Friday, February 15, 2008

Indiana Poses New Regulations That Would Force Hundreds Out of Treatment

National Alliance of Methadone Advocates
Press Release

Contact Persons: Roxanne Baker, President
Joycelyn Woods, Executive Director

For Release
February 15, 2008

Indiana Poses New Regulations
That Would Force Hundreds Out of Treatment

The Indiana Legislature is proposing some excessive regulations that will force hundreds of patients out of treatment. And those seeking treatment will find barriers that make it nearly impossible to access treatment.

The Indiana House Bill 1258 calls for:

  1. Excessive and unnecessary urine testing,

  2. Discharge any patient testing positive for any drug not in their treatment plan,

  3. Not allow anyone under 18 years in a program unless they are being treated there or transporting a patient,

  4. Requires a designated driver for any patient leaving the program.

These regulations will force programs to discharge patients that test positive for any drug that is not part of their treatment plan. This means that any patient that develops a secondary addiction while in treatment will be denied treatment for their opiate dependence no matter how well they may be doing with it.

Every woman with children will now have the additional burden of a babysitter so that they can attend the program.

Making patients have a designated driver is really against all the scientific evidence that is known about a stable patient taking methadone.

This is an issue of legislators delving into something and making assumptions about things that they know nothing about. They do not understand that opiate addiction is a brain disorder and that methadone is a medication and they do not view patients as seeking recovery.

It is interesting to note that these regulations do not include other powerful medications that can cause impairment. They are focused on methadone and patients in medicated assisted treatment because they harbor prejudices and stigma towards them.

Methadone has been evaluated for over forty years throughout the world. Studies evaluating the functional potential of methadone patients have found no differences between the patients and control groups. In fact in some studies the patients had a faster reaction time and another study that followed driving records found patients were safer drivers (Gordon, 1994).

What is the most disturbing is that Indiana legislators are making regulations without consulting any professionals, researchers or patients to first assess the needs and impact of the new regulations. One would hope that there intention would be to make Indiana a better place for all of it’s citizens.

The MAG is Working in Indiana

The MAG of Indiana NAMA’s Indiana Chapter is working to mobilize patients and advocates to speak out against this legislation. Even if you live in another state it is important that you write to these legislators and tell them how devastating this will be to patients.

What Can You Do?

You can download the following to help with contacting legislators:

Indiana Legislators Target Methadone Patients Flyer

Who to Write To

District Reps for methadone clinics

House Bill 1258

Courier-Journal Article

Patient Info Sheet for SB 0157 (Designated Driver)

Petition for Designated Driver

Phone Script for Designated Driver