5 Questions to Ask
When Choosing an Outpatient Opioid Treatment Program
You’ve decided to start an opioid treatment program and begin your road to recovery. So, now what?
There’s a lot to know about medication-assisted treatment. In Arizona alone, there are more than 35 clinics that offer medication-assisted opioid treatment programs. Choosing a reputable program that matches your needs is the first step to success.
To get you started, here are five questions to ask an opioid treatment program (OTP) provider:
1. What medications does the clinic use?
It’s not just about methadone anymore. While methadone has been used for more than 40 years in the treatment of opioid use disorder and has proven highly effective, it’s not for everyone and other treatment options are now available.
Methadone works by stimulating the parts of the brain that opiates affect (thereby reducing cravings) without the euphoric effects and helping with withdrawal symptoms. It is taken daily, under highly controlled circumstances in liquid, pill or wafer form. Here’s a good overview of methadone from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
Unlike methadone, Suboxone (the brand name for buprenorphine) can be prescribed for take-home use rather than dosed at a clinic. Like methadone, it is taken daily, prevents withdrawal and reduces cravings for most patients with less severe dependency. Offered in tablets or dissolvable strips, it works by simultaneously stimulating the opiate dependent parts of the brain and causing repulsive reactions to other opiates. Here’s a good overview of buprenorphine from SAMHSA.
Naltrexone (known most commonly in its injectable form, Vivitrol) is used in the treatment of both opioid and alcohol use disorders. It works by blocking the effects of the abused substance, essentially blocking the feeling of getting “high.” Here’s more from SAMHSA on Naltrexone.
Valle del Sol’s opioid treatment program (OTP) uses all three of these medications.
2. What kind of recovery support is offered in conjunction with the medication?
There are a number of conflicting stigmas surrounding substance use disorder and it’s not uncommon for people to believe that recovery can happen successfully by simply withdrawing the substance and “making better choices”.
In 2018, we now know that substance use disorder changes decision-making processes in the brain, affects impulse control, and can interfere with important neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin. For these reasons, individuals who simply abstain from using often have an extremely difficult time staying sober. Counseling, support, and behavioral health education are all components of a healthy recovery. A reputable, quality OTP program will include all of these.
At Valle del Sol, counseling is required. Our staff of credentialed counselors, licensed nurses and care coordinators all assist our medical staff in ensuring that each program participant has the resources s/he needs to recover and live healthy!
3. Is the program certified, licensed and registered with all of the appropriate authorities?
A reputable OTP is certified by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), accredited by a SAMHSA-approved third party, registered with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and licensed by their state.
Valle del Sol’s Opioid Treatment Program is certified by SAMHSA, registered with DEA, licensed by Arizona Department of Health Services and accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF). It is also the first mental health program Valle del Sol ever offered at our founding in 1970, meaning we’ve been helping people recover from substance use disorder for nearly 50 years.
4. How much will treatment cost?
In Arizona, Medicaid (AHCCCS) will cover opioid treatment. And while most private insurance plans do not cover opioid treatment, there are also grants that will help clinics recuperate the costs for individuals who can’t pay out of pocket. Many clinics offer a sliding fee scale based on income.
Valle del Sol receives grant dollars to help people who can’t afford treatment. Just ask us about financial assistance. Otherwise, we offer a sliding fee scale.
5. Does the program also address other physical and mental health and wellness needs?
What kind of coping skills can help you handle every day stressors better? What if your anxiety makes you feel out of control? How is your body supposed to feel better if you have chronic pain?
The mind and the body affect each other all the time. And when it comes to substance use disorder, people tend to have better success at recovery when other physical and mental health considerations are taken into account alongside the addiction treatment.
Health and happiness are a package deal. Try to find a program that will address your complete wellness.
Valle del Sol practices Integrated Healthcare, meaning we prefer to treat the whole person: mind, body and spirit. Both of our OTP clinics also offer primary care and general mental health services onsite. We can see you for colds, chronic pain, and enroll you in health living classes to help you live your best life!
If you think Valle del Sol’s opioid treatment program might be a good fit, the first step is to complete an intake assessment. Here’s how. You can also call us 602-258-6797 ext. 160 or email firstname.lastname@example.org with your questions.
Hours and Locations:
All locations have bilingual staff
Central City South
1209 S. 1st Avenue
Phoenix, AZ 85003
Valle del Sol Red Mountain Service Center
Walk-Ins: Mon-Thurs 4:30am
334 W. 10th Place Ste. 101
Mesa, AZ 85201
Walk-Ins: Mon & Thurs 7:30am