Hamilton Center Announces Reimagined Community Events

Diversity Walk and “We Live” take on new forms this week due to COVID-19

Since 2014, residents of Terre Haute and surrounding communities have come together to celebrate diversity and inclusion during the annual Diversity Walk, held each summer. Due to COVID-19, the Walk was unable to occur, but the Diversity Committee, which is made up of community volunteers, is proud to announce a reimagined event to unify our community in support of respect, acceptance and social justice for all while also keeping everyone safe.

On Saturday, Aug. 22, the 2020 Diversity Walk on Wheels will take place, allowing individuals to show their support for diversity, inclusion and equity while practicing social distancing in a vehicle caravan through Terre Haute. Vehicles can begin lining up at 8 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 22, at Fairbanks Park, 100-1099 Dresser Drive. Vehicles will enter via the south entrance of the Park at First and Farrington streets and then line up on Dresser Drive to depart out of the north entrance of the Park at First and Oak streets beginning at 9 a.m. The motorcade will travel north on First Street to Ohio, east on Ohio to Fourth Street, north on Fourth Street to Wabash Avenue, and then east on Wabash Avenue to Brown Avenue/Indiana State Memorial Football Stadium for a brief presentation.

Melvin L. Burks, CEO of Hamilton Center and Chair of the Diversity Committee, said, “the Committee has been working hard to create an event that will allow people of varying ages, races, creeds, colors, orientations, backgrounds and abilities to come together while also maintaining physical social distancing.”

The Diversity Walk was created to bring a diverse group of people together to break down barriers, build relationships and show what is possible when a community is welcoming to all.

“We were obviously disappointed that we could not bring people together for a Walk this year, but we have a creative committee who began working on an alternate plan. This decision was not taken lightly, but the priority of the Committee was always the safety of all participants.” Burks said.

The Diversity Walk on Wheels is a free event, but registration is required for participation. Registration is available online at http://diversitywalkonwheels.eventbrite.com/. To ensure the health and safety of all participants, individuals who plan to ride together during the event must all share the same living unit address. In addition, guests are asked to say in their vehicles during the event. If attendees must exit their vehicles, they will be required to wear a face mask and maintain social distancing of at least six feet from vehicles and people from different households. Event volunteers will be on hand to ensure that guests adhere by these guidelines.

Each car that registers to participate will receive an orange Diversity flag to display, and each individual in the car will receive a Diversity Walk button. Individuals who have participated in previous Diversity Walks are encouraged to wear their orange shirts from those events.

For those who are unable to participate in the Diversity Walk on Wheels, photos and videos will be shared online at facebook.com/diversitywalk, and those with Diversity Walk shirts from previous events are encouraged to participate virtually by wearing those shirts on Saturday as an additional symbol of support. All in-person and virtual participants who are showing their support for diversity, inclusion and social justice on social media are also encouraged to use the hashtag #DiversityWalkonWheels in their posts so we can celebrate together through our photos, videos, words and actions. 

WHAT: 6th Annual Diversity Walk/1st Ever Diversity Walk on Wheels

WHEN: Saturday, August 22, 2020

8:00 a.m. – Vehicle Line-Up Begins

9:00 a.m. – Diversity Walk on Wheels begins

WHERE: Event will begin at Fairbanks Park and end with closing remarks at Indiana State University Memorial Stadium

REGISTER: Registration is FREE online at http://diversitywalkonwheels.eventbrite.com/

For more information about the Diversity Walk on Wheels, visit facebook.com/diversitywalk or call 812-231-8338.

In addition to the modified plans for the Diversity Walk, volunteers have also been working to reimagine the “We Live” back-to-school event. For the past 5 years Hamilton Center has worked with a number of community partners to host this beloved event in late July, scheduled strategically just before schools starts back-up. This year, due to COVID-19, the organization has been forced to develop a new look to the event that promotes social distancing, safety for all, and still serves children and families. Traditionally the event has taken place at Herz-Rose Park and targeted the underserved population in the surrounding area. This year, Hamilton Center, in partnership with First Farmers Bank and Trust and Children’s Bureau Inc. – Terre Haute Office, will deliver over $6,000 in school supplies to Deming and Benjamin Franklin elementary schools. The schools will then distribute those school supplies to their students. In total over 700 children and their families will be served by the event, and each school will receive nearly $500 in donated supplies as additional support.

