By The Washington Post
While Congress and the Trump administration were promoting greater use of the addiction medication buprenorphine to quell the opioid epidemic, a handful of states were licensing new methadone clinics in dozens of the nation’s hardest-hit communities.
The methadone treatment industry, which began in the late 1960s, grew more in the past four years than it has in the past two decades, said Mark Parrino, president of the American Association for the Treatment of Opioid Dependence, which represents methadone treatment providers.
Between 2014 and 2018, the methadone industry added 254 new clinics, according to data from the Drug Enforcement Administration. In the two decades before that, increases in the number of programs were only incremental, Parrino said. “We haven’t seen such a dramatic increase in the industry since the 1970s.”
Despite a national drumbeat for more science-based treatment for people addicted to prescription painkillers, heroin and other illicit opioids, the expansion of methadone clinics has mostly gone unheralded.