Evans methadone counseling center prepares to open

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A group of medical professionals and administrators prepared this morning for the opening of Evans’ newest medical facility — a methadone clinic.

Treatment Centers of Augusta opens Monday in the Park Place shopping center on Washington Road across from Club Car.

Teresa Martin, medical services director for Valdosta-based parent company Treatment Centers of America, said she disliked the term “methadone clinic” since it understates the services offered at the facility.

Martin, and corporate administrator Jeremy Pate, said the center focuses much more on counseling recovering opiate addicts and administering methadone doses plays a small part in their patients’ recoveries.

“We work with our patients to help them recognize the triggers that led to their addiction,” Pate said. “For many of our patients, drugs are a coping mechanism, a stress reliever. Whereas you or I might go to the gym for stress relief, they turn to a medication.

“We help them to see that there is another way. We help them put their lives back together.”

Pate said Treatment Centers staff even helps their patients find homes and jobs.

“We’re in the business of helping those who come here once again become productive members of society,” Martin said.

Still, the stigma exists that such facilities as Treatment Centers of Augusta cater to hardcore addicts of heroin and other illegal opiate-based drugs.

That perception created a stir last year among owners of other Park Place shops, many of which cater to children. Some of the shop owners even threatened to boycott rent payments until the clinic moved elsewhere.

Pate said it might seem odd to put a facility like Treatment Centers of Augusta in a suburban shopping center, but it is part of his company’s strategy to break the stigma associated with methadone users.

Between 85 to 90 percent of patients at the other six Treatment Centers of America locations in Georgia got hooked on opiate-based prescription medications meant to relieve pain, Pate said.

Most of those patients, Pate added, were men and women with families and jobs.

“This is not a court-mandated program,” Martin said. “People who come here do it voluntarily because they want help.”

Pate said as much as 80 percent of patients of The Augusta Metro Treatment Center on Ellis Street in downtown Augusta are Columbia County residents.

“What we do here is actually a community service,” Pate said. “What we do here helps the people who come to us, helps their families and their employers.”

 

Reach Donnie Fetter at (706) 868-1222, ext. 115,

or donnie.fetter@augustachronicle.com.

 

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corgimom
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corgimom 08/03/11 - 11:58 am
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"Still, the stigma exists

"Still, the stigma exists that such facilities as Treatment Centers of Augusta cater to hardcore addicts of heroin and other illegal opiate-based drugs."

Is it a stigma if it's the truth? They do them, too, not just prescription drug addicts.

drivenslow
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drivenslow 08/03/11 - 12:59 pm
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awesome our solution to drug
Unpublished

awesome our solution to drug addicts is to give them more powerful LEGAL DRUGS.......sounds like a great plan to me drug abuse is all good just as long as the big pharma companies gets their cut

dreamcatcher_ga
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dreamcatcher_ga 08/03/11 - 03:04 pm
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Martin and Pate can try to

Martin and Pate can try to sugar coat this facility all they want and it's not going to fly. It's not a counseling center and they will not break any "stigma" associated with this kind of business. Bottom line: they are catering to dopers because there's big bucks to be made from this. It's a disservice to the public to try and hood wink people with these type of simplistic stupid answers. Once again, the almighty dollar prevails over the safety of other businesses in this strip mall.

Sweet son
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Sweet son 08/03/11 - 05:07 pm
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Hey dreamcatcher, are we the

Hey dreamcatcher, are we the taxpayers paying those big bucks? I bet so!!! Probably Medicaid!

zenith15
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zenith15 08/03/11 - 06:10 pm
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In fact, the vast majority of

In fact, the vast majority of methadone patients pay their own treatment fees IN FULL by themselves every month. It is a mistaken assumption that most patients are paid for by "tax dollars", Medicaid, etc. The majority of today's clinics are private pay clinics where patients pay their own way and must demonstrate a legitimate income before being accepted into treatment. But of course, it's much more fun to make assumptions based on stigma and rumors.

