Pubdate: Fri, 05 Jul 2002
Source: State, The (SC)
Copyright: 2002 The State
Bookmark: (Methadone)


Spartanburg -- Spartanburg county's top drug abuse treatment official 
opposes a planned methadone treatment center for heroin addicts that faces 
legal challenges from competitors.

Spartanburg County Alcohol and Drug Abuse executive director David 
Forrester said he questions the motives of privately funded methadone 
treatment centers. He said the centers are "in it for the money."

After Brent Brady, of Simpsonville, got a license to open Spartanburg 
Treatment Associates, lawyers representing treatment centers in Greenville 
and York counties appealed the opening to an administrative law judge.

An attorney with Orlando, Fla.-based Colonial Management Group said state 
law protects health care providers from competition so patient services 
won't suffer. A judge has scheduled a hearing on the matter July 16-18 in 

Forrester questioned the motives of most methadone treatment centers, but 
didn't specifically name any. "The private providers are making a lot of 
money," he said.

But Brady said he runs a clean program at his two outpatient narcotic 
treatment programs in North Carolina and would keep everything straight in 
South Carolina.

"With most private treatment programs, (Forrester) is right, but that's not 
our philosophy," Brady said. "We're trying to set a higher standard. My 
facilities do try to get patients detoxed off of methadone. We start 
weaning them off as soon as they and our staff think they're ready to start 
detoxing. Everyone's different; it could take 60 days, six months, or two 
years before they're ready."

Methadone is a legally prescribed synthetic drug that is used to treat 
opiate addiction by eliminating withdrawal symptoms. Patients do not get 
high from the drug, and can function normally after taking it.

Methadone patients generally are not interested in getting high or 
committing crimes in order to buy illegal drugs, as they might once have 
done, Brady said.

"They can be in treatment with us for $10 a day as opposed to spending $200 
or $300 a day trying to support a drug habit," he said.

Brady said his proposed methadone treatment center would charge patients 
$60 per week, $240 per month, or the $10 daily rate for treatment.

Even with the benefits, Forrester believes methadone will never be a 
long-term answer to drug addiction.

"It trades heroin or any of the other opiates for methadone," he said. "So 
people aren't really dealing with their addiction; they're just swapping 
one addiction for another.

"If methadone is used as a step-down drug, fine, but some people are taking 
it 15-20 years or for the rest of their lives."
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