By Joe Salas
Greenwich House is adding a new program to its tool kit in its quest to help individuals overcome opioid addiction. Greenwich House’s Methadone Maintenance Treatment Program provides individuals dependent on opioids, including heroin, with high-quality, personalized care to help overcome their addictions.
Beginning this fall, the Methadone Maintenance Treatment Program will provide ancillary withdrawal services, also known as ‘step-down programs,’ as an alternative to long-term and inpatient treatments for opioid addiction.
The ancillary withdrawal program is intended for patients with mild or moderate symptoms—those who have generally been using opioids for a short period of time or who recently completed inpatient detox and are experiencing prolonged withdrawal symptoms. It is a group for whom treatment programs are currently too elusive.
“Many programs require individuals to reach a specific level of addiction—using a certain quantity of opiate or using for a minimum length of time—before qualifying for admission,” said Dr. Sara Taki, Greenwich House Medical Director. “Someone shouldn’t have to develop a year-long addiction to get treatment. As soon as a patient recognizes a problem, they should be able to seek help,” she continued.
Patients are prescribed suboxone, which is a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone. Buprenorphine eases the effects of withdrawal. Naloxone blocks the effects of the opioids themselves, helping prevent patients from abusing alternative opiates.
Suboxone is not a miracle drug. Its effectiveness grows when it is incorporated into a holistic treatment schedule, along with counseling and therapy that address the root cause of addiction, services also offered by Greenwich House.
Community ties and personal relationships have also been shown to have a strong, positive effect in overcoming addiction. The outpatient structure of the treatment also has its own inherent benefits to help individuals overcome addiction. Patients are able to maintain their current employment. They are also able to draw comfort and support from their family and friends.
The Greenwich House Methadone Maintenance Treatment Program currently treats over 1,000 patients a year. It is too soon to know how many patients the ancillary withdrawal program will treat. “We want to provide a way for patients to comfortably and safely get treatment for their addiction,” said Dr. Taki.
The services will be provided out of Greenwich House’s existing Methadone Maintenance Treatment Program location at 190 Mercer Street (near West Houston Street). Program fees are calculated on a sliding scale. Those interested in services should call (212) 677-3400 or visit greenwichhouse.org for more information.