“Even though we could not host the ‘We Live’ event in person this year, we wanted to do something to let these kids know that we care about them, we support them, and we want them to have a great start to their school year,” Burks said. “We are thankful for the support of First Farmers Bank and the Children’s Bureau, and we look forward to working with our partners to bring the ‘We Live’ event back to Rose Park next year.”

Hamilton Center, Inc. is a regional behavioral health system in Central and West Central Indiana with corporate offices located in Terre Haute, IN.  Services are provided to children, youth and adults, with specialized programs for expectant mothers, infants, and people who may be struggling with stress, life changes, or relationship issues as well as more serious problems such as depression, anxiety disorders, and serious mental illnesses.

For information on Hamilton Center Services call (800) 742-0787.

Hamilton Center Receives FQHC Look-alike Designation

Establishes one-stop-shop for all health care needs

Hamilton Center, Inc. has been designated as a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) Look-Alike through the Health Center Program of the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). The FQHC Look-Alike status allows organizations opportunities to develop and implement services required to meet the full qualifications for designation as a Federally Qualified Health Center. Together FQHCs and FQHC Look-alikes work to ensure health care for the Nation’s underserved communities and vulnerable populations through service provision to all, regardless of ability to pay.

“It is critical that we work to maximize access to care for medically underserved populations,” said Melvin L Burks, CEO of Hamilton Center, Inc. “This designation will provide us access to tools to do that with less barriers.”

Seeking this designation is a part of Hamilton Center’s strategic plan to address barriers to health care and to provide primary and behavioral health care integration.  In an effort to provide primary care services the organization opened Grace Clinic Health Professional in 2019 in two locations in west central Indiana. One serves Vigo County at 622 Eighth Avenue in Terre Haute, IN, and the other serves Putnam County at 239 Hillsdale Ave, Suite A in Greencastle, IN. The program is now serving adults, children, and families with primary health and behavioral healthcare in a single location.

Health Center’s across the country – totaling 12,000 unique service locations – deliver care to the Nation’s most vulnerable populations. According to HRSA, 1 in 12 individuals nation-wide – more than 28 million people – rely on HRSA-funded health centers for affordable, accessible primary health care. That’s one in nine children, one in five rural residents, and more than 385,000 veterans from across the country.

“Hamilton Center’s mission always included serving populations of our community that lack access to health care of any kind, whether that be due to financial barriers, transportation barriers, or social barriers,” said Dr. DJ Rhodes, Hamilton Center’s Chief of Health Clinic Services.  “This designation is a turning point in our ability to provide safety net services.” FQHC Look-alikes are eligible for Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), discounted drugs through the 340B Federal Drug Pricing Program, receive automatic Health Professional Shortage Area designation, and may access National Health Service Corps providers.

Hamilton Center, Inc. is a regional behavioral health system in Central and West Central Indiana with corporate offices located in Terre Haute, IN.  Services are provided to children, youth and adults, with specialized programs for expectant mothers, infants, and people who may be struggling with stress, life changes, or relationship issues as well as more serious problems such as depression, anxiety disorders, and serious mental illnesses.

For questions or inquiries about services call (812)-231-8323 or visit www.hamiltoncenter.org.

Hamilton Center Welcomes New Supervisor of Employment Solutions

Hamilton Center, Inc. welcomes Kizzey Stewart, to Employment Solutions located at 1616 Wabash Avenue in Terre Haute, IN.

Ms. Stewart has worked at Employment Solutions for 6 years and has significant experience in the field of social work. She has lead skills groups and worked with community partners in the jail setting, including with Community Corrections and other local rehabilitation sites. Ms. Stewart is also a certified BINs (Benefits Information Network) liaison for the state of Indiana. Her interests include assisting individuals with disabilities realize their own full and unique potential, as well as assisting them in acquiring gainful employment.

