Many people seek treatment from heroin or opiate addiction at methadone
clinics. However, it is the very people whom they seek for help who hold the
greatest prejudicial ideas about addiction treatment and addiction medicine.
For one thing, patients are often subjected to 'monitored' urines where they
are observed by non-medical personnel and without warning. Those with paruresis
or on certain medications often cannot 'go' on command or in front of another
person, particularly strangers. If they do not give in to this demeaning
request, their medication is witheld until they comply. Although alternate
means of testing are available, they are rarely, if ever, offered.
Also, patients are often accused of illicit drug use solely on the basis of
a "dirty," or positive, urine result. The results of urine tests are
notoriously inaccurate and samples are immediately discarded making retesting
impossible. Patients ar always treated as "guilty until proven
innocent" rather than the other way around. Even the patients' coounselors
hold this attitude. A false positive urine can be grounds for rescinding
take-home priveleges and even, ultimately, discharging from the treatment
facility. It is a known fact that addiction is a series of relapses and
recoveries. It has further been proven that punishment does not deter drug use
or abuse. Therefore, even if the positive results are accurate, the
patient should never be penalized for this. Rather, the investigation of what
led to the relapse is in order and the patient should be counseled accordingly.
Additionally, take-home "priveleges" are used in a punitive
manner. If a patient loses just one bottle, they are usually "punished' by
having their "take-homes" arbitrarily reduced or removed entirely.
And medication for the day is often witheld until the patients comply with
certain rules, such as counselor visits or mandated urines. This could easily
be handled by only witholding meds on the following visit if someone didn't do
as requested initially.
Because of some of these more stringent practices, many people in treatment
are unable to obtain or maintain employment due to the time it takes to comply
with certain clinic requirements and/or the hours the clinic is open. Many
individuals have work at physically tasking jobs that begin at 7am or earlier.
If they have waited in line to be medicated for over 30 minutes and then are
asked to see their counsleor or give a urine sample, the time exceeds what the
patients have allotted for realistically and the subsequent lateness at the job
site can be grounds for dismissal. This is contrary to what is hoped for by the
patient when seeking treatment in the first place.
Patients in methadone treatment face stigma in every facet of their everyday
lives. The clinic is supposed to be the one place the addict can feel relaxed,
knowing they will be treated with dignity. However, the reverse is truer.
Patients are never made fully aware of their rights and/or responsibilities.
Nor are they aware of their rights as human beings and individuals.The
prohibitive manner in which drug use is viewed by our society and the treatment
thereof are a constant assault on the patients rights to life and liberty and
their basic human rights to treatment with dignity and without demeaning
measures or punitive actions.
By signing this petition, we, the undersigned, feel our human rights are
being taken away and that we are being coerced into giving up these rights by
the statutes currently in place and by the treatment facilities and their rigid
attitudes toward addiction.We sign this in the hopes that it would serve to
bring about certain changes in the way addiction medicine is practiced in
This petition closed almost 3 years ago
If you or someone you know is on a methadone treatment facility or program, their civil and human rights may be being violated by the very people designed to offer treatment.