Methadone Addiction Treatment
Taking methadone is not a cure for heroin, Oxycontin, hydrocodone or any other opioid or opiate addiction. In fact true freedom from drug addiction involves physical detoxification and a program that addresses the mental, emotional, social and spiritual aspects of drug addiction. Methadone has 3 times the half-life of most opiates including heroin, thus making it much harder to get off of if you were to get addicted to the Methadone, which doesn't take long.
Methadone is a synthetic opiate that was originally developed by German scientist during World War II. The German doctors needed morphine for the injured troops, but the Allied forces had cut the supply lines that forced them to develop this alternative. Methadone was later introduced to the United States in 1947 by Eli Lilly and Company as an analgesic under the commercial name of Dolophine. Its long half-life was its advantage in medical settings over other natural or synthetic opiates. The analgesic effects of methadone can last two to three times longer than other opiates.
Because of its slow metabolic breakdown, it was later used to block or decrease the cravings and withdrawal symptoms from persons that were addicted to opiates generally and heroin in particular. In the 1960's the government sponsored clinical research to demonstrate the benefits of methadone administration as a substitute for heroin and from this research it was determined that methadone could be used as a substitute for heroin.
All states were given the opportunity and choice to develop regulations to govern methadone clinics to treat opiate addicts. Some states declined this option and today there are states where the sale of methadone for opiate substitution treatment is still illegal, however, most states now have clinics in their bigger cities.
Methadone has its place, but, there is a strong downside to using methadone as a substitute for other opiate addictions. The main objection is the fact that methadone addiction is more difficult to recover from than heroin or any other narcotic. Methadone effects can last up to 24 hours, thereby permitting once-a-day oral administration for heroin withdrawals, however, it is quite ineffective as a "cure" for addiction since it merely transfers the addiction from a heroin addiction to a methadone addiction. Those persons that subscribe to the notion that "once an addict, always an addict,” have little trouble with this type of reasoning, but the majority of addiction professionals realize that addiction can be arrested and cured and to sentence someone to a life of methadone addiction under the guise of a cure is irresponsible, or even, “immoral”.
Most states limit the maximum dosage of methadone at a level under 200mgs/day; however, a few states do not impose a limit on daily amounts since they believe that some persons may require more than 200mgs/day to curb their cravings for other opiates. The pharmaceutical companies are naturally lobbying for this cap to be eliminated under the pretense of providing better addiction care for their patients.
Patients that are using methadone replacement therapy are only doing so because they have had little to no success in earlier attempts to handle their addiction, in fact, 97% of patients reported that they would quit using methadone if they could be assured that they would not have to experience the severe withdrawal symptoms that accompany this drug. Many professionals feel that this fear is what keeps these patients "chained" to their methadone clinics with a lack of hope for any drug free existence.
When methadone patients were asked if they would like to stop using methadone if they didn't feel any withdrawal symptoms, 97% reported that they would end their use of methadone except from this fearful consequence.
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