ARTICLE OVERVIEW: This article explains the how methadone clinics operate in the Silver State. Learn more about the regulations and the process of starting treatment at a methadone clinic in Nevada.
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
- What is Methadone Treatment?
- How Methadone Clinics in Nevada Work
- Methadone Dosing and Costs in NV
- Nevada Regulation of Methadone
- Nevada Laws and Rules
- Nevada Methadone Doctors
- Nevada Sponsored Methadone Clinics
- Nevada Methadone for Veterans
- The Drug Epidemic in Nevada
- Methadone Saves Lives
What is a Methadone Treatment?
Methadone is prescription medication that is part of “Medication Assisted Treatment”, or MAT. MAT is a combination of behavioral therapy and FDA approved medications to treat substance use disorders. In fact, methadone is one of the most commonly used medication in MAT. It treats addictions to drugs like heroin, morphine and codeine, as well as semi-synthetic opioids, including oxycodone, and hydrocodone.
Methadone works by occupying nerve receptors. This way, it normalizes brain chemistry so that people can lead a normal life and work on the deeper issues of addiction. In particular, methadone:
- Blocks the euphoric effects of opioids
- Delays withdrawal
- Relieves cravings
- Normalizes body functions
….without the negative effects of harder drugs. Although it is effective in treating addiction, methadone is highly regulated substance. Patients must receive it in a controlled setting under the supervision of a medical professional. By law in Nevada, methadone can only be administered through an opioid treatment program certified by SAMHSA. 
How Methadone Clinics in Nevada Work
So, how do methadone clinics operate in the State of Nevada? What can you expect when you first go to a methadone clinic in Nevada?
First, you’ll need to go through an intake process. This consists of a clinical assessment to determine whether you are a good candidate for methadone treatment, or not. You won’t be given the medication until your condition is completely evaluated and the supervising physician sets up a treatment regimen for you. A licensed doctor will determine your dose based on your assessment at intake. So, the first time you visit a methadone clinic you go through a process of screening.
Plan to talk openly about the nature of your problem to a counselor or nurse. You can expect to be asked about your complete medical history and also provide a drug test. Since each person reacts to the specific type of drug and treatment differently, each individual’s care is tailored to their unique problems. The medical staff will inform you about the treatment program, its goals, and its guidelines.
Then, once you’re considered eligible for methadone treatment…. you will begin to visit the methadone clinic daily. This is the only way to receive your prescribed doses. You may be allowed to take methadone at home, usually after some time and only after you show progress and ability to manage the dosage.
Finally, you should be invited to attend counseling sessions at the clinic. Clinics that use best practices in treatment will offer different forms of behavioral therapy. These sessions should address the cause of your addiction and help you overcome it, so you can sustain lasting sobriety. Typically, these services are required by methadone clinics in NV….along with medical, vocational, educational, and other assessment and treatment services.
Methadone Dosing and Costs in NV
Methadone dosing is individual, but most patient usually require a dose of 60-120 milligrams per day. Patients on higher doses are shown to stay in treatment longer and use less heroin and other drugs than those on lower doses. Do not stop taking methadone clod turkey because it can result in withdrawal symptoms. Instead, consult with you doctor about tapering schedule.
Methadone treatment, including medication and integrated psychosocial and medical support services for daily visits costs about $126.00 per week or $6,552.00 per year.  Nevada Medicaid Fee for Service, Health Plan of Nevada, Anthem, and Silver Summit Health Plan cover drugs used for treatment of opioid addiction, methadone included. 
Nevada Regulation of Methadone
If you’re ready to start taking methadone, you need to know how clinics are regulated in the state of Nevada. The governing body in charge of methadone clinics is the Bureau of Health Care Quality & Compliance, HCQC, which operates under the Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health, DPBH. . Here are some main state requirements for all methadone clinics in NV:
1. HCQC issues licenses for all methadone clinics and oversees their work. You can search licensed facilities in Nevada here.
2. Each person employed in the treatment of opioid use disorder must have proper education, training, and experience in order to perform the assigned functions. All medical staff must be licensed and meet the requirements of their profession. Only licensed doctor can prescribe methadone and manage doses and take-home polices.
3. While most methadone clinics in Nevada usually comply with these rules, if you’re not satisfied with the services you can submit a complaint about a methadone clinic here. HCQC Investigates complaints against health facilities in Nevada.
Nevada Laws and Rules
Every methadone clinic in the Nevada must operate under specific laws and regulations. The following federal and state law and regulations are set in place in order to keep clinics safe. In Nevada, the laws that outline how methadone clinics must operate are outlined in the Nevada Administrative Code, or NAC and Nevada Revised Statute or NRS.
