirements.
  • Facilities must meet opioid treatment program standards.

Benefits of Medication-Assisted Treatment

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) with methadone helps individuals with opioid use disorder by:

  • Preventing painful withdrawal symptoms
  • Reducing opioid cravings
  • Allowing people to focus on their recovery

How Clinics Operate and Their Purpose

Methadone clinics provide daily doses of methadone to treat opioid dependency. The medication blocks the euphoric effects of opioids and relieves withdrawal symptoms. In addition to medication, clinics offer counseling and other support services to help clients work toward recovery goals.

Insurance Coverage

  • Most private insurance plans and Medicaid cover methadone treatment. Some clinics also offer treatment on a sliding scale based on income for those without insurance. Grants and public funding may also be available to provide low-cost or free treatment.
  • Both public and private insurance plans typically have some coverage for substance abuse treatment, but benefits vary. Contact insurance providers for specifics on methadone treatment coverage.

Drug Use in South San Francisco

Opioid Crisis Declared Public Health Emergency

In 2017, there were 1,969 opioid overdose deaths in California – a rate of 4.9 deaths per 100,000 persons. This is lower than the national rate of 14.6 deaths per 100,000 persons.

Statistics on Drug Overdoses and Deaths

  • The most commonly abused substances in California are alcohol, marijuana, stimulants like methamphetamine, and prescription opioids.
  • Alcohol contributes to around 10,500 deaths in California each year.
  • Marijuana is the most commonly detected drug in California drivers who die in car crashes.

Addiction Treatment Overview

Inpatient Treatment

Inpatient treatment involves staying at a facility 24/7 for 1-3 months typically. It includes medical detox, counseling, group therapy, medication management, and aftercare planning.

Outpatient Treatment

Outpatient treatment provides 9-12 hours of services per week while living at home. It includes counseling, group therapy, medication management, and recovery support services.

Treatment Level Unreported

Around 11% of treatment facilities do not report their treatment level. Estimates suggest most of these provide a mix of low-intensity outpatient and medium-intensity residential services.

Comparison of Treatment in South San Francisco vs. San Francisco

CategorySouth San FranciscoSan Francisco
Treatment Facilities15123
Inpatient Beds181,267
Cost of Treatment$10,000/month$15,000/month

Methadone Treatment

What is Methadone

Methadone is a medication used in medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for opioid use disorder (OUD). It binds to opioid receptors in the brain, reducing cravings and withdrawal symptoms. Methadone treatment programs, also called opioid treatment programs (OTPs), provide methadone dosing in a structured environment with counseling and other services. The goal is to stabilize individuals with OUD on a safe, effective dose of methadone, allowing them to function without using illegal opioids.

Methadone acts as a long-acting opioid, meaning it only needs to be taken once daily. It does not provide the same high as short-acting opioids like heroin or prescription painkillers. While on a proper dose of methadone, individuals are able to go about their daily lives and focus on recovery.

Methadone treatment has faced stigma due to misconceptions that it is simply replacing one addiction with another. However, research shows methadone is safe and effective when administered properly. Many experts consider MAT the gold standard treatment for OUD. Still, some view methadone as a “crutch” that does not address the root causes of addiction. Counseling provided through OTPs helps individuals make lifestyle changes needed for long-term recovery. Overall, public perception of methadone treatment has become more positive as the opioid epidemic continues.

Methadone Distribution

Methadone distribution is strictly regulated to prevent misuse and diversion. Patients must attend an OTP in person for dose administration and ongoing monitoring:

  • Urine Testing: Patients undergo random urine drug screens to ensure they are taking their prescribed dose and not using other opioids. At least eight tests are required in the first treatment year.
  • Take-Home Doses: For the first 14 days, methadone is only dispensed as a single daily dose. Over time, stable patients can earn take-home doses as a privilege for progress made in treatment.
  • Interprofessional Team: OTPs have nurses, counselors, and doctors to monitor patient progress and coordinate care.
  • Prescription Drug Monitoring: Clinicians check the state PDMP to ensure safe methadone dosage and prevent dangerous drug interactions.

In California, methadone is a Schedule II controlled substance due to its potential for abuse. Only licensed OTPs can distribute it for treating OUD.

Methadone Treatment Effectiveness

Methadone has been used to treat opioid addiction since 1947. Extensive research shows it is an effective medication for OUD when combined with counseling and social services.

Studies demonstrate methadone significantly reduces opioid use. Patients on methadone have 33% fewer opioid-positive drug tests. Methadone also increases treatment retention. Individuals staying in treatment are 4.44 times more likely to complete or graduate from the program. Treatment retention reduces the risk of overdose death and disease transmission through injection drug use. It also increases the likelihood of obtaining employment.

However, methadone does have risks requiring careful management. Potential drawbacks include misuse/diversion, severe withdrawal if stopped suddenly, QTc prolongation, respiratory depression when combined with other substances, and overdose potential.

Compared to other medications like buprenorphine, methadone has similar efficacy in reducing illicit opioid use. Overall, methadone provides substantial benefits but also has risks necessitating close supervision.

When combined with counseling and social services, methadone is an effective medication for OUD, but proper administration and monitoring are critical.

About South San Francisco

South San Francisco is located in San Mateo County in the state of California, United States. It is bordered by San Francisco to the north and San Bruno to the south.

Location, County & Neighboring Cities

County: San Mateo

Major neighboring cities:

  • San Francisco (north)
  • San Bruno (south)
  • Daly City (west)

Capital & Largest City

The capital and largest city is Sacramento, CA.

Land Area

  • Total area: 30.8 square miles
  • Land area: 9.14 square miles
  • Water area: 21.66 square miles


  • Miles of public roads: 300 miles
  • Public transportation: Caltrain, SamTrans buses

Population Statistics

Population: 66,174 (2010 Census)



  • Male: 51%
  • Female: 49%

Age Brackets

  • Under 18 years: 20%
  • 18 to 65 years: 69%
  • Over 65 years: 11%


  • Management/professional: 42%
  • Service sector: 23%
  • Sales/Office: 22%
  • Construction/production/transportation: 13%