Hamilton Center, Inc. is a regional behavioral health system in Central and West Central Indiana with corporate offices located in Terre Haute, IN. Services are provided to children, youth and adults, with specialized programs for expectant mothers, infants, and people who may be struggling with stress, life changes, or relationship issues as well as more serious problems such as depression, anxiety disorders, and serious mental illnesses.

For information on Hamilton Center Services call (800) 742-0787.

Hamilton Center, Inc. Designated as Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic

Receives $3.75M to enhance services

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has announced that Hamilton Center, Inc. (HCI) has received a two-year, $3.75M grant, through the CCBHC Expansion Grant, to expand and enhance services in Vigo County. Hamilton Center is currently working towards designation as a Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC).

“This grant will assist us in addressing specific components of our larger strategic plan to improve access to evidence-based and integrated healthcare for individuals who live and seek services in Vigo County, Indiana.” said Melvin L Burks, CEO of Hamilton Center, Inc. “Vigo County is the organization’s largest service county with over 5,000 children and adults served each year.”

The populations of focus for this project will include adults and children with severe mental illness, substance use disorder, and co-occurring disorders, as well as individuals with chronic physical health needs.

“Our goals are to expand and enhance existing Hamilton Center services to provide a more comprehensive and integrated service delivery model for our consumers,” said Mark Collins, Chief Clinical Officer, Hamilton Center, Inc. “This includes improving access to crisis services, increasing coordination of intensive community treatment, and increasing access and coordination of psychiatric services,” he added.

Components of the program include establishing a 24-hr mobile crisis team and the implementation of the Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) model, an intensive team approach to community mental health service delivery that assists people in becoming independent and integrating into the community and provides access to services 24 hours a day. In addition, the grant will enhance Hamilton Center ‘s efforts to integrate primary and behavioral healthcare by providing additional screening for both. 

The CCBHC designation was established by the Excellence in Mental Health Act of 2014. This powerful legislation is the largest investment in mental health and addiction care in generations according to the National Council for Behavioral Health.

The CCBHC Expansion Grant expanded the Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) program to include an additional 19 states. The goal of this expansion is to expand capacity in the behavioral health system to care for more Americans and alleviate the pressure on our nation’s jails and emergency rooms. The CCBHC Expansion Grant include $200 million in annually appropriated funding and $250 million in emergency COVID-19 funding.

“As a community organization committed to serving the behavioral health needs of our consumers, we are excited to incorporate these enhancements to our service delivery array,” said Melvin L Burks. “These opportunities assist us in our vision to advance excellence in behavioral health services.”

Hamilton Center, Inc. is a regional behavioral health system in Central and West Central Indiana with corporate offices located in Terre Haute, IN.  Services are provided to children, youth and adults, with specialized programs for expectant mothers, infants, and people who may be struggling with stress, life changes, or relationship issues as well as more serious problems such as depression, anxiety disorders, and serious mental illnesses.

For questions or inquiries about services call (812)-231-8323 or visit www.hamiltoncenter.org.

Hamilton Center, Inc. Takes Stake in the Lives of At-risk Youth

Brings new Achievement Mentoring Program to Vigo County Juvenile Detention Center

Hamilton Center has been awarded $18,860 by the United Way of the Wabash Valley to create an evidence-based mentoring program at the Vigo County Juvenile Detention Center. The program will target youth grades 4-11 utilizing Achievement Mentoring. The program will focus on a number of areas including decreasing student dropout, improving grades, increasing school attendance, decreasing discipline referrals, decreasing juvenile arrests, reducing drug and alcohol use, and increasing employment. The program is implemented in the school, in the community, and at the detention center and designed to link and coordinate resources for these youth while in treatment preparing them for release and reentry in the community.

