Saturday, February 27, 2010

Help Identify What Patients Do To Make Recovery Work

February 28, 2010

Stabilized patients who have been in methadone maintenance for more than one year (with negative urinalysis tests for all illicit substances except methadone).

Have you ever considered your status as a long term methadone patient, AKA elite methadone patient to be an achievement worth celebrating? I do and so do many others. And, it is! One problem is that fewer patients remain in methadone maintenance for longer periods of time. It took me several episodes of treatment before I began to understand and distinguish the differences in value between the medication (methadone); the modality (methadone maintenance); and the way methadone is dispensed (the methadone program or clinic system). So, I became an advocate for better and more information to patients about how methadone maintenance works and involved on several levels in improving the way methadone is dispensed; the clinic system.

About me:

My name is Lisa Mojer-Torres and I have been a patient for 20 years. I tried to withdraw from methadone maintenance three or four times before learning about its pharmacology. Since stabilizing on my optimal dose, I have become a practicing attorney, (admitted in NY and NJ) and an advocate for methadone maintenance as a modality and methadone patients as victims of stigma and discrimination. I have a life that includes rewarding employment, a beautiful family, and our own home.

This project:

Currently, I am writing an article with leading recovery expert that analyzes methadone maintenance as a legitimate path into and through “recovery” from active addiction to heroin and other opioids. There are several uses for methadone and even different stages within methadone maintenance pharmacotherapy. However, once a patient and his/her doctor identify the patient’s optimal dose of methadone (the particular dose that affords the patient the maximum benefits methadone offers in managing the chronic disease of opioid addiction), the patient remains on that dose with the exception of a rare taper. The patient has achieved “optimal dose stabilization”. Without the distractions of withdrawal symptoms, or the obsessive cravings for opioids (and an opioid blockade as well) the patient is in the strongest position to leave the life of active opioid addiction behind, transitioning from treatment to recovery. It is this transition that I am interested in documenting.

Why I am reaching out to you:

In order to document the transition from treatment to recovery, I believe it is imperative to go directly to the source and seek information from those patients who’ve succeeded with methadone maintenance about how they succeeded. I am also interested in learning what resources would have made your experience easier. I am interested in learning what and whether you think achieving optimal dose stabilization has played any role in your life and/or the lives of other patients. The three-part article will conclude with a statement that opioid addicts who achieve optimal dose stabilization with methadone are on an equal par to alcoholics who stop drinking and others who stop using, etc. Mostly, I am interested in learning the various skills you used in overcoming ignorance about methadone and how you managed to sustain recovery.


I don’t need to know your name or any other identifying information for this project. At any rate I am restricted by confidentiality laws. Your treatment program was kind enough to cooperate in allowing this notice to be posted in the OTP, but no one is under any obligation to respond. However, unless and until the public becomes aware that there is a significant population of stabilized in methadone maintenance patients in recovery, we will continue to be defined by those still struggling with active addiction. I would be grateful if you would spare a few moments of your time to participate in this anecdotal survey. I promise your time and effort will not be wasted and I will do my best to create a resource that speaks directly to the current generation of opioid addicts who, still stuck in the grips of active addiction have not been unable to maximize methadone’s full potential. It’s my hope that by offering to share our experiential jewels of information, others will believe a life in recovery is possible, even for them.

IF YOU ARE WILLING TO PARTICIPATE IN AN E-MAIL EXCHANGE OR A PHONE INTERVIEW, PLEASE CONTACT ME, Lisa Mojer-Torres VIA E-MAIL @ OR TELEPHONE at my home/office @ (609) 671-1995 either 7AM-9AM weekday mornings or 7PM-9PM weekday eves. (I work during the day). Call any time over the weekend; I will do my best to hang around the house over the next couple of weekends. But, in the event you reach our voice mail, PLEASE either leave a message providing instructions about how to reach you OR call me back. My goal is to complete interviews by March 7th, latest, so please try and act upon this ASAP. If you wait, we all lose.


Lisa Mojer-Torres (Using Google, you can check out more information about my advocacy efforts on the national level)
Telephone: (609) 608 671-1995

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