Can We Answer Any Questions?

For persons who may be seeking information regarding possible admission to any of START's programs, at a minimum the following information would be helpful:

  • Picture ID
  • Social Security Card 
  • Proof of Address
  • Insurance Information: (Medicaid Card, Medicare, Managed Care Provider ID, Other types of Insurance Coverage).

For more information on admission into START's programs please call 718.260.2900 for a list of START locations click here. 

What are the characteristics of opiate addiction?

Some characteristics include physiological/psychological effects such as euphoria, pain relief and calming that require more and more of the drug as an addict builds up tolerance.

Social and behavioral characteristics include inattention to daily responsibilities and needs, changes in activities, self-image and relationships, general deterioration of hygiene, isolation from most non-dependent friends, associates, and family and general instability in daily living.

The physical consequences include drug overdose, extreme deterioration of overall health, and a high risk for infections, such as HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis B and C, sexually transmitted infections, and tuberculosis.

Why seek treatment?

The impetus to stop addictive behavior and seek treatment may be exhaustion and 'burnout' from such a harsh and demanding lifestyle or it may arise from fear of the dangers of street life or serious illness.

The catalyst may be pressure from family, friends, employers, the legal system or it can be the result of unsuccessful personal attempts to stop using. Opiate-dependent individuals seek professional help to find support for change, to handle life stress, to break unhealthy connections, to regain a sense of stability, and to repair health and social problems.

How does methadone treatment work?

Methadone treatment programs are staffed by professionals with extensive medical, behavioral and administrative expertise. Patients receive individually prescribed medication from a licensed and certified medical staff member, meet with a primary counselor and attend clinic groups, and access medical and social services.

Who is eligible for treatment?

Admission is open to anyone who is/was addicted to heroin or any other opiate for at least two years if between the ages of 18-21, or for at least one year if over 21.

Our REACH and outpatient detoxification programs have slightly different admission criteria so contact us for more information. Applicants whose medical or psychiatric needs are beyond the scope of what we offer are referred to a more appropriate program.

What is methadone?

Methadone is a long-acting, synthetic opiate that is administered orally. When taken as prescribed and at the proper dosage, methadone blocks the effects of illicit opiate use and will decrease opiate craving. Patients who are stabilized on adequate dosages of methadone can function normally. Benefits of treatment include:

  • reduced high-risk behaviors that cause the spread of HIV/AIDS and other STDs
  • decreased use of heroin and other opiates
  • providing a major stabilizing force for those addicted and their families
  • cost-effective care for patients and our communities

Is methadone treatment medically safe?

Methadone treatment has been the most widely studied approach to opiate addiction and has been used effectively for over 40 years. Research and clinical studies have proven the unequivocal medical safety of long-term methadone treatment.

When taken as prescribed, long-term administration of methadone causes NO adverse effects to the heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, blood, bones, brain or other vital body organs. The myth that methadone is physically harmful has been shown scientifically to be unfounded.

Patients with conditions such as HIV/AIDS, hypertension, diabetes, pneumonia, cardiac conditions, cancers, psychiatric disorders, etc., can usually be treated effectively.

With proper stabilization, sexual function normalizes for both men and women and women can conceive and have normal pregnancies and deliveries. Because methadone crosses the placental barrier, babies born to those receiving treatment may at first be physically dependent on methadone and need to be weaned.

Does methadone treatment impair mental function?

There are no adverse effects on intelligence, mental capacity or employability with methadone. Our patients are lawyers, engineers, secretaries, truck or taxi drivers, roofers, gardeners, teachers, salespersons, architects, computer programmers, etc.

What other  medications may be useful in the treatment of opiate addiction?

Suboxone (buprenorphine and naloxone) was approved in 2002 by the FDA for the treatment of opioid dependence and qualified under the Drug Addiction Treatment Act of 2000 for private, office-based treatment and medication-assisted programs.

What is naltrexone?

Naltrexone, a non-addicting, long-acting narcotic was approved by the FDA in 1985 for the treatment of  opioid dependence. It is effective from 1-3 days depending on dosage level and blocks the euphoric effects of heroin and other opiates. Research has demonstrated that naltrexone may be most helpful in preventing opiate relapse.

How are methadone treatment programs regulated and monitored?

Methadone treatment is the most monitored and regulated medical treatment in the US. Federal and state regulatory agencies monitor treatment programs through on-site program reviews and accreditation by the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS). Programs receive their narcotic license from the US Drug Enforcement Administration.