Opioid Addiction Treatment affected by Methadone Federal Ban

The United States Drug Enforcement Administration (USFDA), entrusted with the regulation and dispensing of methadone, an approved medicine for addiction, has stopped providing licenses to new methadone vans. The last license was given in 2007.

Rescind ban

The USFDA fears that the mobile methadone vans will be used for purposes other than which the scheme was actually for. The vans have served the American populace all over the country. They were a boon for individuals suffering from opioid addiction in the inner city neighborhoods and deep rural towns. The ban has forced a few local agencies and also a few state agencies to request the federal government to scrap the ban as fast as possible. The crisis is so bad that federal grant money has been reserved for deployment of four brand new methadone vans so they can provide treatment when asked in Seattle and the neighboring areas. The project cannot be started until the ban is abolished by the DEA.

Methadone, if taken daily under due supervision as needed by federal regulations, is effective to tackle opioid addiction. It is, unfortunately, out of reach of the many who reside outside daily driving distance of America's approximately 1,500 dispensing locations.

Federal support

Not only state agencies, one federal agency has also urged the DEA to lift the ban. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has requested DEA to rescind the ban. The SAMHSA makes it much easier for individuals afflicted with the near-fatal opioid addictions to get treatment involving methadone along with a number of other evidence-centric medications.

The SAMHSA makes a compelling case. They point out that approximately two million US citizens are opioid addicts. However, only one addict in five receive treatment. Among the few who get treatment, most did not receive any methadone or any other kind of approved medications. There are two other approved medications for opioid addiction. This is partly as many who take opioids deny that their habit is a problem. Conversely, among the many who know they require treatment are unable to afford it. Many cannot locate a program within their commuting distance. Among the three effective medications, methadone is the most widely used, well-researched, and the oldest being prescribed. This drug, unfortunately, is the most tightly regulated among all.  The two other prescribed drugs- Vivitrol and Buprenorphine- must be taken at home.

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