What Happens When Drug Addicts Can’t Afford Treatment?


Northern Kentucky's only provider of methadone treatment for heroin addicts is losing patients who can't afford to pay for their medicine, say the Cincinnati Enquirer. For the 90-plus patients at the NKY Med Clinic who can't pay the $450 per month, it means a high risk of relapse and heroin overdose. Cathy Daines said her son is among those who will lose what she considers a life-saving treatment for him. He has asked to be weaned off methadone because of the expense. It was a treatment that was working.

Unlike Ohio, Kentucky's Medicaid program won't pick up the cost. The state Cabinet for Health and Family Services did not expand Medicaid to include the drug this year. There is “opposition and fear” and need for education about methadone, said Jill Midkiff, spokeswoman for the Cabinet. Kentucky also did not have money budgeted for such a high-cost program, she said. NKY Med Clinic, which has 900-plus patients, asked the state about getting Medicaid reimbursement for its 10- to 15 percent of patients who can't afford it, but that's not an option in Kentucky.

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