Drug Treatment

Drug Treatment

Great Heights Family Medicine Narcotic Treatment Program:

The inspiration for the GHFM Opioid Treatment Program came from Dr Fatoki’s experience as a jail physician. Dr Fatoki noticed that a significant number of the patients he encountered in the various jails he visits were incarcerated because of issues related to addiction. The scourge and devastation of prescription opioids on the lives and families of these patients was apparent. Some of the patients can be mean and insensitive when first incarcerated and withdrawing from drugs. Once the patients are drug/alcohol free after a few weeks in jails, their personalities change and they become more “normal” like many of them say. They do very well in a controlled drug free environment but once released, many end up back on drugs. Realizing that if some of these patients had access treatment, they may be able to keep their families together and remain gainfully employed. Dr Fatoki also realized that many people don’t seek treatment because of the stigma of standing in line outside of a methadone clinic. Others do not understand the disease of addiction and “don’t want to substitute one drug (methadone) for another (“heroin”). This jail experience formed the foundation of our drug treatment program. The program was designed to educate and encourage treatment of opioid addiction while minimizing any associated stigma. The program is in an office type setting in a suburban mall with other professional businesses include accountants, insurance agencies, physicians, attorneys and dentists. There is no loitering, littering or long line outside the building. Many of our patients are gainfully employed and having loving families. Our convenient hours were chosen to minimize lost time from work or other commitments. Our staff and counselors are professionals who believe in our mission of compassionate care and respect for all. Great Heights Family Medicine is fully committed to providing access to the treatment of addiction and to restore lives to families and communities that have been devastated by the disease of addiction. We encourage family members and loved ones to visit the program so that their questions and concerns about methadone treatment can be addressed.

Opioid Addiction:

Addiction is a chronic brain disease. Although many people who do not understand addiction believe it is a character flaw, it shares the same characteristics as all other chronic illness.Addiction is no more or less a character flaw than diabetes, hypertension, asthma, sickle cell, cystic fibrosis, HIV or any other chronic illness. Many people take medications to treat chronic illnesses every day, therefore taking medication to treat an addiction should not be viewed negatively. Some characteristics that chronic illnesses (including addiction) have are:

1. They are chronic
2. They typically cannot be cured by medication or prevented by vaccines
3. They can be managed with lifestyle changes and/or medication
4. They tend to run in families.

Taking medication and making lifestyle changes are effective tools in managing addiction just like other chronic illnesses like diabetes. Many patients are able to restore their families, secure jobs and live normal lives on methadone. Most (if not all) of our patients see the difference that treatment with methadone has made in their lives and are strong advocates for medication assisted treatment. Treatment with methadone is not substituting one addiction for another but instead, it is using proven and effective medication to treat the devastating disease of addiction.

Prescription opioids:

The number of prescription for opioids (e.g. hydrocodone, oxycodone) in the US increased from 76 million in 1991 to almost 207 million in 2013. The US consumes almost 100% of the hydorocodone (vicodin) and about 81% of the oxycodone (Percocet) produced worldwide. About 2.1 million Americans either abuse or are addicted to prescription opioids.


The number of heroin users in the US increased from 380,00 to 670,000 between 2005 and 2012. In 2012, it was estimated that about 470,000 people were addicted to heroin.

Licensure and services offered:

We are licensed by Illinois DASA and SAMHSA as an Opioid Treatment Program (OTP). We are provided treatment with methadone following federal guidelines using best practices. We provide individual and group therapy. We provide free HIV testing and limited hepatitis C testing in collaboration with our partners. Our dosing hours are from 6 AM to 8 AM, Monday through Saturday and 4 PM to 6 PM, Monday through Friday. We plan to extend our evening hours depending on patient demand. We currently have openings for new methadone and guest dosing patients.We do not accept any insurance reimbursements but will be glad to provide receipts and other necessary documents for patients to seek reimbursements from their insurance companies or payors.

Methadone facts:

Methadone Maintenance Treatment is the most Effective Treatment for Opiate Addiction
Methadone is a synthetic agent that works by: “occupying “ the brain receptor sites affected by heroin and other opiates.


Blocks the euphoric and sedating effects of opiates ;
Relieves the craving for opiates that is a major factor in relapse;
Relieves symptoms associated with withdrawal from opiate;
Does not cause euphoria or intoxication itself (with stable dosing) , thus allowing a person to work and participate normally in society.
Is excreted slowly so it can be taken only once a day.

Methadone maintenance treatment, a program in which addicted individuals receive daily doses of methadone, was initially developed during the 1960’s as part of a broad, multi-component treatment program that also emphasized re-socialization and vocational training .

Methadone maintenance treatment has important benefits for addicted individuals and society

These benefits include:
Reduced or stopped use of injection drugs;
Reduced risk of overdose and of acquiring or transmitting diseases such as HIV, hepatitis B or
C ,bacterial infections, endocarditis, soft tissue infections, thrombophlebitis, tuberculosis and STDs;
Reduced mortality- the median death rate of opiate-dependent individuals in MMT is 30 percent of the rate of those not in MMT;
Possible reduction in sexual risk behaviors, although evidence in this point is conflicting
Reduced criminal activity;
Improved family stability and employment potential; and
Improved pregnancy outcomes.

Using commonly accepted criteria for medical interventions, several studies have also shown that MMT is extremely cost-effective

Length of treatment:
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), studies have shown that 12 months is the minimum length of treatment for methadone maintenance. Many patients benefit from methadone treatment over a period of years. Since each individual is different, patients should weigh the benefits of methadone maintenance against the risk of not being treated. “Most of those who discontinue methadone maintenance treatment later relapse to heroin use”. Taking methadone maintenance to live a “normal life” is better than the devastation of heroin or prescription heroin or prescription drug addiction/abuse.

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