Methadone treatment information session

Dr. D. Di Valentino explains to the small crowd the ups and downs of methadone treatment. (Photo courtesy of Jen MtPleasant)
Dr. D. Di Valentino explains to the small crowd the ups and downs of methadone treatment. (Photo courtesy of Jen MtPleasant)

Six Nations Health Services held a Methadone treatment information session Thursday evening at Six Nations Polytech. The information session was done through the community education component of the Connections Project which examines linkages between chronic physical and emotional pain and addictions.

Sher Miller, from Six Nations Mental Health, stated that as part of the Connections Project, a survey has been conducted on at least 102 Six Nations band members. The purpose of the survey is to determine a needs analysis for people who are currently seeking methadone treatment.

Dr. D. Di Valentino works at the Brantford Methadone Treatment Clinic on Colborne St. According to Di Valentino, methadone is a synthetic opioid medication that is commonly prescribed for the treatment of chronic pain. It also treats opiate addictions. Methadone treatment is used for the reduction of heroin related withdrawals symptoms and cravings, the medication is administered in liquid form on a consistent basis.

A concerned resident inquired as to whether the community has ever thought about bringing a methadone clinic to Six Nations. Community members who seek methadone treatment are required to attend clinics off the reserve. For many people, this can become difficult as they lack reliable transportation. Since people have to attend the clinic frequently to receive their prescribed dosages, people are being forced to move off the territory to be closer to where the clinics are. If people continually miss their appointments, they end up having to start their program over again.

Director of Six Nations Health Services, Ruby Miller, was on hand to explain the controversial issue of bringing a methadone treatment clinic to the territory. According to Miller, there have been several attempts to bring this clinic to Six Nations but barriers surfaced. The local pharmacy would not support the idea since a pharmacist is the only person who is legally allowed to dispense methadone. Secondly, Band Council would not support a clinic down here. Miller feels that there just isn’t enough community awareness on the benefits of methadone treatment.

Di Valentino explained the ‘best analogy’ in regards to a person’s struggle with addictions and how others often perceive and label these people is, “a diabetic being told to get their sugar under control without using the insulin.” He believes methadone treatment is the best and safest way to go for a person struggling with certain drug addictions.

The bottom line of the information session was to acknowledge that there is a drug abuse problem on our territory and the community needs to come together and work at finding solutions. Whether or not methadone treatment is the right way to go, is for the community to decide but it is also important to put aside your judgments of people with addictions and not fall into stigmatizing or labeling others.

Most people with drug addictions have underlying issues or circumstances, which are the reasons why they become addicted in the first place. According to Di Valentino, once we can get their addiction under control with proper medical treatment, we can start to address the other issues that the person may have.

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  1. Why anyone would listen to this farse of a doctor is beyond me. He can’t even treat his own patients let alone anyone else. :/

    1. You should have him treat you for negativity…just a thought. Dr. D is doing wonderful work, for his patients and far beyond. Think about what you’re doing for your community Kay…another thought and likely nothing at all.

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