“This program is proven to reduce problem behaviors, improve academics, and reduce drug and alcohol,” said, Brock Lough, Executive Director of School Service at Hamilton Center. “If we wish to address some of the county’s significant health and substance abuse concerns, we must focus not only on treatment but also prevention.”

Students meet with mentors weekly who receive weekly “report cards” that offer feedback from teachers on such items as attendance, classroom behavior, & academic achievements. In addition, mentors participate in weekly interviews with students’ teachers, complete a 1-hour consultation/coaching session each month with a Center for Supportive Schools (CSS) consultant and maintain contact with each student’s caregivers & provide ongoing positive feedback & encouragement as earned.

“It is our responsibility to offer these students who are deemed to be at risk for dropping out of high school, whether through school failure, poor attendance, &/or behavior problems need, the opportunity to get back on track.” said, Melvin L Burks, CEO of Hamilton Center, Inc. “These young people need consistent services from caring and supportive staff.”

Hamilton Center, Inc. is a regional behavioral health system in Central and West Central Indiana with corporate offices located in Terre Haute, IN.  Services are provided to children, youth and adults, with specialized programs for expectant mothers, infants, and people who may be struggling with stress, life changes, or relationship issues as well as more serious problems such as depression, anxiety disorders, and serious mental illnesses.

For questions or inquiries about services call (812)-231-8323 or visit www.hamiltoncenter.org.

Hamilton Center Announces New Program Coordinator for Military Veteran Program

Hamilton Center, Inc. welcomes Program Coordinator, Darrin Chaney, to the Military Veteran Program (MVP) at Hamilton Center, Inc.

Mr. Chaney is a 21-year Veteran of the U.S. Army serving in Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm and worked 25 years for the State of Indiana before retiring. Mr. Chaney provides assistance, support and resources for military veterans and their families impacted by deployment, reintegration, mental health or and substance abuse issues. His interests are in assisting disabled veterans in receiving their allotted benefits and compensation as well as assisting homeless veterans.

Whether a veteran has recently returned or has been home for years, returning service members frequently suffer in silence and are reluctant to reach out for help. MVP offers mental health and emotional support to both veteran’s and their families. Services address issues related to post-traumatic stress disorder, transition and reintegration, survivor’s guilt, and substance use disorders.

Hamilton Center, Inc. is a regional behavioral health system in Central and West Central Indiana with corporate offices located in Terre Haute, IN. Services are provided to children, youth and adults, with specialized programs for expectant mothers, infants, and people who may be struggling with stress, life changes, or relationship issues as well as more serious problems such as depression, anxiety disorders, and serious mental illnesses.


For information on the Military Veterans Program at Hamilton Center Services call (800) 742-0787 or visit hamiltoncenter.org.

Hamilton Center Announces New VCOP Care Manager Supervisor to Corporate Office

Hamilton Center, Inc. welcomes VCOP Care Manager Supervisor, Amanda Fields, BS, to the corporate office located at 620 8th Avenue in Terre Haute, IN.

Mrs. Fields is currently working towards her Master of Social Work from Indiana Wesleyan University and already holds a Bachelor of Science in Human Services, specializing in substance abuse counseling from the Indiana Wesleyan University. She has been employed with Hamilton Center for three years as a care manager working in the residential housing setting. Her interests are in developing and expanding community based services that will address treatment barriers related to mental health. 

Hamilton Center, Inc. is a regional behavioral health system in Central and West Central Indiana with corporate offices located in Terre Haute, IN. Services are provided to children, youth and adults, with specialized programs for expectant mothers, infants, and people who may be struggling with stress, life changes, or relationship issues as well as more serious problems such as depression, anxiety disorders, and serious mental illnesses.

For information on Hamilton Center Services call (800) 742-0787.

Hamilton Center Announces New Program Manager for Clay and Putnam Counties

Hamilton Center, Inc. welcomes Program Manager Monica Wallace, BS to the Clay and Putnam satellite sites. The Clay County office is located at 1211 E. National Ave. Brazil, IN and Putnam is located at 239 Hillsdale Road, Greencastle, IN.

