Life Center of Galax, located in Galax, Virginia, is a premier provider of medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for adults age 18 and older. At our hospital, we help individuals who are struggling with substance use disorders and co-occurring mental health concerns build a strong foundation for lasting recovery.
What Is Medication-Assisted Treatment?
Medication-assisted treatment, or MAT, is a research-backed method of treating opioid dependence that combines prescription medication with counseling to help people successfully stop using opioids. At Life Center of Galax, patients who are struggling with opioid dependence are prescribed either methadone or buprenorphine, which are FDA-approved medications that can help alleviate painful and uncomfortable opioid withdrawal symptoms.
At Life Center of Galax, we will customize your MAT experience according to your specific strengths, needs, and goals. MAT at our hospital includes the use of prescription medications as well as individual and group therapy sessions with qualified professionals. In therapy, individuals in our MAT program can discover what may have contributed to their struggles with opioid dependence and learn valuable relapse prevention skills.
Methadone & Buprenorphine Maintenance in Galax, Virginia
Methadone and buprenorphine are medications that are commonly used in MAT to help individuals who have opioid use disorder. Both of these medications are recommended by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Methadone works by blocking the brain’s response to opioids. It helps reduce cravings for opioids, which can make it easier for individuals to abstain from illicit drug use during their recovery process. Additionally, methadone helps alleviate withdrawal symptoms that can happen when someone abruptly stops using opioids after a period of dependence. By taking methadone, people can experience a more comfortable transition period.
Many decades of research has documented that methadone, when used as directed within an approved program, can be safe and effective for long-term use. Methadone also has a long duration of action and often only requires once-daily dosing. Some people continue to take methadone for many years, while others taper off once they have established a solid foothold in recovery.
At Life Center of Galax, we also offer buprenorphine as part of our MAT program for opioid use disorder. Like methadone, buprenorphine works by blocking the brain’s response to opioids. Many people are able to take buprenorphine safely for years.
Before receiving MAT at our southwestern Virginia hospital, you will work with a member of our medical team to determine which medication and dosage is most appropriate for you. For individuals who have been struggling to overcome a dependence on heroin, prescription painkillers, fentanyl, or other opioids, MAT can be an ideal solution.
Who Can Receive Methadone & Buprenorphine?
To receive methadone or buprenorphine at Life Center of Galax, a prospective patient must meet the following criteria:
- Age 18 or older
- No longer in high school
- Body mass index (BMI) of 20 or higher
- No acute medical concerns
- Has been addicted to heroin, prescription painkillers, or other opioids for at least 12 months
- Is able to provide proof of ability to pay for care
At Life Center of Galax, we can prescribe methadone and buprenorphine for individuals who are taking part in our detoxification program for opioid dependence. These patients can continue to receive methadone and buprenorphine maintenance if they transition to our residential program after detox. When a person who is receiving methadone or buprenorphine has completed their time with us at Life Center of Galax, we can refer them to a center in their community where they can continue a medication-assisted methadone and buprenorphine maintenance program.
If an individual wants to enter our methadone and buprenorphine maintenance program but is medically or psychiatrically disqualified for admission, we will make every attempt to refer them to a similar facility that is best able to meet their needs.
Features of Our Methadone & Buprenorphine Maintenance Program
Life Center of Galax provides detoxification and comprehensive residential programming for individuals who have substance use disorders and need round-the-clock care in a supportive and structured environment. In these levels of care, we can also support adults who have co-occurring mental health concerns.
When a person enters our methadone and buprenorphine maintenance program, they meet with members of our medical team to determine which detox medication is most appropriate for them. The time a person spends in our detox program depends on their unique needs but is typically between five and 14 days. After completing detox, most patients transition to our residential program, where they stay for 14-21 days.
Throughout their time with us, patients can benefit from the following features of care:
- Medication management services
- Basic medical care
- Group therapy
- Experiential therapies
- Family groups
- Faith-based curriculum
- Individual counseling
- Gender-specific services
Our expert staff delivers these services with compassion and respect. The professionals you may work with during your time at our hospital include psychiatrists, registered nurses, addictionologists, nurse practitioners, counselors, behavioral health technicians, dietitians, and pharmacists.
Are Methadone & Buprenorphine Safe?
Methadone and buprenorphine have been used in MAT programs for decades. These medications have proved safe and effective for both short- and long-term use when administered by qualified professionals. Additionally, every patient who receives MAT medications at our hospital is provided with detailed instructions and a customized dosing schedule.
As is the case with virtually every type of medication, methadone and buprenorphine can be dangerous if abused or taken incorrectly. For this reason, methadone and buprenorphine are dispensed by medical professionals who are specifically trained in monitoring patients. Our MAT providers include board-certified addictionologists, psychiatrists, and nurse practitioners who are licensed and qualified to practice in the state of Virginia.
Can Pregnant Women Receive Methadone & Buprenorphine?
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends the use of methadone and buprenorphine for pregnant women who have opioid use disorder. These medications are considered safe and effective and can help expectant mothers stop using opioids, manage opioid cravings, and stay healthy.
By taking methadone or buprenorphine, a pregnant woman can reduce her risk for going into opioid withdrawal. Opioid withdrawal during pregnancy can lead to complications such as miscarriage and premature birth. The MAT professionals at our hospital have extensive experience working with pregnant women and can provide focused care that promotes recovery and protects the health of both mother and child.
Neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome (NOWS), also known as neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS), occurs when a baby is exposed to opioids in the womb during pregnancy. When a pregnant woman uses opioids, her unborn child can become dependent on the drug and experience withdrawal symptoms after birth. Methadone and buprenorphine can be taken during pregnancy and after birth, even if a woman decides to breastfeed. In fact, breastfeeding can decrease the severity of NOWS symptoms in infants born to mothers who are receiving MAT, according to an article published in the National Library of Medicine.
At Life Center of Galax, we can provide methadone and buprenorphine maintenance services for pregnant women who are in their first and second trimesters and have no acute medical concerns. We are unable to provide detoxification services for pregnant women at our hospital and can only support women who are already on an established methadone or buprenorphine protocol.
Benefits of Receiving MAT
Receiving methadone and buprenorphine as part of a MAT program offers patients many benefits, which may include:
- Reduced cravings: Methadone and buprenorphine help reduce cravings for opioids, which can make it easier for individuals to abstain from illicit drug use and focus on recovery.
- Alleviation of uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms: Individuals who take methadone and buprenorphine can function more normally and engage in daily activities without experiencing the disruptive effects of opioid withdrawal.
- Enhanced quality of life: Patients who receive methadone and buprenorphine can experience improved well-being as they are able to begin focusing on other areas of their lives, such as their work, their relationships, and their personal growth.
- Reduced risk for transmission of infectious diseases: When someone abuses opioids, they are at increased risk for developing infectious diseases like HIV and suffering from other health complications.
At Life Center of Galax, we recognize that every person’s recovery journey is different. Our methadone and buprenorphine maintenance program is designed to help adults find the support they need to heal. If you or a loved one is struggling with opioid dependence, we encourage you to give us a call today.
This content was written on behalf of and reviewed by the clinical staff at Life Center of Galax.