Dufferin St. Clair Community Clinic provides individualized care people suffering from opiate addiction. Our caring physicians and staff are here to help you get better. If you think you have an opiate problem, you have probably already waited too long. Come in today and get the help you need. We will help you decide which treatment is right for you.
We offer you a safe, and comfortable environment to help you get better. You are your own person. We help you address your individual needs and recovery. We help you discover what will work for you. Walk in any time we are open and we will do our best to start you on your road to recovery. Our goal is to start your addiction treatment the same day.
We perform a thorough intake assessment with each individual and together formulate a treatment program that is best aligned with the patient’s medical history and recovery goals. We provide a supportive and non-judgemental atmosphere that is committed to treating each person with the utmost respect, dignity, and compassion.
What is Opiate Addiction?
Opiate Substance Use Disorder is the compulsive use of opiates such as morphine, codeine, fentanyl, oxycodone, hydromorphone and heroin and includes brand names such as OxyContin, Dilaudid and Percocet.
You may be suffering with an opiate addiction if you have used larger amounts over a longer period of time, are using increasing amounts, spend a lot of time getting or using, neglected responsibilities at work, school or home, have cravings, tolerance, or withdrawal, have tried to quit and been unable to stop, have overdosed, or driven under the influence.
Methadone and Suboxone programs are the most effective treatments for maintaining abstinence from opiates. They are long acting opiates that take away cravings and withdrawal symptoms. They won’t get you high and will allow you to function normally at work and home. Both medications are prescribed by our experienced physicians.
Come in and let your doctor help you decide which medication is right for you.
What is Methadone?
Since the 1960’s methadone has been used for opioid treatment programs.
Methadone is an opioid that is long-acting generally lasting 24-36 hours/dose. Methadone is used in our clinics as an effective and legal alternative to opioids, in our opioid substitution therapy we use methadone as a substitute to other narcotics such as fentanyl, heroin, oxycontin, opium, codeine, Percocet, etc.
Methadone is used to stabilize the lives of people battling opioid addiction and have developed a dependency on the drugs.
Methadone is used to reduce the harmful effects of the drug and the withdrawals related to drug use. It helps to stabilize the lives of people who are dependent on opiates and reduce the harm related to drug use while helping individuals return to a stable, safe, social and economic state.
Methadone is the most well-known and longest used treatment for opioid addiction, Methadone is a full agonist, which means it attaches to receptors in the brain and other parts of the body.
Methadone reduces symptoms of opioid withdrawal and blocks the effects of other opiates. When Methadone is taken as part of treatment program patients feel normal and do not crave opiates.
Methadone is administered once per day via a liquid solution. Methadone dosages are slowly adjusted to avoid the risk of overdose. Methadone can lead to overdose and death when abused.
What is Suboxone (Buprenorphine/Naloxone)?
Suboxone (buprenorphine/naloxone) is a partial agonist that is used is used for opiate agonist treatment. Suboxone is effective for treating opioid withdrawal as it alleviates the physical symptoms, as well as decreases cravings for continued opioid use.
A partial agonist means that the medication only partially attaches to opiate receptors. The fact that it is a partial agonist means that there is a ceiling effect from Suboxone so that there are usually a decreased risk of side effects.
In order to start Suboxone, a patient needs to be experiencing withdrawal symptoms. If a patient is not in withdrawal when starting Suboxone there is a risk of severe withdrawal symptoms.
How Effective is Opiate Agonist Treatment for Opioid Addiction?
Research shows that opiate agonist treatment helps a patient stick to the recovery process and reduces opioid abuse compared with other non-medicated approaches.
The medications not only lessen opioid cravings, but they help patients with the physical, mental, and emotional symptoms that occur during withdrawal.
Opiate agonist treatment helps alleviate opioid withdrawal symptoms including:
• Joint pain
How do the Programs Work?
The goal of our treatment program is to stabilize patients on methadone or suboxone and establish the correct dose. Opioid substitution therapy promotes a sense of health while preventing the symptoms of opioid withdrawal. Both Methadone and Suboxone significantly decrease cravings for opiates, ultimately helping eliminate drug use.
While taking methadone or suboxone it is recommended to refrain from taking other opiates. If you take another opioid while on methadone, the effectiveness of the methadone or suboxone can diminish. We want to help you transition to a drug-free life.
What Happens at My first Visit?
Our program is designed to help patients transition to a drug-free life. We have medical professionals who provided counselling to assist patients to reach their objectives. At your first visit:
• You see the doctor for an initial consultation
• Have a medical examination, with supervised urine testing
• Sign a treatment contract associated with a plan
• Start addiction counseling
• Lab tests are ordered
• Discuss treatment options
• If appropriate, prescribe methadone or suboxone
What Benefits Can I Expect From Methadone or Suboxone Treatment?
• A drug-free lifestyle
• A stable future with personal, social, family and financial stability
• Decreased or eliminated the cravings of drugs
• Resolution of legal concerns associated with addiction
• Improved chance to obtain or complete a higher level of education
• Improved chance at creating stable employment
• Improved self-esteem, self-worth & independence
• Improved health and the prevention of drug-related health concerns
• Improved quality of life
• A chance to regain respect, trust, and relationships
How Long will I Have to be on Methadone or Suboxone?
The duration of the methadone and Suboxone treatment vary from individual to individual. The key factors that attribute to the program duration include:
• The successful stabilization of opiate abstinence.
• Lifestyle modification/changes the patient has to undergo such as a stable family life, consistent employment, minimal financial and legal difficulties, and social support from non-drug-using associates including friends and family.