Ms. Wallace holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Early Childhood Education and Child Development and Family Life from Indiana State University. Monica has been with Hamilton Center, Inc. for 14 years, where she started out as a School Based Care Manager and was eventually promoted to Care Manager Supervisor. She has significant experience in the fields of mental health and social work and is currently involved with the Clay County Cooperative Benevolence Ministry Board coordinating assistance throughout Clay County. Her clinical interests are to encourage more consumers and/or families to participate and engage in their own treatment. As program manager she hopes to expand services to reach more individuals in need of school and community based services in both Clay and Putnam Counties.

Hamilton Center, Inc. is a regional behavioral health system in Central and West Central Indiana with corporate offices located in Terre Haute, IN. Services are provided to children, youth and adults, with specialized programs for expectant mothers, infants, and people who may be struggling with stress, life changes, or relationship issues as well as more serious problems such as depression, anxiety disorders, and serious mental illnesses.

For information on Hamilton Center Services call (800) 742-0787.

Opioid Use Disorder and the Many Paths to Recovery

By:  Jessica Nevill, LMHC, Clinical Director, WIN Recovery

Opioid use has been the focus of a great deal of national attention recently, with good reason. According to the National Behavioral Council, Americans consume 80% of the opioid prescriptions given worldwide. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an average of 41 people die each day in the United States from overdoses on prescription pain killers. As a result, America is now in an opioid crisis. There is a growing number of individuals dying daily from overdose as well as increased criminal activity and increased HIV/AIDS rates.

Opioids have been prescribed in the United States to help individuals who are experiencing pain. These medications are effective at blocking the pain and providing relief. This is done by impacting the “reward pathway” which allows the person using the opioid to experience pleasure and an overall state of well-being. However, when used repeatedly over long periods of time, the person can build a tolerance to the medication which does not allow them to experience the same levels of well-being that they experienced before. This results in individuals taking more and more of the medication to get the same desired results.

So how does this result in an opioid crisis? When individuals need more and more medication to reach desired amounts of relief, they often use medication faster than prescribed. This results in their bodies becoming dependent, and can lead individuals to seek alternative ways of acquiring pain medicine. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has reported that over half of individuals who abused pain killers received them for free or from a relative. Once these individuals are no longer willing or able to provide this medication, individuals often turn to alternative methods such as buying medication illegally or beginning the use of heroin which is also an opioid. Once individuals begin using illegal methods to maintain an opioid dependence they are then at higher risks for HIV and AIDS, incarceration, separation from family, and loss of employment.

Opioid Treatment Programs (OTPs) are working to tackle the opioid crisis by providing individuals with medication such as methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone to help them discontinue the use of illicit substances. Methadone activates the same parts of the brain as other opioids. Buprenorphine activates the same parts of the brain, but without the rewarding effects. Naltrexone blocks the part of the brain that opioids activate and removes rewarding effects. Research shows that methadone and buprenorphine, when prescribed by a physician and closely monitored, are the most effective treatment methods for opioid use disorder.  Methadone is considered the “gold standard” of treatment, especially for pregnant woman who are addicted to opioids. This, along with behavioral health services such as individual and group counseling, help individuals gain the skills needed to maintain success in their lives.

WIN Recovery is a State licensed opioid treatment program located in Terre Haute and Vincennes Indiana.  The office provides comprehensive treatment to adults 18 years of age and older suffering from opioid use disorder.  Through medication assisted treatment and behavioral health services individuals are able to Regain Something Lost to addiction. The facility is open 7 days a week, and walk-in assessments are available from 6 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., Monday through Friday. Fees are based on the provision of service, with Medicaid accepted and no referral necessary.

For more information, call (833) 232-0215, visit our location at 1433 Willow St, Vincennes, IN, or go to www.winrecovery.org.

