Life with an addiction is hard. Trying to overcome an addiction is even harder. But pharmacists are here to help. Pharmacists can help patients overcome addiction through many different programs – including the Methadone Maintenance Therapy program.
Methadone is a long-lasting synthetic opioid that alleviates the symptoms of opioid withdrawal. When taken correctly, methadone prevents withdrawal symptoms and reduce cravings without causing a patient to feel high or euphoric. Nova Scotians with opioid addictions who want to quit are able to become part of the Methadone Maintenance Therapy program, with the referral of their doctor.
The Nova Scotia College of Pharmacists then pairs patients with pharmacies that are interested in having a patient at that time.
“The Methadone Maintenance Therapy program creates a team between healthcare providers and the College,” says Curt Chafe, pharmacist and pharmacy owner in Halifax. “If a patient misses a dose or is thought to have relapsed, we notify the other members of our team. Helping our patient overcome their opioid addiction is our priority.”
The process to take methadone is quite easy. Patients are required to visit their pharmacist, typically on a daily basis, where they then take the medication, which is typically in a liquid format. Patients have the option to take the medication in a private room, but most of the patients Curt has had has taken the medication in the open.
“I’ve had very few patients choose to use a private room,” says Curt. “They’re not ashamed of their addiction, and they shouldn’t be. Pharmacists see all their patients as patients, it doesn’t matter if they’re receiving treatment for diabetes or trying to overcome an addiction.”
“Opioid addiction is a huge problem in our province, and our country,” says Curt. “It’s great to be a part of a program that help patients overcome their addiction.”