Methadone Clinics in Saint Petersburg

Rules and Regulations

Saint Petersburg, Pinellas County, Florida adheres to strict federal and state regulations regarding methadone clinics, outlined by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the Florida Department of Children and Families.

Certification Procedures

To operate legally in Florida, methadone clinics must:

  • Be certified by SAMHSA
  • Meet accreditation standards set by national organizations
  • Comply with state regulations on staffing, counseling services, etc.
  • Renew licenses annually

Benefits of Methadone Treatment

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) with methadone has been shown to:

  • Reduce opioid cravings and withdrawal symptoms
  • Lower risk of overdose death
  • Allow people to function normally and participate in society
  • Facilitate participation in counseling and behavioral therapies

How Clinics Operate

Certified methadone clinics provide daily supervised methadone dosing along with counseling and other services to support recovery from opioid addiction. Clinics take a comprehensive approach focused on the patient’s medical, psychological, and socioeconomic needs.

Insurance Coverage

Public and private insurance plans, including Medicaid and Medicare, typically cover methadone treatment to some extent. Uninsured patients may qualify for free or discounted services through publicly-funded programs. Restrictions, limitations, and prior authorization requirements vary greatly between plans.

Drug Use in St. Petersburg

The opioid crisis has been declared a public health emergency in Florida. According to the Florida Department of Health, in 2020 there were:

  • 7,585 drug overdose deaths in Florida
  • 792 opioid-related deaths in Pinellas County
  • 131 fentanyl-caused deaths in St. Petersburg

The most commonly abused substances in St. Petersburg are:

  • Alcohol
  • Marijuana
  • Prescription opioids
  • Cocaine
  • Methamphetamine

Addiction Treatment Overview in St. Petersburg

Inpatient Treatment

Inpatient treatment involves staying at a rehab facility for 24/7 monitoring and care. The typical length of stay is 30 days. Services include detoxification, counseling, group therapy, and aftercare planning.

Outpatient Treatment

Outpatient treatment provides services while living at home. Patients attend sessions 1-5 times per week for 1-2 hours. Services are provided at clinics, hospitals, or private practices.

Treatment Level Unreported

An estimated 10-20% of Floridians struggling with addiction do not seek treatment. Barriers include cost, availability, and social stigma.

Comparison of Treatment in St. Petersburg vs. Tampa

CriteriaSt. PetersburgTampa
Treatment Facilities1525
Inpatient Beds Available500800
Cost of Treatment$15,000/month$20,000/month

Methadone Treatment

What is Methadone

Methadone is a medication used in medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for opioid use disorder (OUD). It is an opioid agonist that works by binding to the opioid receptors in the brain, reducing cravings and withdrawal symptoms. Methadone is taken orally once daily and administered through opioid treatment programs (OTPs), also known as methadone clinics. Patients must visit the clinic daily to receive their dose under supervision. This adherence monitoring is a key principle of OTPs.

Societal perspectives on methadone treatment are mixed. While some view it as merely replacing one opioid addiction with another, methadone relieves painful withdrawal symptoms when prescribed properly. It allows patients to function normally and focus on recovery. However, methadone does have potential for misuse and diversion, so dispensing must be carefully monitored.

Methadone Distribution

Methadone distribution is highly regulated with several monitoring requirements:

  • Urine testing: Methadone maintenance patients must undergo at least eight random drug tests in the first year of treatment to detect illicit drug use.
  • Take-home requirements: During the first 14 days of treatment, the take-home supply of methadone is limited to a 24-hour dose. After 2 years of compliance, patients can earn a maximum 30-day supply.
  • Monitoring: Methadone treatment programs should have an interprofessional team of medical, counseling, and support staff to monitor patient progress.
  • Prescription drug monitoring: Clinicians should review PDMP data to carefully cross-reference other opioid prescriptions with methadone dosage, as it has a narrow therapeutic index.

In Florida, methadone is a Schedule II controlled substance requiring a prescription. Pinellas County has OTP clinics providing methadone treatment.

Methadone Treatment Effectiveness Research

Methadone is an effective medication for treating OUD that has been used since 1947. Studies show methadone reduces opioid use, disease transmission, and crime. Patients had 33% fewer opioid-positive drug tests and were 4.44 times more likely to stay in treatment. Retention in treatment reduces overdose and disease transmission risk while increasing employment.

However, methadone does have drawbacks. There is potential for misuse and diversion. Withdrawal symptoms can be severe if stopped suddenly. It can prolong the QT interval, causing cardiac issues. There is also respiratory depression and overdose risk when combined with other substances like benzodiazepines.

Compared to other medications, methadone is equally effective as buprenorphine for reducing opioid use. However, careful monitoring and management of risks is still required.

In conclusion, methadone has demonstrated benefits but also risks requiring oversight.

About Saint Petersburg

Saint Petersburg is located in Pinellas County on the west central coast of Florida, United States.

Location, County & List of Neighboring States

County: Pinellas

Neighbouring states:

  • Georgia
  • Alabama

Capital and Largest City

The capital and largest city is Tampa.

Land Area

The land area of Saint Petersburg is 61.7 square miles.


The main infrastructure includes roads, bridges, airports, seaports, public transportation, and water and sewer systems.

Population Statistics

Total Population

The total population of Saint Petersburg is 265,098 people as of 2021.



  • Male: 47%
  • Female: 53%

Age Brackets

  • Under 18 years: 15.4%
  • 18 to 64 years: 57.3%
  • 65 years and over: 27.3%


The top occupations are:

  • Management, business, science, and arts: 39%
  • Sales and office: 24%
  • Service: 20%
  • Natural resources, construction, maintenance: 11%
  • Production, transportation, and material moving: 6%