FAQ

Isn’t medication-assisted treatment with methadone or buprenorphine (Suboxone) just replacing one drug with another?

When we say someone is addicted, we are describing a pattern of compulsive drug use in spite of negative consequences. Someone who is taking methadone or buprenorphine as prescribed is not engaging in a compulsive pattern of behavior in spite of negative consequences. Instead, they are taking a medication as prescribed because of positive benefits associated with treatment.

People who are addicted to heroin or other opioids are more likely to experience overdose, homelessness, violence, incarceration, termination of parental rights, and health problems like HIV and hepatitis C.  

People who are participating in medication-assisted treatment with methadone or Suboxone are less likely to experience overdose, homelessness, violence, incarceration, termination of parental rights, and health problems like HIV and hepatitis C. 

People are not replacing one problem drug with another, they are replacing addiction with recovery. 

The scientific research is clear. Medication-assisted treatment with methadone or buprenorphine is the most effective form of treatment for opioid dependence.  Medication-assisted treatment saves lives and improves lives.

What’s the best way I can help a loved one who is using opiates? 

First, do no harm. Do not do anything that is likely to increase instability or cause harm.

Be informed. Get educated about addiction, treatment and recovery. Obtain information from trusted professionals and websites.

Recognize that you can maintain appropriate personal boundaries and actively help your loved one at the same time.  Figure out where that balance is for you.

Help your loved one identify their treatment options. Help eliminate barriers to treatment, such as transportation. Encourage progress.

Provide consistent support. Recovery is a process that takes place over time. For most people, the process includes periods of use/relapse. Take the long view, be consistent in your support, and don’t give up.

Be prepared. Get an overdose rescue kit with naloxone and make sure naloxone is readily available in the event of an overdose. Naloxone is a nasal spray used to reverse an opioid overdose in progress.

Do insurance companies pay for opiate abuse treatment?

Treatment is often covered by insurance. Talk to your treatment provider to learn more and to find out about options available to people who do not have insurance coverage. 

What is the Good Samaritan law and how does it apply to people who may experience a drug overdose?

In Vermont, the Good Samaritan law provides limited immunity from prosecution under state criminal laws to those who seek help in the event of an overdose on alcohol or other drugs. The law prioritizes getting help for someone who is overdosing, and seeks to encourage those present at an overdose to call for help. 

In the event of an overdose, if someone calls for help, then the person overdosing, the person calling, and anyone else who is helping cannot be arrested or prosecuted for violation of any drug crime, including possession of any amount, sale of any amount, or delivery of any amount--even if a death results. They cannot be arrested or prosecuted for providing alcohol to a minor. They are protected from violation of probation, FSU/furlough, or conditions of release. They are also protected from violation of a restraining order.