Today I had the opportunity to listen in on a large group of medical professionals and administrators from different methadone maintenance treatment centers and regulatory agencies who had met to discuss different issues and complaints in their field. I will address some of the things I learned in the meeting in later blogs, but first I wanted to share an epiphany I had during the discussion.
One of the issues they were addressing was how to better educate the patients, other doctors, and the general public of the true nature of methadone maintenance treatment (MMT) programs. Many of the patients and their significant others in MMT often experience confusion on the difference between MMT and a total recovery program. Many health care professionals are not familiar enough with MMT programs to properly prescribe medications for their patients who are in the programs. And of course John Q. Public often finds it hard to distinguish the difference between a backwoods,single-wide crystal meth lab and a fully certified and professionally operated MMT center. So why are so many people confused, why not ask the guy in the picture above?
Read more below the fold…
The epiphany that I experienced was that the majority of information that the public gloms onto, is disseminated by great orators like the one in the picture above captured in his native environment. That is right, this is your official Minister of Disinformation for Addiction, Recovery, and Treatment Services. Why have I come to this conclusion? Simple answer: Those in proper recovery or following their properly prescribed MMT programs are rarely noticed. These are the people that have readjusted to society and actually fit in instead of standing out in a crowd. Rarely does one normalize life by announcing to family, friends, coworkers and congregations, “oh by the way, did you know I am living proof of the effectiveness of MMT”. Also the medical professionals, counselors, and volunteers are bound by a code of anonymity and respect that insures that all the success stories remain untold.
So what you are left with are the disillusioned addicts and alcoholics that have not tried or failed in recovery, who have quit treatment programs, and masterful liars, manipulators, and con artists eager to convince the world of the ineffectiveness of any treatment program or recovery group. They “need” to convince the world that there is no hope for those with their condition, that they have been failed by a corrupt and impotent system. How do I know, well lets just say I have been there, done that, and got two t-shirts to prove it.
Now all treatment programs and recovery groups have their problems. Addiction is a chronic disease, look it up if you don’t understand the word ‘chronic’; so success is hard to gauge. And here at the TDA, we consider any step toward recovery as a positive one (as long as no laws were broken and no small animals harmed) so a program with even the most miserable success rate is hands down better than no treatment. So lets do society a favor and remind them of this any time we hear people repeating the falsehoods of these ministers of disinformation.
We are proof that there is hope, we are proof that many different programs work, and we should try to inform others whenever possible that almost any kind of treatment is favorable to no treatment at all.