Methadone Clinics in Tacoma

Rules and Regulations

Tacoma and Pierce County adhere to strict federal and state regulations regarding methadone clinics, outlined by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the Washington State Department of Health. All clinics must be certified and meet standards of dispensing and dosing.

Certification Procedures

To operate in Washington, methadone clinics must:

  • Be certified by SAMHSA
  • Meet accreditation standards
  • Have certified medical staff
  • Follow controlled medication dispensing and dosing protocols

Benefits of Medication-Assisted Treatment

Methadone treatment has been shown to:

  • Reduce opioid withdrawal and cravings
  • Allow people to focus on their health and recovery
  • Lower the risk of overdose
  • Assist people in regaining stability in their lives

How Clinics Operate and Their Purpose

Methadone clinics provide monitored, controlled daily doses of methadone to treat opioid use disorder. This replaces shorter-acting opioids and reduces withdrawal and cravings. The clinics offer counseling and support services to help clients work towards recovery and positive life changes.

Insurance Coverage

Many private insurance plans and Washington Medicaid cover methadone treatment. Some clinics offer services on a sliding scale based on income and family size for those without adequate insurance. Medicaid coverage includes assessment, treatment planning, medication administration, labs, and counseling. There are also some government and non-profit-funded treatment programs available free of charge or at low cost.

Drug Use in Tacoma

The opioid crisis has been declared a public health emergency in Washington. Key statistics include:

  • Over 1,300 opioid-related overdose deaths in 2020 across Washington
  • Heroin and prescription opioids remain highly prevalent

Addiction Treatment Overview

Inpatient Treatment

Inpatient treatment involves staying at a facility while undergoing intensive treatment. Typical features include:

  • Length of stay between 30-90 days on average
  • Detoxification, counseling, behavioral therapy, medication

Outpatient Treatment

Outpatient treatment allows the patient to live at home while getting treatment services. This typically involves:

  • 1-5 treatment sessions per week at a facility
  • Group and individual therapy, medication management

Treatment Level Unreported

Many who could benefit from treatment may not seek it out. Reasons can include social stigma, lack of access, or denial of addiction.

Comparison of Treatment in Tacoma vs. Seattle

Treatment Centers2563
Inpatient Beds150850
Cost of Treatment$15,000$30,000

Methadone Treatment

What is Methadone

Methadone is a long-acting opioid agonist medication used in medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for opioid use disorder. It is taken orally once daily and binds to opioid receptors in the brain, reducing cravings and withdrawal symptoms. Methadone is dispensed through federally regulated opioid treatment programs (OTPs).

Methadone activates the same opioid receptors as drugs like heroin, morphine, and oxycodone. It reduces withdrawal and craving by acting as a replacement opioid with a longer duration of action. This allows patients to function normally without experiencing euphoria or sedation. Methadone is only available through OTPs that provide counseling and monitoring to reduce misuse.

Opinions on methadone are mixed. Some see it as trading one addiction for another. However, research shows methadone is an effective treatment that reduces illegal opioid use, overdose deaths, and transmission of diseases like HIV and hepatitis when combined with counseling. It helps people return to work and lead productive lives. Overall, methadone has more benefits than risks when properly monitored.

Methadone tricks the brain into thinking it is still getting the problem opioid by attaching to the same receptors and stopping withdrawal. This gives time to work on counseling and make life changes without being driven by cravings.

Methadone Distribution

Description of monitoring and regulations:

  • Urine testing: Methadone patients must take at least 8 random drug tests in the first year to ensure they are not taking illegal or non-prescribed opioids.
  • Take-home requirements: For the first 14 days, patients must take methadone at the clinic daily. After meeting program rules, take-home doses are allowed but limited.
  • Monitoring: OTPs have teams including doctors, counselors, and nurses to provide comprehensive treatment and safely dispense methadone.
  • Prescription monitoring: Methadone interacts dangerously with other drugs, so providers carefully review state prescription databases before adjusting doses.

Tacoma Drug Classifications:

  • Opioids – Schedule II per Washington State Law
  • Stimulants – Schedule II per Washington State Law
  • Benzodiazepines – Schedule IV per Washington State Law

Methadone Treatment Effectiveness Research

Methadone is an effective medication for treating opioid use disorder used since 1947.

Evidence for Effectiveness

Studies show methadone reduces opioid use, disease transmission, and crime. Patients on methadone have 33% fewer opioid-positive drug tests. They are 4.44 times more likely to stay in treatment, which reduces overdose risk and increases employment.

Major Drawbacks

Methadone has the potential for misuse and diversion. Withdrawal is severe if the medication is stopped suddenly. It can cause QTc prolongation and cardiac issues in some people. Combining methadone with other substances increases the risk of respiratory depression and overdose.

Comparison to Other Medications

Methadone is equally effective as buprenorphine for reducing opioid use.

Methadone has demonstrated benefits but also risks requiring careful management under the supervision of opioid treatment programs.

About Tacoma

Location, County & List of Neighboring States

Tacoma is located in Pierce County in the state of Washington, in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. Washington is bordered by Oregon, Idaho, the Canadian province of British Columbia, and the Pacific Ocean.

Capital and Largest City

Olympia is the capital of Washington, while Seattle is the largest city.

Land Area

The total land area of Tacoma is about 62 square miles.


Key infrastructure and industries in Tacoma include:

  • Port of Tacoma
  • Transportation networks
  • Manufacturing

Population Statistics

Total Population

The population of Tacoma is approximately 210,000 as of 2019.



  • Male: 50.1%
  • Female: 49.9%

Age Brackets

  • Under 18 years: 22.4%
  • 18 to 65 years: 63.1%
  • Over 65 years: 14.5%


Major occupations in Tacoma include healthcare, retail trade, education, and manufacturing. The largest employers are Joint Base Lewis–McChord, MultiCare Health System, and Washington State Government.