Smoke & Mirrors: LePage Cutting Methadone Funds

Sometimes I feel like I’m alone, staring at an elephant. The elephant is usually standing in the middle of somebody’s living room and folks are pretending that they can’t see it. I hate wrestling with self doubt but I end up checking multiple times to ensure that it is in fact an elephant.

In the midst of the hopelessly misguided debate over whether Suboxone is more efficacious than Methadone we’re not acknowledging the elephant…

Getting an intake and prescription for Suboxone is exceptionally difficult in Maine. In greater Bangor, one is likely to wait months for a first appointment. The current debate sounds to me like the experts are rightly saying “Hey, this form of treatment saves lives!” And Lepage and Mayhew are saying, “This other form of treatment works far better!”

But Lepage & Mayhew neglect to recognize that there’s a huge lack of physicians who are willing and able to prescribe the other form… This feels like misdirection.

Both forms of treatment can be remarkably effective….but one is readily available and the other simply isn’t. To Maine’s leadership I ask: What’s the plan to make Suboxone more available and why does it seem no one is discussing the multiple systemic disincentives that exist for physicians who might prescribe it?

We’re already falling well short of meeting the need for Suboxone treatment in our state. To recommend moving from Methadone to Suboxone is irresponsible when there’s no realistic plan to expand availability.

Jim LaPierre

About Jim LaPierre

Jim LaPierre LCSW CCS is the Executive Director of Higher Ground Services in Brewer, Maine. He is a Recovery Ally, mental health therapist and addictions counselor. He specializes in facilitating recovery (whether from addiction, trauma, depression, anxiety, or past abuse) overcome obstacles, and improve their quality of life. Jim offers a limited amount of online therapy to those with very flexible schedules.