Methadone treatment program: A program for opiate addicts, usually conducted in an outpatient setting. These programs use a long-acting synthetic opiate medication, usually methadone or LAAM (levo-alpha acetylmethadol), administered orally for a sustained period at a dosage sufficient to prevent opiate withdrawal, block the effects of illicit opiate use, and decrease opiate craving. Pregnant women who are addicted to opiates can also be safely treated with methadone. Using the most effective dose of methadone does not increase the baby's symptoms of withdrawal.
People who are stabilized on adequate, sustained dosages of methadone or LAAM can function normally. They can hold jobs, avoid the crime and violence of the street culture, and reduce their exposure to HIV by stopping or decreasing injection drug use and drug-related high-risk sexual behavior. Patients stabilized on opiate agonists can engage more readily in counseling and other behavioral interventions essential to recovery and rehabilitation. The best, most effective programs include individual and/or group counseling, as well as provision of, or referral to, other needed medical, psychological, and social services. Also known as agonist maintenance treatment or opiate agonist maintenance.