Methaphobia: Us and The


by Ira Sobel
Italian version

Ira Sobel, M.A. is Staff Writer and Researcher for Methadone Awareness, Editor-at-Large for The Ombudsman and has written articles for the newsletters of many of NAMA's affiliates.
Have you ever been discriminated against because of being on methadone? Were you ever blackballed by a 12 step program and at the same time told to sit still and shut up? Have you ever heard the different labels people call us and the medication we are taking, methadone? Well, if these things have happened to you, then you have experienced "METHAPHOBIA." This is a state-of-mind in which someone or a group displays an intense fear, bias and prejudice against people on methadone and methadone programs. Anyone or any organization has the capability of being methaphobic. All it takes is a feeling of animosity for drug addicts coupled with distrust and misinformation about methadone.
We on the program, have been the victims of prejudice. We have had to overcome difficulties in the early stages of methadone treatment. It comes down to the issue of acceptance. We want to be accepted as being in a legitimate treatment modality just like therapeutic communities, drug free programs, day care programs and after care programs. The decision to get into treatment and our choice of treatment remains with us. While drug addiction is viewed as a disease, being on methadone is looked upon as a weakness. That's where we have to change people's attitudes and perception of us.

People on methadone every where must continually be on guard against methaphobics. We must defend ourselves against anything or anybody that proves to be negative and hostile. Any injustice done to one of us, hurts us all. We have been stigmatized and stereotyped to the point where there is now a clear distinction between us and them!!! That is us on methadone programs, the professionals in the drug abuse and addictions field that believe in methadone treatment and those open-minded folk that consider methadone awareness to be recovery.

As for them, the methaphobics could be everyday people, those in recovery that follow Narcotics Anonymous traditions, law enforcement agencies, some people that work in the medical field and those that work for methadone programs who treat patients poorly and in essence can't be trusted. The first chance the methaphobic gets, he will take advantage by creating a problem for the person on methadone. Whether it is a staff member on our programs or an employer, methaphobics can be anywhere.

It just seems that the good programs and good patients are not above being put down by the methaphobics. They clearly don't believe that someone on methadone can recover from opiate addiction and be a productive member of society. In essence, methaphobics want to put us all in a jar and make things difficult. That's how it goes. A staff member known for his or her stern treatment of patients will kick out reprimands to those that only want to get better.

There are those methaphobics that would feel justified in dismantling the whole methadone system. That is methaphobia at its most extreme. They will not stop abusing us until everyone on methadone is either thrown off the program or beaten down. That is exactly why we have to defend ourselves and more importantly, we must unite as a force to be reckoned with. People on methadone must stick together if we are going to overcome the methaphobics.

My proposal for overcoming the wrath of the methaphobics are as follows:

Go to methadone advocacy meetings.
Start methadone advocacy groups.
Read and write articles for methadone advocacy newsletters.
Pass along important information that everyone on methadone needs to know.
Get up and stand up for your dignity and rights.
Fight against blind-dosing, supervised urines and other clinic policies that are demeaning.
Be familiar with the state regulations ("regs") that preside over methadone programs in your state.
Be involved! We can no longer allow others, like providers to make decisions for us that impact on our treatment and lives.
Essentially, methaphobics are the kind of people that won't be satisfied until they hurt someone on the program. Methaphobics have this itch and can't scratch it because people on methadone will overcome these hostile actions and words made by these foolish and asinine individuals and organizations.

I urge all people on methadone to be knowledgeable about the methaphobia concept. It is up to each person on methadone, world wide, to be educators and to join in the struggle to end the ignorance that perpetrates methaphobia.

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