WIN Recovery: Regain Something Lost

Hamilton Center, Inc., based in Terre Haute, IN, and serving multiple counties throughout central and west central Indiana, is committed to supporting the State of Indiana in responding to the opioid crisis which has been growing in recent years. As a community mental health center, Hamilton Center, Inc. has been treating individuals with substance use disorders and a variety of other behavioral health issues for over 49 years.

WIN Recovery is the first Opioid Treatment Program (OTP) of its kind certified by the State of Indiana in Knox County.  The clinic will provide daily Methadone administration and behavioral health counseling and case management to provide comprehensive medication assisted substance abuse treatment

I. The problem:

  • Substance abuse costs our nation over $740 billion annually
  • Opioid overdose continues to be a major public health problem in the United States.  There were 67,367 lethal drug overdoses in 2018 – most were opioid related. 
  • Drug overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in the United States.  Over the past several years, Indiana has seen a record number of heroin overdose deaths.
  • The rate of opioid-related emergency department visits to Indiana hospitals increased 32% between 2009 – 2014
  • Indiana suffered 1,211 deaths from drug overdoses in 2019 (18.7 per 100,000)
  • In Vigo County, 10 deaths were attributed to opioid overdose in 2019. 

II. Who is at risk?

  • Individuals using heroin are not the only individuals at risk.  Anyone who uses opioids for long-term management of chronic cancer or non-cancer pain is at risk for opioid overdose, as are persons who use heroin.  Those who use prescription pain killers are 40x more likely to develop an addiction to heroin.  Nearly all addicted individuals believe at the outset that they can stop using drugs on their own and most try to stop without treatment.  Because of the drug-induced changes in brain functioning, many individuals have behavioral consequences, even long after they may have stopped using drugs, including continued impulsiveness to use drugs despite consequences.

III. Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT):

  • Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) is opioid addiction treatment that includes medication administration such as Methadone coupled with other behavioral health services such as individual and group counseling, case management and other support services as appropriate. 
  • Medication is prescribed and administered under monitored, controlled conditions and is safe and effective for treatment for opioid addictions when used as directed.
  • Methadone treatment provides patients with medication, health, social and rehabilitation services that relieve withdrawal symptoms, reduce cravings and allow normalization of the body’s function. 
  • Methadone has been used for over 50 years world-wide and is the gold standard of opioid treatment as it is most effective and least expensive.
  • Methadone represents a community return on investment as the average cost of treatment is $5,500 annually compared to $25,000 annually for incarceration.
  • Methadone treatment programs are associated with a decrease in criminality, promotion of patient employability and education and connects patients with other medical and mental health care. In addition, the relationship between intravenous drug use, needle sharing, hepatitis and HIV/AIDS exposure is well documented. Methadone treatment is the most effective intervention for reducing the spread of HIV/AIDS and hepatitis – consistent with strong public health initiatives.

IV. WIN Recovery:

  • Hamilton Center, Inc., Vigo County, opened its first clinic in Terre Haute in May 2018.  In November 2018 the organization received a second license from the State of Indiana to establish a clinic in Knox County.   
  • WIN Recovery Knox County is currently open and accepting patients 18 years of age or older.
  • The program is certified by the State of Indiana, SAMHSA and accredited as appropriate. 
  • In addition to medication assisted treatment, services will include individual and group counseling, case management and other behavioral support services as appropriate.
  • Hamilton Center, Inc. is partnering with Sagamore Medical Recovery Services, LLC which was formed in 2016 by Christian A. Shaw, MD, PhD and his partners.  Dr. Shaw is a leader in the field and has worked to develop the most successful, innovative and respected methadone based opioid treatment program in New Mexico.  Sagamore is providing the medical component of the clinic; Hamilton Center is providing the behavioral healthcare which will include individual therapy, group therapy and case management.
  • Hamilton Center is working with several community partners to integrate services within the Knox County community. This includes collaborating with the community mental health center, the hospital and physican practices, criminal justice, law enforcement amoung others.
  • The office is open from 6:00 am – 2:30 pm with new patients being seen from 6:00 am – 10:30 am.  The clinic is open everyday including holidays and weekend.

