Monday, April 15, 2013

Giving Methadone To Addicts -Treatment or Coddling

By Jason Moses

Drug addiction is a very serious problem in the United States and is known to be one of the major contributors to the rising numbers of the prison population in the US. It therefore has a great toll both socially and economically as is witnessed by the families that are disrupted by this habit, the cost of rehabilitation programs and loss of man power.

One of the measures that have been taken in dealing with this social menace has been the use of Methadone, which a synthetic opioid that was developed in Germany in the 1950s for the treatment of pain but was discontinued due the dosing challenges it posed to patients. Although after further research a safe dosing and usage procedure was developed.

Methadone is used for a rehabilitation program known as methadone maintenance treatment which works by giving recovering addicts a predetermined dose of methadone at intervals over the course of a given period of time. This works to help the addicts return to their normal lives and stop using drugs.

When an addict takes methadone it works in the brain in almost the same way that the illicit drugs work, by occupying similar sites in the brain as the drugs and as a result this decreases the cravings experienced and also reduces the possibility of a relapse.

However, it has not been all smooth sailing with the treatment program as some problems such as that of addiction to the methadone; where people on the program end up addicted to it or sell their dose to others or even use it for other purposes like combining it with other illicit drugs.

Part of the reason may be because of the methadone withdrawal symptoms experienced by the addicts when they get to the point of stopping the use of the drug. Methadone is known to have very harsh physical and mental effects which are likened to those of heroin withdrawal. This is in addition to the fact that the withdrawal symptoms can last for weeks or even months.

So most addicts just opt to give in and continue taking the methadone not so that they can get better but just to avoid the pain and suffering of trying to quit. So they end up still addicted only this time they don't have to buy their drug off the street or use unhygienic means to take it.

While treating addicts with methadone is a noble idea that has helped many out of addiction many others have fallen through the cracks in the program and continue to struggle in with the addiction it causes.

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