Opioid Addiction and Methadone as a Treatment Option

Methadone Take Home Privileges – What You Need to Know

For the millions of Americans who are in unfortunate situations involving drugs, methadone take home treatment stands out as a beacon of hope. There are plenty of positives surrounding this treatment method, which is particularly useful for those suffering from addiction to heroin and other opiates who struggle to get through the withdrawal symptoms.

There are many wonderful options for methadone near me, with local clinics specializing in this treatment plan that can have a powerful influence on the future of patients’ lives, especially when they’re drowning in their drug addiction and don’t see another way out. Methadone treatment can lay the groundwork for a bigger, better and brighter future.

What are Methadone “Take Home” Privileges?

Whether you or someone you love is considering methadone treatment, it’s in your best interest to be aware of all the aspects of this recovery method. The more you know, the more comfortable you’ll feel and the better chance you’ll have of succeeding in this pathway to sobriety. A great place to start is with “Take Home” privileges, which patients can earn as they prove themselves to be committed and determined to kick their drug habits to the curb. At many methadone clinics, these privileges may include things like a particular dosage or supply of methadone that they’ll be able to use once they return home.

While every clinic may have slightly different rules, and it’s crucial to understand all of the information and guidelines during their stay, or even prior to becoming a patient, generally speaking, most clinics will have take-home privileges of some kind. The ADS Opioid Treatment Program (OTP) – Client Handbook is a prime example, as it explains how patients can earn trust at their methadone clinic and receive take-home privileges. When a patient wants to reduce his or her clinic visits by getting take-home does, the primary counselor will take a closer look to decide whether or not this particular patient meets eligibility requirements. A decision will eventually be made as to award none, or up to thirteen, take-home doses.

How Do I Gain Trust and Earn More “Take Homes” Privileges?

There are more than 14,000 addiction treatment facilities across America, and many of these places operate methadone clinics as well to allow more people access to potentially life-saving treatment. It’s the sad truth that not nearly enough Americans struggling with addiction actually get the treatment and professional help they need, with only 11% of those with an alcohol or drug dependence problem heading to rehab in 2013. This goes to show how essential methadone clinics are in the fight against drug addiction.

Take home privileges are a huge part of this, as doing a good job in rehab and showing one’s commitment and dedication to getting better can result in rewards, and it’s certainly a goal for people to work toward. The more that an individual tries in rehab, and really gives themselves up to the process, the better. In order to gain trust and earn more take-home privileges in the process, people need to follow the guidelines for on-site dosages at the beginning of their stay, as well as participate in face-to-face sessions with healthcare professionals at the clinic.

Other ways to check off the criteria for take-home privileges include being current on any and all financial obligations, as well as maintaining employment, education, volunteer work or home duties. Attending all of the required regular individual and group sessions is a must, too! Behavior is also a large indicator of whether or not a person should be receiving take-home privileges. Those who have aggressive outbursts, negative attitudes, and even recent criminal records may not meet the standards for take-home privileges.

How People Lose their Privileges

In the same way that people can earn their take-home privileges, it’s also quite possible to lose these privileges, depending on how they behave and act during the rehabilitation process. Clinic staff is very cognizant of the importance of only providing take homes to those who are in control and able to handle this, and they will not allow those who are struggling or not taking the process seriously to have take-home doses.

Some of the common ways in which people may lose their privileges include participating in criminal activity, failing to turn up to therapy sessions or counseling and misbehaving or causing trouble at the clinic. Those who show instability in their home environment or personal relationships may be at risk of losing their take-home privileges as well. An individual who refuses to take regular urine tests or fails one of these tests is also likely to lose their take-home privileges.

Time in treatment is perhaps one of the most important rules of all. If a person isn’t coming to the clinic as regularly as required, and it doesn’t seem like they are taking the process as seriously as they should, then they won’t be able to receive take-home doses. It can’t and shouldn’t be understated that take-home privileges are exactly that – a privilege – and they can and will be taken away if people do not follow the rules. This may sound strict, but it has to be in order to protect the health and wellbeing of patients and give them the best chances of success and sobriety in the long run.

Why It’s Important to Follow the Rules and Take Your Methadone as Prescribed

The rules put in place at any methadone clinic are not meant to be stifling and suffocating, but they need to be harsh in many ways so that people truly understand the severity of their problems. Doing drugs and having drug possessions are very serious concerns that can not only harm a person’s health but also their entire future and education, career and family. Methadone clinics and their guidelines are designed with this concept in mind so that patients are forced to confront their demons and understand how dangerous their behavior really was/is.

This is exactly why it’s so important to follow the rules laid out by the rehab center and the methadone clinic. The medical professionals know that these guidelines are necessary for patients to be successful in their recovery journey, and they are also aware that methadone must be taken precisely as prescribed to minimize the risk for addiction and abuse and ensure a smooth transition into sobriety. Patients can always speak to the staff at methadone clinics for answers and clarity surrounding the processes and procedures, but it’s important to respect every step of this pathway to a better life. That way, patients will be more likely to avoid a relapse and come out on the other side, happier and healthier!


[1] Methadone Program Handbook. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.adsyes.org/methadone-program-handbook/

[2] Results from the 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Summary of National Findings. (2014, September). Retrieved from https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/NSDUHresultsPDFWHTML2013/Web/NSDUHresults2013.pdf

[3] How Do Medications Treat Opioid Addiction? (2018, April 18). Retrieved from https://www.hhs.gov/opioids/treatment/medications-to-treat-opioid-addiction/index.html

About the author

Dr. Michael Carlton, MD.

Leading addictionologist, Michael Carlton, M.D. has over 25 years of experience as a medical practitioner. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering and returned for his MD from the College of Medicine at the University of Arizona in 1990. He completed his dual residency in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics and his Fellowship in Toxicology at Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center and Phoenix Children’s Hospital.

He has published articles in the fields of toxicology and biomedicine, crafted articles for WebMD, and lectured to his peers on medication-assisted treatment. Dr. Carlton was a medical director of Community Bridges and medically supervised the medical detoxification of over 30,000 chemically dependent patients annually.

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