Methadone Clinics in Laredo

Rules and Regulations

Laredo, Webb County, Texas adheres to strict federal and state regulations regarding methadone clinics, outlined by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the Texas Department of State Health Services.

Certification Procedures

  • Methadone clinics must be certified by SAMHSA and licensed by the state health department. Staff must meet educational and licensing criteria.
  • Clinics must follow safety and treatment protocols and are subject to regular auditing and inspections.

Benefits of Medication-Assisted Treatment

  • Methadone and other medication assistance helps individuals recover from opioid addiction and prevents dangerous withdrawal symptoms. It supports long-term recovery goals.
  • Treatment lowers the risk of contracting or spreading infectious diseases associated with opioid abuse.
  • Treatment has been shown to decrease criminal behavior associated with illicit opioid use.

How Clinics Operate and Their Purpose

  • Clinics provide daily monitored methadone doses to eliminate withdrawal symptoms and reduce opiate cravings in those recovering from addiction.
  • Counseling services are offered to help patients work toward recovery goals focused on health, responsibility and productivity.

Insurance Coverage

Many clinics accept Medicaid, Medicare and private insurance. Those without insurance may qualify for state funding assistance if they meet income criteria.

Drug Use in Laredo

Opioid Crisis Declared Public Health Emergency

In 2017, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services declared the opioid crisis a public health emergency. Both prescription and illicit opioids contribute to overdose deaths across the country.

Statistics on Drug Overdoses and Deaths

  • In 2020, there were over 100,000 drug overdose deaths nationwide, a 30% increase from 2019, according to provisional CDC data. Opioids were involved in 75% of those deaths.
  • In Webb County, TX there were 38 drug overdose deaths in 2020 according to state health data. The specific substances involved are not reported.

Addiction Treatment Overview

Inpatient Treatment

Inpatient facilities provide 24/7 supervised care including medical detoxification, individual and group counseling, medication management, aftercare planning, and other services. Typical stays range from 30-90 days.

Outpatient Treatment

Outpatient programs offer similar services to inpatient but at lower intensity, with patients living on their own. Counseling sessions typically occur 1-5 times per week for several months.

Treatment Level Unreported

Due to limitations in public health data, many patients in treatment have an unreported treatment level. SAMHSA estimates these facilities provide a mix of low-intensity outpatient and moderate non-hospital residential services.

Comparison of Treatment Availability

Facility TypeLaredo, TXSan Antonio, TX
Treatment Facilities1473
Inpatient Beds1341,142
Cost per Treatment Episode$7,500$7,500

Methadone Treatment

What is Methadone

Methadone is an opioid agonist medication used in medication-assisted treatment (MAT) programs like opioid treatment programs (OTPs). It activates opioid receptors in the brain to prevent painful withdrawal symptoms and reduce opioid cravings without inducing a significant euphoric high in patients diagnosed with opioid use disorder.

Methadone maintenance treatment provides daily doses of methadone taken orally to achieve stability, reduce illegal opioid use and prescription opioid misuse, and allow patients to focus on health and social rehabilitation. Regular clinic visits and urine drug screenings monitor compliance.

Societal perspectives on methadone maintenance are mixed. Supporters view it as an evidence-based way to treat opioid addiction. Critics argue it just replaces one opioid addiction with another. However, research shows methadone and other MAT medications can be life-saving when properly managed.

Methadone Distribution

Methadone distribution through certified opioid treatment programs is strictly monitored and regulated:

  • Urine Testing: Methadone maintenance patients must undergo at least eight random drug tests in the first year of treatment to detect any ongoing illicit drug use.
  • Take-Home Requirements: During the first 14 days of methadone treatment, take-home doses are limited to a one-day supply dispensed daily under observation at the clinic. After meeting certain compliance criteria, take-home privileges can be earned gradually over time, capped at a one-month supply in most states.
  • Monitoring: Certified methadone clinics provide oversight through an interprofessional team of medical, counseling, and social work professionals to coordinate care and track progress.
  • Prescription Drug Monitoring: Clinicians should review their state’s prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP) data when initiating or adjusting methadone dosage to carefully cross-reference other opioid medications and avoid unsafe drug interactions due to methadone’s narrow therapeutic window.

In Texas, methadone is a Schedule II controlled prescription substance monitored by the Texas Prescription Monitoring Program. The city of Laredo is located in Webb County.

Methadone Treatment Effectiveness Research

Methadone has been used to treat opioid addiction since 1947. Studies show it is an effective MAT medication for reducing illicit opioid use, disease transmission rates, and drug-related criminal behavior when combined with counseling and social services support.

Compared to untreated opioid addiction, methadone maintenance is associated with:

  • 33% fewer opioid-positive drug tests
  • 4.44 times higher treatment retention
  • Increased employment rates

Remaining in methadone treatment reduces risks of overdose death and contracting infectious diseases through IV drug use.

However, methadone does carry risks including potential for misuse/diversion, severe withdrawal if stopped suddenly, QTc interval prolongation and cardiac issues, as well as increased overdose potential when mixed with certain substances like benzodiazepines due to combined respiratory depression effects.

Research shows methadone and buprenorphine perform equally well in reducing illicit opioid use in medication-assisted treatment programs. However, each medication has its risks and benefits to consider.

Benefits but also risks requiring careful management.

About Laredo

Location, Webb County & Neighboring States

Laredo is located in Webb County in southern Texas, right along the Rio Grande River across from Nuevo Laredo, Mexico. Texas neighbors the states of Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico and the Mexican states of Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León, and Tamaulipas.

Capital & Largest City

As an independent city, Laredo serves as the county seat and is the largest city in Webb County.

Land Area

Laredo covers an area of 102.6 square miles.

Infrastructure

  • Airport: Laredo International Airport
  • Public transit: El Metro Transit bus system
  • Major highways: I-35, US Highway 59 and 83

Population Statistics

Total Population

The population of Laredo is 261,451 as of the 2020 census.

Demographics

Gender

  • Male: 51%
  • Female: 49%

Age Brackets

  • Under 18 years old: 29.8%
  • 18 to 65 years old: 59.7%
  • Over 65 years old: 10.5%

Occupations

  • Management, business, science, and arts occupations: 30.2%
  • Service occupations: 26.3%
  • Sales and office occupations: 23.5%
  • Natural resources, construction, and maintenance occupations: 13.3%
  • Production, transportation, and material moving occupations: 6.7%