TANG
Addiction Solutions
Medication Assisted Treatment for Opioid Addiction
Dispensing Hope Daily
FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions  

Q: What are opioids?
Opioids – which are also sometimes called Opiates – are a family of drugs that have morphine-like effects, with their primary medical application being pain relief. Doctors and dentists may prescribe opioids to people with acute or chronic pain resulting from disease, surgery, or injury. In addition, some opioids (such as methadone) have been found to successfully help treat addiction to other opioids, such as prescription pain pills and heroin.


Q: What types of drug addiction will you treat?
We exclusively focus our efforts on treating opioid addictions (although the services our patients receive meaningfully contribute to their recovery from other substances of abuse as well). 


Q: What is an opioid addiction?
Opioid addiction is a deep-rooted, relapsing disease of the brain that results from the prolonged effects of intense exposure to the drugs. Opioid addiction creates a compulsive, physical need for continued opioid use. As the person becomes addicted to the drug, they must continue taking it or suffer severe withdrawal symptoms. Seeking and using opioids becomes the primary purpose in the life of the addicted person. Important social, employment, and recreational activities are given up or reduced because of this intense preoccupation.

Q: How do you treat someone with an addiction?
TANG provides opiate addiction treatment services in an outpatient setting. There are two essential aspects to treatment: Medication-assisted treatment using methadone (to combat the physical effects of the addiction) and counseling (to address the psychological dependence and to stabilize the patient and provide them with the tools to live drug free). 

Q: Shouldn’t people be able to “just quit?”
It is extremely difficult to overcome a drug addiction. Many have tried to “just quit,” but unfortunately, typically fail. Because of the physical effects of prolonged drug usage, the body has become chemically dependent on the very thing it should avoid.

Q: Is methadone safe?
For more than 45 years, methadone has been used to treat opioid addiction. When taken under medical supervision, long-term maintenance causes no adverse effects to the heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, bones, blood, brain, or other vital body organs. Properly administered, methadone produces no serious side effects, although some patients experience minor symptoms such as constipation, water retention, drowsiness, skin rash, excessive sweating, and changes in libido. Once methadone dosage is adjusted and stabilized, however, these symptoms usually subside. Methadone is a legal medication produced by licensed and approved pharmaceutical companies using established quality control standards. Under a physician’s supervision, it is typically administered orally on a daily basis with strict program conditions and guidelines. Importantly, methadone does not impair cognitive functions. It has no adverse effects on mental capability, intelligence, or employability. Properly administered, it is not sedating or intoxicating, nor does it interfere with ordinary activities such as driving a car or operating machinery. Patients are able to feel pain and experience emotional reactions. Most importantly, methadone relieves the craving associated with opioid addiction. While taking methadone as part of a drug treatment program, typical street doses of pain pills and heroin are ineffective at producing euphoria, which in turn reduces the allure of illicitly using opioids and, in so doing, dramatically accelerates the elimination of their use altogether. Ultimately, the stabilized methadone patient is much more receptive to counseling, which gives him or her a better chance for success.​

Q: Why give drugs like methadone to someone with an addiction?
If a person has an addiction to drugs, his or her body has become chemically conditioned to expect those drugs. When the body is suddenly deprived of the drugs it is expecting, unconscious physical withdrawal occurs. The physical and emotional effects of withdrawal are typically very severe. During this time, a person has little ability to handle daily life, much less the behavioral counseling that must also occur to achieve and sustain recovery. Thus, methadone medication is used to reduce these symptoms and physically stabilize the body.

Q: Why give drugs like methadone to someone with an addiction?
If a person has an addiction to drugs, his or her body has become chemically conditioned to expect those drugs. When the body is suddenly deprived of the drugs it is expecting, unconscious physical withdrawal occurs. The physical and emotional effects of withdrawal are typically very severe. During this time, a person has little ability to handle daily life, much less the behavioral counseling that must also occur to achieve and sustain recovery. Thus, methadone medication is used to reduce these symptoms and physically stabilize the body. 

Q: How long does a patient need to stay in treatment?
Extensive research has been conducted in this area. Studies have routinely demonstrated reductions in illicit opioid use of up to 80% or more after several months of medication-assisted treatment with methadone, with the greatest reductions for patients who remain in treatment more than a year. The time in treatment will depend on the length and intensity of the patient’s drug abuse and his or her ability to adopt the behavioral changes necessary to break the addiction. Each case is unique, and the decision to stop treatment is made between the patient and his or her treatment team.

Q: How are your patients able to function if they are taking methadone?
A stable, maintenance dose of methadone does not make a person feel “high” or drowsy. Our program is designed to help people reduce their dependence on opioids, while providing them with extensive individual counseling. Our goal is to help people regain control of their lives as quickly and safely as possible. There have been numerous, well-documented scientific studies that prove methadone treatment has no negative effects on mental capabilities, intelligence, reaction time, and motor functions.