Methadone Clinics in South Charleston

Rules and Regulations

South Charleston, Kanawha County, West Virginia, United States adheres to strict regulations regarding methadone clinics, outlined by the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, Bureau for Behavioral Health and Health Facilities.

Certification procedures

  • Clinics must submit documentation showing they meet all requirements related to personnel, policies and procedures, facility standards, and more
  • Clinics must comply with federal and state regulations regarding patient eligibility, treatment protocols, record keeping, security, and more
  • Initial certification is followed by annual recertification surveys to ensure ongoing compliance

Benefits of Medication-Assisted Treatment

  • Reduces illicit opioid use and risk of overdose
  • Improves patient survival and increases treatment retention
  • Allows normalization of brain function disrupted by addiction
  • Provides opportunity to make positive lifestyle changes through counseling

How Clinics Operate and Their Purpose

Clinics provide medication-assisted treatment using methadone or other approved medications to treat opioid use disorder. Treatment plans include medication administration, drug testing, counseling, and other services to help patients achieve sobriety.

Insurance Coverage

Medicaid covers methadone treatment. Some private insurance plans may also provide coverage, but benefits can vary. Uninsured patients may qualify for treatment at little or no cost through state and federally-funded programs.

Drug Use in South Charleston

Opioid crisis declared public health emergency

In 2017, the opioid crisis was declared a nationwide public health emergency by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Statistics on drug overdoses and deaths

  • In 2020, there were 1,275 drug overdose deaths involving opioids in West Virginia – a rate of 49.6 deaths per 100,000 persons compared to the national rate of 20.6 deaths per 100,000.
  • Overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids other than methadone increased over 15% from 2019 to 2020 in West Virginia.

Data on the prevalence of different substances

  • Alcohol, methamphetamine, and marijuana are commonly abused substances in addition to prescription opioids in West Virginia according to SAMHSA.

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 consists of periodic services for 4-6 hours a day, 3 days a week. It involves counseling, therapy, and drug testing.

Treatment Level Unreported

An estimated 10-20% of treatment facilities do not report treatment levels according to SAMHSA data.

Comparison of Treatment in South Charleston vs. Huntington

CategoriesSouth CharlestonHuntington
Treatment facilities1514
Inpatient beds available500450
Cost of treatment$10,000$12,000

Methadone Treatment

What is Methadone

Methadone is a long-acting opioid agonist medication used in medication-assisted treatment (MAT) programs, also known as opioid treatment programs (OTPs), to treat opioid use disorder. It binds to opioid receptors and reduces cravings and withdrawal symptoms. It is taken orally once daily in supervised medical settings.

Methadone maintenance treatment provides a legally obtained opioid to stabilize patients and avoid the highs and lows of illicit opioid use. It allows the normalization of brain function. The OTP model requires daily supervised dosing and counseling to promote recovery.

Methadone treatment has faced stigma as “trading one addiction for another.” However, research shows it is an effective harm-reduction strategy. Many now recognize it helps patients lead more stable, productive lives. But myths persist, so public education is important.

Simply put, methadone is a medicine that makes people with opioid addiction feel normal, not high, so they can function without using illegal opioids. It’s taken daily with counseling to help people recover.

Methadone Distribution

Description of monitoring and regulations:

  • Urine testing: Methadone maintenance patients must undergo at least eight tests in the first year of treatment to ensure no illicit drug use.
  • Take-home requirements: For the first 14 days, patients must take methadone doses daily on-site. After progress in treatment, take-home doses are allowed but regulated to prevent misuse.
  • Monitoring: Methadone clinics have teams of nurses, counselors, and doctors to monitor patient progress and methadone use.
  • Prescription drug monitoring: Doctors check the state’s prescription database to ensure safe methadone dosage and no interactions with other medications.

South Charleston drug classifications

  • West Virginia classifies drugs into 5 schedules based on accepted medical use and abuse potential
  • The West Virginia Prescription Drug Monitoring Program tracks prescribing and dispensing of controlled substances
  • The Office of National Drug Control Policy partners with West Virginia agencies to combat drug abuse and trafficking

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 and disease transmission risks and increases employment.

Major Drawbacks

Potential for misuse/diversion exists. Sudden cessation can cause severe withdrawal. It can prolong the QT interval on EKGs. Respiratory depression or overdose can occur when combined with other substances.

Comparison to Other Medications

Methadone and buprenorphine are equally effective for reducing illicit opioid use.

Methadone has demonstrated benefits but also risks requiring careful management.

About South Charleston

Location, County & List of Neighboring States

South Charleston is located in Kanawha County, West Virginia, United States. West Virginia shares borders with the following states:

  • Maryland
  • Pennsylvania
  • Ohio
  • Kentucky
  • Virginia

Capital and Largest City

The capital and largest city in West Virginia is Charleston.

Land Area

South Charleston has a total area of 8.83 square miles.

Infrastructure

South Charleston has a good transportation infrastructure including roads, railways, and an airport. The city is served by Interstate 64, Interstate 77, and Interstate 79. It also has a stop on the Kanawha River Railroad line. The Charleston Yeager Airport is located just north of South Charleston.

Population Statistics

Total population

The population of South Charleston was 12,964 at the 2010 census.

Gender

  • Male: 48.5%
  • Female: 51.5%

Age Brackets

  • Under 18 years: 19.1%
  • 18 to 64 years: 59.3%
  • 65 years and over: 21.6%

Occupations

The top occupations in South Charleston are management, sales, office, production, and transportation.