For additional information call 833-232-0215 or 812-494-2215.  Appointments can be made, however walk ins are welcome.

History and Effectiveness of Methadone Maintenance Treatment

Methadone treatment provides the patient who is opioid dependent with medication, health, social, and rehabilitation services that relieve withdrawal symptoms, reduce physiological cravings, and allow normalization of the body’s functions. Methadone treatment has been available for over 30 years and has been confirmed effective for opioid dependence in numerous scientific studies.

Moreover, in 1997, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ National Institutes of Health (NIH) Consensus Panel found the following concerning methadone treatment: “Of the various treatments available, methadone maintenance treatment, combined with attention to medical, psychiatric and socioeconomic issues, as well as drug counseling, has the highest probability of being effective.”

Methadone treatment programs are staffed by professionals with medical, clinical, and administrative expertise. Patients receive medication from a health professional. Patients routinely meet with a primary counselor (social worker, caseworker, or certified substance abuse counselor), attend clinic groups, and access medical and social services.

Methadone’s effectiveness, and the absence of any serious, long-term side effects from using it, have been demonstrated in numerous studies conducted over the past 30 years. Among the most commonly cited outcomes are:

  • Consumption of all illicit drugs declines to less than 40 percent of pretreatment levels during the first year and eventually reaches 15 percent of pre-treatment levels for patients who remain in treatment 2 years or more.
  • Crime is reduced substantially: For example, in the most detailed study of treatment outcomes to date, during the first 4 months of treatment, crime decreased from 237 crime days per year per 100 addicted persons during an average year of their addiction to 69 crime days per year per 100 patients, a reduction of more than 70 percent. This number declined further to only 14.5 crime days per year for patients in treatment 6 years or more.
  • Fewer individuals become infected with HIV: A study by Metzger, et al, 1993, showed that over a 3-year period, 5 percent of patients in methadone treatment became HIV positive (over and above those already positive at admission), while among a cohort of out-of-treatment addicts in the same neighborhood, 26 percent became HIV-positive (over and above those already positive at baseline).
  • Individual functioning improves, as evidenced in improved family and other social relation­ ships, increased employment, improved parenting, etc., according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administrations Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, 1994, and Lowinson, et al, 1992.

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Medication Assisted Treatment for the 21st Century

Heroine vs. Methadone vs. Suboxone

TOPICHEROINMETHADONEBUPRENORPHINE (Suboxone)
Onset of actionA few seconds30 minutes30-40 minutes
Duration of action4-6 hours24-36 hoursAbout 24-48 hours
Route of administrationInjection, snorting, smokingOralSublingual
Frequency of administrationSeveral times a dayDaily or more frequently as neededEvery day or every other day
Effective doseEver increasingBlocking dose usually 80-120mg2-32mg
ToleranceIncreasing toleranceTolerance is stableTolerance is stable
Euphoric effectsEuphoria for up to 2 hoursNo euphoria when stabilizedNo euphoria when stabilized
Overdose potentialHigh and increasingRare (potential is mixed with other depressants)Very rare
Overall safetyPotentially lethalVery safeOverall good. Suboxone injection will cause serious withdrawal symptoms in dependent person. Not recommended for pregnancy and caution with liver disease
WithdrawalWithin 3-4 hours after last doseWithin 24-36 hours after last doseWithin 36-48 hours after last dose
CravingRecurringEliminated with adequate doseCraving may not be totally eliminated due to ceiling effect
Pregnancy/NursingGrave risk for mother and fetusSafe during pregnancyNot indicated/study underway
Experience of pain and emotionsBluntedNormal and full range of emotionsNormal pain but opioid analgesics may not be effective – may need to switch to methadone. Full range of emotions
MoodConstant mood swingsNormalNormal
Reaction time and intellectual functioningImpairedReaction time normal. Intellectual functioning unimpaired on stable doseReaction time presumed to be normal like methadone. FDA cautions driving/operating machinery in the beginning of treatment
HIV & Hepatitis C transmissionHigh rate with needle use and unprotected sexReduced/eliminatedReduced/eliminated
Immune system for HIV positive personsRapid progression to AIDSProgression slowedProgression presumed same as methadone – data not available
Immune/endocrine system functioningImpairedNormalized during treatmentPresumed normalized. Data not available
Stress ResponseSuppressedNormalized during treatmentNormalized during treatment
Criminal activityHigh levelReduced/eliminatedReduced/eliminated
Community impactDestructing impact. High crime, high death rate, transmission of diseaseContributed to public safety, low mortality, increased healthContributed to public safety, low mortality, increased health
Reproduced from 2003 Medication Assisted Treatment for the 21st Century: Community Education Kit, SAMHSA

