‘Methadone saved my life’ – New bill would expand addiction treatments

A United States congressman from South Jersey is hoping to help those recovering from addiction nationwide get better access to one type of treatment, while also reducing the stigma surrounding it.
“Methadone has saved my life, really,” says Cherry Hill resident Ronnie Hartman.
Hartman shared his story of addiction and recovery at an event held on Monday.
“My life is very different than it was then,” he says.
Hartman is hoping to bring awareness to methadone – a drug used to treat opioid addiction – and the limited access to clinics where it is available.
“I’d go to the clinic every day when I first started. I was waiting in line for hours at a time, stressing about if I’m gonna get to work on time and everybody else in line with me is doing the same exact thing,” Hartman says.
Dr. Kaitlan Baston works for the addiction medicine division of Cooper University Healthcare. She says that there are restrictions on methadone clinics.
“There are a lot of local restrictions around where they can be and how many there can be, so for that reason, people don’t have access and they have to drive an hour or two hours, take two buses, three buses. It can be rally hard, especially in rural areas,” Baston says.
Rep. Donald Norcross has announced legislation that would make the process much easier under the Opioid Treatment Access Act.
“It would make methadone accessible at pharmacies, just like all the other medications that I prescribe to my patients,” Baston says.
The legislation would also work to destigmatize the treatment method – a treatment that works, according to Baston and Hartman.
“I don’t know where I’d be without methadone, but it definitely wouldn’t be here,” Hartman says.
Norcross says that he will be introducing the legislation in Washington this week.