It’s disturbing to see that a person who handles the legal problems of people with substance use problems doesn’t understand opiate addiction [“Methadone shouldn’t be open-ended,” Letters, May 8].

Even more distressing is the family member whose letter of May 16 agreed [“Methadone shouldn’t be indefinite”].

Methadone and Buprenorphine — an opioid medication used to treat opioid addiction — are provided on an open-ended basis for a very good reason. Opiate addiction is a chronic relapsing disease. That means it is incurable.

Most persons with opiate addiction cannot maintain abstinence. Before methadone therapy, the family member’s relative would probably have died.

Methadone programs are comprehensive, especially in New York, and there is no need to go into rehab. The services in a methadone program are better.

The question is, why is the relative still going to the methadone clinic three times a week? In New York, after three years, you can receive a month’s take-home medication.

But you have to be compliant and doing something with your life. And you don’t need to get off methadone for that. Methadone patients can do anything they are qualified for.

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Joycelyn Woods, Gramercy Park

Editor’s note: The writer is executive director of the National Alliance for Medication Assisted Recovery, an advocacy organization of patients and health care professionals.