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Behavioral Health Counseling Department Presents Methadone Colloquium

April 22, 2014

The Behavioral Health Counseling (BHC) Department at Drexel’s College of Nursing and Health Professions presented the first in a series of colloquia on March 11. The first installment, “Current Perspectives on the Use of Methadone in the Treating of Opiate Use Disorders,” featured guest speaker Thomas M. Baier, the Executive Director for Addiction Services at JEVS Human Services.

Baier has served as an adjunct faculty member at Drexel University for eight years in the Behavioral Health Counseling Program. He is also an adjunct faculty member for Villanova University, where he was Program Coordinator for the certificate program in drug and alcohol counseling for 10 years. Baier led a candid discussion on the uses, benefits, and misconceptions surrounding methadone use for opiate and opioid addiction treatment.

“If you think about its historical use and where it came from and how we use it today, there’s a huge difference in how we think of methadone today and its historical use,” Baier said. “It’s simply a synthetic agonist that holds onto those frame receptor sites that heroin and other opiates would otherwise occupy.”

At JEVS Human Services, Baier uses carefully administered doses of methadone to help his patients stop abusing opiate drugs. “It’s more cost effective to have a person in a methadone clinic than on the street abusing opiates,” he said. Baier also explained that administering methadone decreases the amount of disease spread through doing drugs, such as HIV from sharing needles. According to the International Mental Health Organization, methadone maintenance treatment is the most effective treatment for opioid addiction.

The Behavioral Health Counseling Department’s next colloquium is planned for May 22. Robert Chapman, PhD, will address the topic of alcohol drinking on college campuses.