Methadone: A cure or an addiction?

ST. GEORGE – Last month, a St. George man was arrested for filing a false police report after officers say the man filled out multiple police reports on different occasions saying someone had stolen his prescription medications.
After filing several reports, officers began investigating the man in October. In November, the man went in again to report his medications were stolen, and was arrested by police.
Lt. David Moss, head of the Washington County Drug Task Force, said officers investigated and interviewed the man’s family and friends, and discovered the man was obtaining his prescriptions from three different doctors. Allegedly, the doctors did not know he was being prescribed medication by another physician, Moss said.
“He wasn’t disclosing to each of them that he was getting medications from the other doctors,” Moss said in a phone interview.
Moss said the man is addicted to prescription drugs and it was Moss’ hope that once the man made it through the withdrawal period, that hopefully he would have a chance to function in society without the drugs.
It’s a problem Moss sees almost daily, residents of Washington County addicted to illegal substances, or taking too much of something that started out to be good for them, such as certain prescribed medications. But the addiction can ruin people lives, he said.
Residents hoping to curb their addictions and get help can visit the St. George Metro Treatment Center, a local methadone clinic. Methadone, a synthetic drug, is supposed to suppress withdrawal symptoms and lessen the craving for opiates.
But some residents are concerned that methadone is just trading in one bad habit for another. A Washington County resident who asked that her name not be used so as not to give away the identity of her family member, said she believes the methadone clinic is making things worse. Her family member has been visiting for a few years, she said, and is now addicted to the methadone.
Colonial Management Group, the parent company for the St. George Metro Treatment Center, declined an interview with Dixie Press, however, they said all the information could be found on their website,
Moss said that methadone is also addictive, but that it doesn’t have the bad side effects of heroine.
“We arrest people for getting too much methadone, or selling methadone,” he said. “I only see the bad side of it, when people are high on it.”
However, according to CMG’s website, the clinic gives the methadone in a controlled environment in the beginning and, coupled with counseling, has a high rate of success.
The website states:
“Methadone maintenance is a long-term treatment for opiate addictions of all types. There is no specific length of time in a medicated assisted program that is best for everyone. Since methadone programs are voluntary, the length of time spent in treatment depends greatly on the patient. The longer you stay in treatment, the greater your chances for success. Initially, the patient must visit the clinic regularly and receive his/her medication, yet over time the successful patient earns privileges.  These can include fewer clinic visits and eligibility for take home medications as allowed by your state regulations. This allows many patients to lead normal, productive lives, working and caring for their families and enjoying an active social life; all on an outpatient basis so your life is minimally disrupted.”

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