POLICE ASSOCIATION OF NOVA SCOTIA 99 Methadone is arguably the most polarizing aspect of the treatment puzzle. It's used as a short-term treatment to wean people off opioids but it's also becoming a long-term treatment. Once it's prescribed, patients must drink it each and every day, usually under supervision. People stay on methadone for years, even decades. Still, some private and non-profit facilities told us they won't allow the drug.They argue it's a type of opioid and they want their patients off all opioids. Some centres told us they don't endorse it but will allow patients to use it. All of the public detox centres, on the other hand, promote methadone. Waits of days or weeks We learned that getting into a detox centre will take a few phone calls and follow-up appointments before they'll accept a patient.That could take days or weeks, depending on what community you are in.We learned the longest wait for detox is in the Halifax area, where it could take three to four weeks to get a bed. In Yarmouth or Springhill, you might wait only a week.After detox, we found there are several options.You can try to get into a private rehab centre for long-term aftercare. If you have the resources — thousands to tens of thousands of dollars — a bed can be available quickly. Private insurance might cover the cost of rehab. In the case of non-profit facilities, we learned that many clients are receiving social assistance and use a portion of their monthly cheque to pay for treatment. If you opt for methadone maintenance, there may be a substantial wait-list.That means the patient may have to spend weeks or months trying to stay clean, waiting for the treatment that will ease intense cravings. In some cases, patients will have access to Suboxone, a newer and more expensive alternative to methadone. In Nova Scotia, it's only covered for people between the ages of 18 and 24. First Nations communities may also have coverage through the federal government. Not simple One thing immediately became clear as we made our calls: getting into treatment isn't as simple as making one call and asking for help. We learned that if you make repeated calls and prove your loved one is keen to get in, they will likely get moved up the list whether it's a private, non-profit or a public facility. Still, the rehab centres made it clear our family members had to be committed to accepting help and had to make the calls themselves. Some also stressed that it can be incredibly hard to break free from opioids. They warned us many will relapse and that families are often left disappointed. A CALL FOR HELP: WHAT IT TAKES TO GET TREATMENT FOR OPIOID ADDICTION continued Methadone is used to wean people off opioids but has also become a long-term treatment for addiction. (Bazuki Muhammad/Reuters)