42 CFR § 8.12, Federal opioid treatment standards: This law states that each opioid treatment program must be certified in order to prescribe methadone. Patients who receive methadone treatment are required by Federal regulations to receive medical, counseling, vocational, educational, and other assessment and treatment services, in addition to the medication. 
NRS 449.0303, “Authority of Board to require licensing of other facilities”: This law is filed under Nevada Revised Statutes, Title 449. It defines the body that sets the regulations and the requirements for licensing of Facility for Treatment with Narcotics and that oversees standards for proper and regular operation of Methadone Clinics. 
NAC 449.154, Facilities for Treatment with Narcotics Regulations: This law outlines all the necessary regulations required for operation of Facilities for Treatment with Narcotics. 
Nevada Methadone Doctors
Methadone is only administered under medical supervision by licensed doctors and through opioid treatment programs certified by SAMSHA. Methadone certified doctors will determine your dose based on your initial assessment. S/he can also decide to change the dose during treatment or reduce the dose gradually if you need to stop taking methadone. If you experiencing difficulties while taking methadone, talk to your doctor immediately.
But, where can you find a licensed methadone doctor in Nevada? SAMSHA offers an opioid treatment program directory. Check the centers authorized to give methadone to patients in Nevada in the following link.
State Sponsored Methadone Clinics in Nevada
The opioid addiction epidemic is a public health issue for Nevada and the United States. Although millions of people around the nation are addicted to opiates such as heroin or prescription painkillers, the majority of them never get the help that they need to overcome the physical drug dependence and get sober.
Fortunately, methadone clinics provide those in need with an affordable option that results in sobriety without financial ruin. Methadone can help you live a stable life.
Nevada has a number of different organizations where people struggling with addiction can turn if they need financial help for detox. One of these is the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Agency, or SAPTA.  Additionally, Nevada Medicaid Fee For Service, Health Plan of Nevada, Anthem, and Silver Summit Health Plan cover the majority of FDA-approved drugs on the market. Some prescribed drugs will need a prior authorization, have quantity limits or require an approved exception to the preferred drug list before coverage.
Detailed information about the coverage plans for medications relating to substance use disorders is available at: Information Bulletin on Methadone for Addiction in NV.
Nevada Methadone for Veterans
U.S. war Veterans are at risk of addiction. Men and women can experience problems with the use of alcohol, tobacco, street drugs, and prescription medicines. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs offers services for Veterans who struggle with drug or alcohol dependence. One of which includes a drug substitution therapies and newer medicines to reduce cravings like. 
If you are interested in learning more about these services, you can apply for VA benefits online, by phone, by mail, or in person. It usually takes a week or less to be approved. Once approved, you need to find a VA facility in Nevada that can begin treatment with methadone. Most VA Medical Centers offers substance use treatment. Throughout the state of Nevada, there are a number of treatment centers specifically created for Veterans to address this. To find a clinic closest to you, check out the Nevada VA Directory here.
The Drug Epidemic in Nevada
The Nevada State Division of Public and Behavioral Health is working with other state and federal agencies, public and private health organizations, and others to combat the drug problem in NV. If you or someone you know is experiencing addiction …. you need to know you’re not alone .
Help is available.
The Nevada State DHHS Office of Analytics published a report called “The Nevada Opioid Surveillance Report” for the period from 2010-2017. This report contains information about opioid-related poisonings, hospitalizations, emergency room visits and deaths.  The most important statistics?
- In 2017, Nevada coroners registered 388 deaths due to opioid-related overdose.
- In 2017, Nevada’s ER Departments processed 7,125 opioid related emergency room visits. For comparison, in 2010 there were only 2,936 visits.
- In 2017, Nevada rehabs processed 8,661 inpatient admissions for opioid related treatment. This is just about double the number in 2010; that year there were 4,362.
Methadone Saves Lives
When taken as prescribed, methadone is safe and effective. Methadone allows individuals to recover from addiction. It occupies brain centers so if you take a painkiller or heroin, you don’t get high. In fact, a number of studies have found that methadone can:
- Reduce narcotic related deaths.
- Reduce heroin users’ involvement in crime.
- Reduce the spread of infectious diseases.
- Help users gain control of their lives.   
This way, people on methadone in NV and across the country can start to work on the real reasons they use drugs. Methadone is a path to a meaningful and productive life in society!
The path to recovery starts today. Don’t let another day pass in the chains of addiction. A small step can mean be the difference between life and death.
If you’re ready to reach out, please give us a call. Let us help you. Or rehab admissions navigators can help describe what American Addiction Centers can do for you. We know addiction. If you want to live life without the need to use…call us. We can help.