CALIFORNIA DRUG AND ALCOHOL CLINIC SAYS “NO” TO METHADONE
A Better Tomorrow Treatment Center Inc. has found that its pain management program effectively treats drug and alcohol addicts without methadone, which has been linked to thousands of accidental deaths
“There is no reason why people with chronic pain or opioid dependence should be given methadone when much safer treatment methods are available.” – Jim Fent, MS, MFT, PT, A Better Tomorrow’s clinical director
MURRIETA, Calif., Feb. 16, 2009 – The statistics from the federal Centers for Disease Control are alarming.
Between 1999 and 2005, the CDC found, methadone-related deaths increased at a faster rate than deaths caused by any other narcotic drug, from 786 deaths in 1999 to 4,462 deaths in 2005, a 468 percent increase.
Yet methadone continues to be used. Drug and alcohol treatment centers use it as a replacement drug to treat opioid dependence, even though methadone itself is addicting, while physicians use it to treat patients with chronic pain.
“It doesn’t have to be this way,” said Jim Fent, MS, MFT, PT, clinical director of A Better Tomorrow Treatment Center Inc. in Murrieta, Calif. “There is no reason why people with chronic pain or opioid dependence should be given methadone when much safer treatment methods are available.”
A Better Tomorrow launched a comprehensive pain management program in 2006 and has successfully treated more than 40 people with chronic pain combined with drug dependency issues, Fent said.
Other drug and alcohol treatment centers, he added, are increasingly exploring the merits of using a multidisciplinary approach to treat individuals with chronic pain who are chemically dependent or are abusing prescription painkillers.
A Better Tomorrow’s treatment programs are tailored to meet each individual’s biological, psychological, social and spiritual needs. The abstinence-based program uses a 12-step recovery method, which includes anger management, stress management and chemical dependency courses. Individual and family psychotherapy sessions are also provided. In addition, residential clients exercise daily at a national fitness chain and have access to the clinic’s on-site gym with one-on-one exercise instruction with a physical therapist.
Fent said A Better Tomorrow’s pain management program is a welcome alternative for patients who would otherwise seek methadone, which has been used to treat pain in drug and alcohol addicts since the 1970s, despite methadone’s high risks for addiction, debilitating side effects and death when not properly used.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a public health advisory warning consumers of the risks associated with methadone use. However, the FDA has not banned its use.
“These deaths and life-threatening side effects have occurred in patients newly starting methadone for pain control and in patients who have switched to methadone after being treated for pain with other strong narcotic pain relievers,” the FDA said in its advisory, adding, “Methadone can cause slow or shallow breathing and dangerous changes in heart beat that may not be felt by the patient.”
Based in Murrieta, Calif., A Better Tomorrow is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF), placing it in the top 5 percent of drug and alcohol treatment centers in California. For more information about A Better Tomorrow, please contact Jerrod Menz at (800) 757-9867. Additional information is available on the clinic’s website at http://www.abttc.com/.