• Some patients are able to successfully taper off after a period of stability. Many patients benefit from longterm treatment as both methadone and Suboxone have been shown decrease drug use and reduce likelihood of death. Methadone and Suboxone are a safe and effective treatment that can be taken for many years to help achieve and maintain a life that is free of drugs.
What are the Side Effects of Methadone?
Most of our patients that go on the methadone program experience few, if any, side effects. Methadone is usually a very well-tolerated, but a few of the more common side effects are:
• Sleepiness or drowsiness
• Weight gain
Are there Other Options?
Of course, there are. You need to do what is right for you. Other options include detox programs, inpatient programs and abstinence-based groups, such as Narcotics Anonymous.
If you feel those programs can work for you, please try them first. These programs have helped many people but they are not right for everyone. We can help you decide.
If you have failed other treatments, tried quitting at home and can’t, or just want help today, methadone or suboxone may be right for you.
Myths Surrounding Opiate Agonist Treatment
Despite the ongoing evidence that opiate agonist treatment is the most effective treatment for opioid addiction, there are still stigmas and myths surrounding the treatment.
People struggling with opioid addiction may not know opiate agonist treatment is available to them, they may feel shamed by their addiction, or they may be given false information about the treatment actually does.
Stopping the stigma surrounding opiate agonist treatment and educating the public is a key step in providing treatment and combating the opioid epidemic.
Myth: Opiate Agonist Treatment Trades One Addiction for Another
One of the biggest misconceptions about medication-assisted treatment is that it simply trades one for another. While abusing Methadone can become a serious and life-threatening issue, when it is administered and maintained through the proper channels, Methadone and other medications used during opiate agonist treatment can be the very thing that stabilizes a patient and helps keep them in recovery.
By alleviating the physical and mental pain that is often associated with opioid withdrawal, opiate agonist treatment helps patients feel healthy and ready to work towards their goals of sobriety.
Myth: Opiate Agonist Treatment Is Only for the Short Term
Opiate agonist treatment isn’t a “quick fix.” Like any successful recovery and rehabilitation, opiate agonist treatment may be a longterm process. that requires both the ongoing efforts of trained medical staff and a patient who wishes to continue in their sobriety.
Myth: Opiate Agonist Treatment Will Interfere With Recovery
Opiate Agonist treatment is the most effective treatment for opiate addiction. Opiate agonist treatment often works relatively quickly when other treatments have failed.
Is Methadone Safe in Pregnancy?
Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding can receive methadone treatment. The National Institute on Drug Abuse states that methadone maintenance programs combined with prenatal care is a safe and effective treatment option when under the supervision of medical professionals. Babies exposed to methadone during pregnancy can require treatment for withdrawal symptoms and are typically monitored in hospital after delivery.
When it comes to women who are breastfeeding while undergoing methadone treatment, studies have found that the exposure of infants to methadone through their mothers’ breast milk is minimal and the benefits outweigh the risks for mother and baby.
Can I Stop Methadone Abruptly?
Symptoms of methadone withdrawal may begin 24 to 36 hours after the time of last ingestion. Methadone withdrawal may last anywhere from 3 weeks and up to 6 months.
A person can expect: decreased energy, anxiety, restlessness, sweating, watery eyes, runny nose, muscle aches, stomach cramps, goosebumps, severe nausea, vomiting, cramps, diarrhea, depression, drug cravings and difficulty sleeping.
Meet our Team Members
Dr. Robert Cooper
Dr. Cooper has been practicing in field of addiction medicine since 1997. He was chair of The Ontario Medical Association Section on Addiction medicine for 14 years and has served on the Board of the Canadian Society of Addiction Medicine.
He is a Distinguished Fellow of the American Society of Addiction Medicine, a Diplomate of the American Board of Addiction Medicine, a Certificant of the Canadian Society of Addiction Medicine, and has a Certificate of Added Competence in Addiction Medicine from the Canadian College of Family Physicians.
He has received two leadership awards from the Ontario Medical Association, Section on Addiction Medicine. He was a member of the Ministry of Health Methadone Treatment and Services Advisory Committee and the Narcotics monitoring Working Group.
Dr. Oded Samuel
Dr. Oded Samuel is a graduate of the University of Toronto School of Medicine, 1978. He has his certification in family medicine and has a full spectrum family practice.
He has had extensive emergency department experience and has a special interest in addiction medicine.
Dr. Samuel is on staff at the Humber River Regional Hospital.
Dr. Michael Schwartz
Dr. Michael Schwartz is a graduate of the University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine and is certified in family medicine and emergency medicine. He has a special interest in addiction medicine and is very experienced in treating opioid addiction with methadone and suboxone.
Dr. Schwartz established the Dufferin St. Clair Community Clinic with Dr. Robert Cooper and Dr. Oded Samuel in 1997. He is on staff at the Humber River Regional Hospital.
Dr. Lorne Sidenberg
Dr. Lorne Sidenberg is a graduate of the University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine. He is certified in Family Medicine & Long Term Care. He has a busy Family Medicine Practice in Woodbridge and is on staff at 2 nursing homes. He has a special interest in Addiction Medicine.
Dr. Sidenberg is on staff at the William Osler Health System where he was the former Chief of the Department of Family Medicine at the Etobicoke General Hospital for 20 years and where he also did extensive Emergency Medicine.
Dr. Oded Samuel is a graduate of the University of Toronto School of Medicine, 1978. He has his certification in family medicine and has a full spectrum family practice. He has had extensive emergency department experience and has a special interest in addiction medicine. Dr. Samuel is on staff at the Humber River Regional Hospital.