Bill cites a methadone advocate making an important distinction–treating dependence vs. treating addiction.
The stigma attached to methadone is also shaped by the expectations of methadone treatment as a system of care. Methadone advocate Walter Ginter comments on such expectations:
Patients, former patients, staff, policy makers, and the public expect the methadone treatment program to treat addiction. While that is a reasonable expectation, it is not what Opioid Treatment Programs (OTPs) do. OTPs treat opiate dependence, and they do it very well. Most patients on an adequate dose of methadone do not continue to use opiates. However, opiate addiction is more than dependence on opiates; it is dependence combined with a series of behaviors. OTPs (with a few exceptions) do not treat the behavioral aspects of addiction. The behavioral aspects are not treated by a medication but rather by counseling, therapy, peer recovery supports, and 12-step groups. As long as well-intentioned people go around saying that “methadone is recovery,” it is going to continue to be misunderstood. Methadone is a medication, a tool, even a pathway, but it is not recovery. Recovery is a way of living one’s life. It doesn’t come in a bottle.547