Methadone is one MAT drug used in the treatment of heroin and other prescription drugs containing opioids. Methadone blocks the effects of heroin and opioids, eliminates withdrawal symptoms, and relieves drug cravings.
Treatment with Methadone helps patients engage in counseling as well as medical and mental health treatments. Methadone treatment has also been proven to help patients return to work or school, to become involved parents, and to avoid risky behaviors such as sex work and injection.
There are currently 11 methadone clinics in the State of Maine.
Buprenorphine / Suboxone
In combination with counseling and behavioral therapies, buprenorphine provides a whole-patient approach to the treatment of opioid dependency. When taken as prescribed, buprenorphine is safe and effective. Unlike methadone treatment, which must be performed in a highly structured clinic, buprenorphine is permitted to be prescribed or dispensed in physician offices, significantly increasing treatment access.
Suboxone contains the additional ingredient naloxone to guard against misuse.
These drugs work by blocking withdrawal and may also help with drug cravings. These drugs are most appropriately used for persons who have used opioids for less than one year.
Naltrexone as an injectable extended release drug (Vivitrol) that blocks the euphoric and sedative effects of drugs such as heroin, morphine, and codeine. It works differently in the body than buprenorphine and methadone, which activate opioid receptors in the body that suppress cravings.
Naltrexone binds and blocks opioid receptors and is reported to reduce opioid cravings. There is no abuse and diversion potential with naltrexone. Individuals must not have opioids in their system before starting vivitrol, otherwise withdrawal will be extra strong.
Officers should familiarize themselves with treatment and recovery options in their areas. The best state-wide resource to identify local options is Maine’s 2-1-1 system.