Getting Help

Fortunately, for anyone seeking substance use treatment for themselves or a loved one, there are options available. Howard Center offers multiple recovery supports and services, including outpatient, residential, and medication assisted treatment programs.

Our medication assisted treatment programs are part of the HUB and Spoke model of treatment and provide a high level of care which is regulated by federal guidelines. Through this system, clients receive medication daily and can earn the privilege to take home medication.

To help clarify what some of the terms are that are associated with treatment options, we have included brief descriptions of the most common.

Medication Assisted Treatment includes the use of Methadone, buprenorphine and naltrexone. While they all attach to the same receptor sites in the brain as opioids, they work in different ways.

Methadone is an “agonist” medication. This means it binds to the opioid receptor sites in the brain and activates the receptors. It is like turning a dimmer switch fully on. Because methadone is a long lasting medication, people do not experience the “high” of using faster acting opioids.

Buprenorphine is a partial agonist which is like turning the dimmer switch so that the lighting is part way on. This means that there is a maximum, or “ceiling” effect.

Naltrexone is called an antagonist. It binds to the same receptor sites but instead of activating them, or lighting them up to use the dimmer switch metaphor, it turns off the light. This means that any other opioids cannot bind to the receptors. People will have to use large amounts of opioids to get “high.” It is given either orally daily or once a month as a shot in the muscle. It is only appropriate for people who have not taken any opioids in the last 7 days so is often used for people coming out of a residential program, prison, or a hospital setting. It is also effective for people who have an alcohol use disorder.

Once people are stable on their medication they will be able to make behavioral changes that will have a positive impact on their recovery.

Methadone is only prescribed and dispensed in an opiate treatment program (OTP or “hub”) when it is used to treat opioid use disorders, and it may require two months to reach a stable dose.

Buprenorphine is prescribed by physicians in an office-based opioid treatment program (OBOT or “spoke”) as well as being dispensed in OTPs. Forms of buprenorphine include:

  • Mono-therapy which contains only buprenorphine, known commercially as Subutex.
  • Combo-therapy which contains burprenorphine and naloxone in a 4:1 ratio, commercially known as Suboxone 

There are generic versions of both Suboxone and Subutex.


Intensive Outpatient Program 

Howard Center's Intensive Outpatient Program helps individuals who are beginning the recovery process and require an enhanced level of care to achieve or maintain sobriety.

The program provides intensive support for anyone who is making the transition from residential or community based treatment or for those who need more than weekly individual and/or group counseling can offer.

Services are provided at two locations:

Burlington: 802.488.6140
St. Albans: 802.524.7265