Additionally, about 75% of today's methadone patients are in treatment for dependence on prescribed oral painkillers, not street drugs. They don't live under a bridge downtown somewhere--they live--and work--right next to YOU. Quite possibly without you even being aware of it.

Medication assisted treatment is far and away the most effective method of treatment available, does not cause any type of high or euphoria in stable patients who are tolerant to the medication, helps to restore a normal balance to the brain chemistry which is often permanently disrupted from years of opioid abuse (and which no amount of abstinence will repair), and allows patients a chance to live a normal life.

FallingLeaves
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FallingLeaves 08/03/11 - 10:01 pm
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Wow. Never saw that coming.

Wow. Never saw that coming. (Methadone Clinic in Columbia County). If they need it, hope they go to it.

Kezita
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Kezita 08/03/11 - 11:07 pm
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Dreamcatcher, how exactly

Dreamcatcher, how exactly would the methadone clinic affect the safety of other businesses or anyone for that matter? What exactly is it that you think that the patrons of the clinic would do that would harm anyone?
I'd be willing to bet that none of the posters here have ever seen a methadone clinic and have never had any dealings with one or the people who attend them, yet you are all so certain about what this treatment is about and how the clinics work. Of course the professionals that do this for a living are full of it and don't know the truth as well as you do. Fortunately for you though you are all wrong and this clinic will have none of the impact you think it will. There won't be a bunch of shady looking people hanging around outside, no drug deals in the parking lot, no patients shoplifting at nearby stores, nobody leaving the clinic high. In reality the majority of methadone clinics are so low key and the patients so ordinary looking that locals often don't even know it's a methadone clinic.
There are a lot of myths and misconceptions about what methadone treatment is but fact is that the truth is vastly different. Methadone is not legal dope. For addicts taking methadone it produces no kind of high or impairment. All it does is it occupies the opiate receptors in the brain so that the recovering addict won't have any cravings and won't be able to get high from other opiates if they tried to use. Methadone patients just feel completely normal after they take their medication and are therefore able to live normal, productive lives like anyone else. That's the truth. I know.

Philip Paris
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Philip Paris 08/04/11 - 02:29 pm
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Response from Dr. Philip

Response from Dr. Philip Paris
While it is always a happy moment to see the addition of a much needed methadone treatment center, there is a level of naiveté here that is surprising. To simplify the mystery of the addictions by suggesting addicts are looking for stress relief is just a bit too pat. And in spite of seeking to overcome the stigma of methadone, these people do all they can to minimize the great importance of methadone in treating opiate addiction. Counseling is wonderful, but the claim that counseling is the major function of the clinic is not compatible with clinical experience over the past 40 years of methadone maintenance treatment. Still, all good wishes go to the founders of this new facility and I wish them the greatest success.

Kezita
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Kezita 08/04/11 - 03:15 pm
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Unfortunately, Dr Paris, this

Unfortunately, Dr Paris, this is a fairly common view of many methadone treatment providers, ones that are of the belief that it is simply a tool to treat withdrawal symptoms so that the "real work to treat the addiction" can begin. The main focus on treatment is "triggers", "people, places and things" and improving your character defects. Of course the scientific community, having studied methadone and how it works on opiate addiction for over 40 years, knows better. Opiate addiction is not a character defect, it's a brain disease which has been long proven by leaders in the scientific field. Methadone is a medication for that brain disease and it's the only thing that has allowed me to remain drug free in recovery for almost 8 years, living a great, normal and productive life. Counseling has played no part in it whatsoever.
Unfortunately methadone clinic that have chosen to ignore science and instead base their treatment on the views of two 1930's alcoholics (Bill and Bob, founders of AA) often times harm their patient's recovery by doing things like imposing arbitrary dose caps and forcing early tapers. If you have the time it would be great if you could write a letter to the medical director of this clinic in hopes of educating her and hopefully reducing her naivete.
Thanks.

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