Opioid Addiction Treatment FAQs

Common Patient and Family Questions

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Q: Does CATC treat addictions to substances other than opioids?

A: CATC is currently focused on treating Opioid Use Disorder. That said, our patients often present addiction to opioids and other substances, i.e., alcohol, cocaine, and methamphetamine. Our expert addiction treatment specialists support them in meeting their personal recovery goals.

Q: How do I get started on a Methadone or Buprenorphine program?

A: CATC offers same-day intake appointments in all our centres. We recognize that when you are ready to start your recovery journey, we need to be ready to support you. From our location page, select the location that is nearest to you and then either walk-in or call 1-877-937-2282 to start your intake virtually.

Q: What should I expect during an intake appointment?

A: Our Intake appointments usually range from 60-90 minutes. Our CARE team will capture your medical history, discuss medication options, share information on how the treatment program works, and prepare for your initial assessment with an expert addiction medicine physician.

You do not need a referral to start on our programs, walk-ins are welcomed. You will be asked to present your provincial health card to see a physician.

Q: What are the costs of the program?

A: Our programs are usually delivered at no cost to the patient. In some cases, patients may have to pay for their medications or counseling services that are not covered by their provincial health plans. Our CARE teams will work with you to help determine the best plan to get the costs of your care covered.

Q: How can I ensure that my personal information is kept confidential?

A: All client information is considered confidential. We will not release your personal health information to anyone without signed consent from you unless it is required by law.

Q: I recently found out I was pregnant and need help; can I use Methadone to help with my withdrawal?

A: Methadone is a safe and effective way to manage opiate dependency during pregnancy. Treatment with Methadone prevents opioid withdraw, which can be dangerous for your baby. View our resource on Opioid Use Disorder During Pregnancy.

Q: When can I expect to be free of my opioid addiction with treatment?

A: Addiction is a chronic and relapsing condition. Every patient, depending on their history and recovery goals, will take a unique recovery journey. The ultimate goal of the program is to improve our patient’s quality of life across many dimensions – including ensuring the presence of a home, a job, and a friend for those who have lost so much because of their addiction. Methadone and Buprenorphine/Naloxone (Suboxone®), when taken as prescribed, are safe and effective medications. This decision to taper off these medications should be made with your physician to ensure the best chance of success for you and prevent sudden onset withdrawal.

People who are most successful at tapering off treatment, have generally been abstinent from illicit drugs for more than a year and are demonstrating a high level of functional stability, i.e., gainfully employed, presence of positive/supportive social relationships.

Q: How often do I have to come to the treatment centre?

A: Your visit frequency will change as your stability increases. In early recovery, you will see your doctor 1-2 times a week to get your dose adjusted and you will see your pharmacist daily for the first 2-3 months. As your drug use declines, you will see your physician less – usually 1 time per month and visit your pharmacist 2-4 times per month. CATC offers integrated medical and pharmacy services, so there is no need to visit multiple locations.

Q: When can I get my medications to take at home?

A: Once you have been on the program for 4-8 weeks you may be eligible for take-home doses. You will start with one dose, and as you gain stability these will increase. There are clinical guidelines that our physicians follow to determine take-home eligibility; physicians also utilize their clinical judgment based on your specific situation.

Q: How often do I have to complete a urine drug screen during treatment?

A: Frequency of Urine Drug Screens also changes as you become more and more stable. In the first few months of treatment, you will be required to produce a urine sample 1-2 times per week to help the physician understand your use patterns. We also use urine drug screens to ensure that you are taking the medication that is being prescribed, as diversion of prescription medications is common. In some cases, your physician will ask for a random urine drug screen; this practice helps us identify and prevent any unsuspected medication diversion that may be occurring.

Q: If I use drugs while on the program, am I kicked off?

A: Absolutely not. We recognize drug use and relapses are part of the recovery journey. It is important to remember that using other drugs while on Methadone or Buprenorphine/Naloxone (Suboxone®) can be dangerous. There have been reported deaths because of the combination of Methadone with alcohol, opioids, cocaine, barbiturates, benzodiazepines, and/or tranquilizers. If you have been prescribed or are using other medications, please disclose this to your CATC physician so they can make an informed decision on your treatment.

Q: Do you recommend Methadone or Buprenorphine/Naloxone (Suboxone®)?

A: The best medication for you is based on many factors and the decision should be made with advice from your physician. Both medications have their pros and cons and there is emerging evidence that medication choice should be influenced by the amount and type of opiates that are being used. In a recent survey of our patients, 67% of those who had tried both medications said Methadone worked best for them. This is consistent with data reported from other countries.

Because CATC offers several medication types, you can always transition between medication types to see what works for you.
Have a specific question? Please call us at 1-877-937-2282 or email info@canatc.ca.

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