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Addiction & Recovery

UNM Health System’s Addiction and Substance Abuse Program (ASAP) specializes in providing diverse proven substance abuse and mental health treatment, including specialized services for women. ASAP provides services to adults and adolescents with a primary substance abuse diagnosis and to individuals who have a substance abuse disorder along with other mental health issues.

ASAP Adult Program

Our Newstart program features 12 weeks of treatment with at least two hours of contact weekly. We utilize a cognitive-behavioral format. Individual sessions with your primary counselor are encouraged, and we also offer a women-only group. The Ambulatory Detoxification program is designed to medically assist patients with either an alcohol or drug detoxification.

We also offer opioid replacement therapy, which helps stabilize patients using legal substances while providing therapeutic support services. Here are some things you can expect with this treatment:

  • You will be seen by a medical doctor and provided with information about heroin detoxification.
  • You will be provided with information about replacing heroin with daily methadone maintenance or another replacement therapy called buprenorphine.
  • You will receive counseling and case management.
  • You will also receive careful follow-up to make sure the treatment is working.

Our ASAP Primary Care Clinic offers adult primary care services for those being treated for substance abuse using preventative medicine.

Finally, we will work to spread more truths about methadone while dispelling some myths.

Some think methadone doesn't help people and that it simply replaces one drug for another. The use of methadone decreases the risk of contracting or spreading diseases like HIV or hepatitis. It decreases the need for illegal activity to support heroin dependence and it allows people to work and establish a family life.

Methadone is valuable because it helps people change their lives to include: parenting, setting goals, working, and fixing legal problems.

Methadone is not a cure. It is like using other medication to reduce blood pressure. If you stop your medication the physical and often social problems return.

Research shows people on methadone reduce their drug and alcohol use. Methadone does not cure addiction, but it reduces withdrawal symptoms. 

A stable dose of methadone allows a person to function without sedation or intoxication. People on methadone are able to stay stable and avoid a four-hour cycle of being high and the following withdrawal.

Withdrawal from methadone does take longer than withdrawal from heroin because methadone stays in the body's system longer than heroin. The stronger and more intense heroin withdrawal symptoms last three to five days. Methadone withdrawal symptoms are less severe but last longer (10 to 14 days). If a person wants to get off methadone, it can be done slowly with a doctor and additional prescribed medication that can help detoxification.

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