MMT in the Pandemic Era

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My perspective:

It’s impossible to minimize the disruptiveness and pandemonium created by an event such as a global pandemic but the impact of any disaster, natural or man-made on one’s sobriety and recovery is pretty much similar. Potentially, it’s an existential threat (no sobriety, no life) that one must (at least in part or to some degree) be preparing for (in good times), then weathered in the moment with as much equanimity as one can muster, through strong adherence to core principles of good recovery, higher power, one’s health care team, recovery community and network, family, friends and governmental assistance. And with a  concomitant overriding attitude of flexibility, forgiveness, and patience. Much easier said than done but I think that that is the proper perspective to strive for.

“Success” in this, which could literally mean survival requires pre-emptive consideration of some of life’s nasty vicissitudes and anticipatorily building in/planning/incorporating some resiliency and extra capacity/potential into all dimensions of our lives, in preparation for the proverbial “rainy day”. How that looks or is achieved is different for each individual.  People at various stages in life and recovery have varying resources, family sizes, responsibilities, etc, etc, but everyone must prepare for that proverbial ‘rainy day” ,however and in what ways they can, wherever they are on life’s spectrum. Just thinking about the “what ifs” is a great start!

If that can be followed by some concrete actions then that person is well on their way to becoming/having a less fragile lifestyle, one less susceptible to upheaval and disruption. That said, this is not an easy thing to accomplish or even address. It requires sustained focus and commitment, afterall when there’s no impending dangers so many other things demand our attentions.

Just as recovery covers a multitude of dimensions, resiliency, hardening, inserting protective elements into one’s lifestyle involves considering multiple domains, if we are to be considered even somewhat ready to weather adversity successfully. The impact of adversity is never completely compartmentalized, as we’re experiencing now as a public health disaster creates a financial one. That said, I don’t think anyone can be completely prepared for any eventuality. The goal is to consider it and take at least baby steps towards mitigating the most damaging sequelae on our personal and family lives.

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What might this look like for someone in Recovery or MMT?

-Things to do during “normal” times:

  1. Know your Dr/Clinic’s emergency protocols and plans
  2. Line-up alternative modes of transport to the clinic
  3. Establish an Emergency Fund for Clinic charges and  financial emergencies
  4. Try to earn “Take Home” doses privileges asap or inquire about a 90-day supply of medication
  5. Maintain your recovery network
  6. Develop healthy habits: these will guide and sustain you in stressful times.
  7. Burn all bridges to/disassociate from the drug culture

Clinic-related things to do during “disasters”:

  1. Check-in with the Clinic or your counselor or the website. Get informed of any changes, new rules. Inform them of any new changes with you
  2. Maintain your schedule as much as possible.
  3. Be patient and follow the new rules. Change can be difficult but realize that it’s being implemented for a greater good, not just to irritate you or make your life more difficult.

Photo by Edward Jenner on

Here’s some advice from Dr. Nora Volkow of the NIH:

I hope you found this informative. For any questions please email me. 

Dr. Brad


Published by pcmed1119

I'm an Anesthesiology & Pain management-trained physician who has been professionally/clinically involved with/practicing in the field of opiate addiction medication-assisted treatments since 2006. I'd like to share my knowledge, perspectives and experiences here to benefit those interested in Opioid use disorder medication-assisted treatments and related issues.

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