The stigma and stereotypes associated with recovering addicts has made most of them to silently go through the recovery process. Most of the critics are drawn from friends and families, which are expected to support the addicts through the recovery process.
In Danvers, just like in other towns, there are recovery clinics that serve heroin addicts. One such clinic serves a daily dose of Methadone to recovering addicts. Methadone is a synthetic analgesic drug, which is commonly used as a substitute drug in the treatment of heroin and morphine addiction. Unlike the latter drugs, methadone is less potent and also less addictive. This drug is prescribed to persons withdrawing from heroin or morphine addiction. It enables them to function normally without causing them to be high.
Josh, Brian, Elizabeth and Tracey are a representative fraction of those who frequent the methadone clinic in Danvers. Contrary to stereotypes which associate heroin addicts with hopelessness, homelessness and wastefulness, these four recovering addicts are just like any other person. They work hard, hold day jobs, have loving families and some are raising children. Their realization that they needed help before heroin either killed them or caused them to lose everything they had worked for was the primary motivation which led them to seek help.
Despite the fact that these and most addicts have decided to seek help in the only place they know, they still face stigmatization from the society. Most employers, clients, family members and friends argue that methadone is also a drug. They hold the opinion that these addicts should commit to complete withdrawal.
However, what these people fail to understand are the side effects associated with heroin withdrawal. They fail to understand that there are high chances of heroin relapse once the recovering addicts fail to follow through the methadone program.
Tracey testifies how methadone allows them to function normally. She points out that you would rarely notice a recovering heroin addict who is on methadone because he or he will be functioning as normal just like any other normal person. Tracey’s addiction had resulted from painkiller addiction. She had secretly abused heroin for six long years before deciding that enough was enough and checked into the methadone program.
The methadone clinic opens its doors early in the morning to serve working men and women then later on serve the rest. During the early hours of the day, you would see respectable men and women; people with respectable jobs- lawyers, doctors, teachers, accountants, engineers- coming for their daily dosage. Later on in the day, the patients that come to the clinic confirm the stereotypes associated to heroin addiction. These patients often look broken and wasted. They look like people that no one would dare hire for simple jobs. Sadly, stigma associated with methadone use fuels and feeds stigmatization of methadone users. Most critics adopt a one-dimensional look at the users of methadone; they see the group that come for their dose later in the day and turn a blind eye to the professionals who come for their doses early in the day. They effectively practice selective amnesia, choosing to forget that methadone helps some professionals to function normally.