Frequently Asked Questions

Does methadone treatment impair mental function?

Methadone treatment has no adverse effects on intelligence, mental capability or employability. Methadone treated patients are comparable to non-patients in reaction time, in ability to learn, focus and make complex judgements. Methadone treated patients do well in a wide array of vocational endeavors, including professional positions, service occupations and skilled, technical and support jobs.

How is success in methadone and other pharmacotherapy treatments defined?

The primary goals are to help addicts cease heroin use and lead more stable, productive lives. But, as knowledge about heroin addiction and effective treatment practices has grown, so too have the objectives of most methadone treatment programs, which also aim to:

  • Decrease criminality and reduce the numbers of substance abusers entering the criminal justice system.
  • Assist patients in addressing multiple substance abuse (including crack/cocaine addiction and alcoholism).
  • Assure treatment for general health matters, especially those related to drug use, such as HIV/ AIDS, tuberculosis and hepatitis
  • Promote patient employability and educational development.
  • Identify and treat mental health problems and alleviate homelessness, family substance abuse and child and family dysfunction.

Why do drug-addicted persons keep using drugs?

Nearly all addicted individuals believe at the outset that they can stop using drugs on their own and most try to stop without treatment. Although some people are successful, many attempts result in failure to achieve long-term abstinence. Research has shown that long-term drug abuse results in changes in the brain that persist long after a person stops using drugs. These drug-induced changes in brain function can have many behavioral consequences including an inability to exert control over the impulse to use drugs despite adverse consequences – the defining characteristic of addiction.

How effective is drug addiction treatment?

In addition to stopping drug abuse, the goal of treatment is to return people to productive functioning in the family, workplace, and community. According to research that tracks individuals in treatment over extended periods, most people who get into and remain in treatment stop using drugs, decrease their criminal activity, and improve their occupational, social, and psychological functioning. For example, methadone treatment has been shown to increase participation in behavioral therapy and decrease both drug use and criminal behavior. However, individual treatment outcomes depend on the extent and nature of the patient’s problems, the appropriateness of treatment, and related services used to address those problems and the quality of interaction between the patient and his or her treatment providers.

How long does drug addiction treatment usually last?

Individuals progress through drug addiction treatment at various rates, so there is no predetermined length of treatment. However, research has shown unequivocally that good outcomes are contingent on adequate treatment length. Generally, for residential or outpatient treatment, participation for less than 90 days is of limited effectiveness, and treatment lasting significantly longer is recommended for maintaining positive outcomes. For methadone maintenance, 12 months is considered the minimum and some opioid addicted individuals continue to benefit from methadone maintenance for many years.

How do other mental disorders coexisting with drug addiction affect drug addiction treatment?

Drug addiction is a disease of the brain that frequently occurs with other mental disorders. In fact, as many as 6 in 10 people with an illicit substance use disorder also suffer from another mental illness; and rates are similar for users of licit drugs-i.e., tobacco and alcohol. For these individuals, one condition becomes more difficult to treat successfully as an additional condition is intertwined.

Is the use of a medication like methadone simply replacing one drug addiction with another?

No – as used in maintenance treatment, methadone is not a heroin/opioid substitute. It is prescribed or administered under monitored, controlled conditions and is safe and effective for treating opioid addiction when used as directed.

Source: NIDA, “Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment”