Is Methadone Free? | Are There Free Methadone Clinics?

Medically Reviewed by Johnelle Smith, M.D. on June 21, 2021

Methadone is a prescription medication used to treat chronic pain and opioid use disorder. The cost of methadone and methadone clinics may be covered by your health insurance, depending on the type of insurance and specific insurance policy.

Are There Free Methadone Clinics?

Methadone treatment is not free. However, it may be covered fully or partially by health insurance, depending on the type of insurance, the insurance provider, and other factors.

Methadone is one of several medications that may be prescribed within medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorder, also referred to as opioid addiction.

Where you can find methadone treatment:

  • detoxification (detox) centers
  • free and low-cost methadone clinics
  • inpatient addiction treatment centers
  • outpatient addiction treatment facilities

Cost Of Methadone

There are free and low-cost methadone clinics that exist in the United States. However, this doesn’t mean the cost of the actual drug is free.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, methadone treatment—including the cost of psychosocial treatment services—can cost about $126.00 per week, assuming daily visits.

This reflects the cost of methadone if you plan to pay out of pocket. Many health insurance companies, as well as government insurance like Medicaid, will cover methadone costs.

Do Insurance Companies Cover Methadone?

Methadone may be covered in full or part by health insurance. Copays, out-of-pocket costs, and deductible requirements may apply.

Factors that can affect insurance coverage for methadone include:

  • your insurance provider
  • type of insurance (e.g. private, Medicaid, Medicare, Tricare)
  • where you live
  • eligibility requirements
  • where you’re getting the methadone
  • whether you’re taking it alone or with other treatment services

Not all opioid treatment programs are eligible for the same level of coverage.

Insurance coverage for methadone may vary depending on the type of treatment setting (e.g. inpatient vs. outpatient) and the type of treatment program.

Are There Free Methadone Clinics?

There are facilities in the United States that offer free or low-cost methadone treatment for those who qualify. Methadone may be fully covered or offered on a sliding scale.

Methadone clinics that fully or partially cover the cost of methadone treatment for patients are often subsidized by local, state, or federal funding.

The majority of free clinics in the United States are operated by private, non-profit agencies.

Why Are There Free Methadone Clinics?

The U.S. opioid epidemic is a major public health concern. From 2013 to 2019, the rate of fatal drug overdoses involving synthetic opioids other than methadone increased by 1,040 percent.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC):

  • More than 36,000 people in the United States died of an opioid overdose involving synthetic opioids other than methadone.
  • Almost 70 percent of the more than 67,000 drug overdose deaths that occurred in 2018 involved an opioid.
  • Fatal opioid overdoses and opioid use disorder cost the United States more than $1 trillion in 2017.
  • Treatment for opioid use disorder accounts for only a small fraction of the total cost of fatal opioid overdoses and addiction.

For these reasons and more, the U.S. government has prioritized the expansion of effective treatments like methadone.

Methadone maintenance treatment is shown to reduce the risk of fatal opioid overdoses and improve opioid addiction recovery outcomes.

What To Know About Methadone

Methadone belongs to a class of drugs known as opioid agonists. It is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for pain management and to treat opioid use disorder.

Methadone For Opioid Use Disorder

Methadone maintenance treatment is a type of medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorder. Methadone is one of several medications that may be used to treat opioid addiction.

Approved medications for opioid use disorder include:

  • methadone
  • Suboxone (buprenorphine/naloxone)
  • buprenorphine
  • naltrexone

Within a treatment program, methadone may be offered as a standalone treatment or in combination with substance abuse counseling or behavioral therapy.

Why Methadone Is Used To Treat Opiate Addiction

Methadone can offer several benefits for people addicted to opioids. It can reduce opioid cravings, reduce the risk of relapse, and reduce the risk of an opioid overdose.

Although methadone can have some side effects, it is currently one of the most effective treatments for opioid addiction. For some, the use of methadone can be life-saving.

Is Methadone Safe?

Methadone is safe and effective when taken as directed by a healthcare provider. Medical supervision may be required while taking methadone at a methadone clinic.

How To Find Free And Low-Cost Methadone Clinics

Methadone can be a life-changing addiction treatment for people addicted to prescription or illicit opioids.

Call our helpline today to find free or low-cost methadone treatment options near you.

This page does not provide medical advice. See more

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Medically Reviewed by
Johnelle Smith, M.D. on June 21, 2021
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