Current Issues in Methadone Use

Current Issues in Methadone UseMethadone is used to treat addiction to opiate drugs for several reasons. It alleviates the withdrawal symptoms of powerful substances, but it does so without producing a euphoric high or disrupting brain function the way that other drugs do. As a result, patients using methadone to help them detox can avoid withdrawal symptoms while they function in their daily lives. Also, methadone has a much slower onset and a longer cycle than many drugs, meaning that patients can go 24-72 hours between doses. As a result of its lack of euphoric high and its slow onset of effects, methadone has traditionally been considered to have a low potential for abuse.

Drawbacks to Methadone Use

Using methadone to treat opiate addiction has always carried some major drawbacks, the primary reason being that it is an addictive substance. While users may in fact break an addiction to a stronger opiate, it is possible that they will thereafter become dependent upon methadone. Furthermore it may take even longer to detox fro methadone as from other drugs. Treatment for methadone dependence consists of tapering the dosage gradually under medical supervision, but it may take time to break addiction completely.

Emerging Trends in Methadone Abuse

Recently recreational drug users and addicts have abused methadone more and more. Due to its traditional reputation as a poor candidate for abuse, the sudden spike in methadone abuse and methadone-related deaths has left health experts searching for an explanation. The reasons remain unclear and as yet there is a lack of hard data, but educated speculation suggests some possible reasons for this trend. The most likely reason for the increase in methadone use involves the increased popularity of opiates like heroin and opioid painkillers like OxyContin, combined with the increased availability and relative low cost of methadone. In addition to using methadone to treat heroin addiction, many doctors have begun prescribing it for its pain relief, especially since the recent crackdown on OxyContin and other opioids. This means that more methadone is being diverted to the illicit drug market. Many experts speculate that addicts are turning to methadone to avoid withdrawal symptoms when other opiates are not available or are hard to get.

A related issue is the rise in methadone overdose fatalities. This may very well be due, at least in part, to methadone’s slow onset of action; if a heroin or OxyContin addict with a tolerance takes methadone, she will not notice the effects as quickly or as strongly as she is used to with harder drugs. She may then take a larger dose, and maybe even another, waiting for the high. By the time the methadone kicks in, the addict may already have overdosed without even knowing it.

Help Finding Treatment for Methadone Addiction

Methadone addiction is a dangerous physical condition. It will produce withdrawal symptoms that make it extremely difficult to stop using the drug on your own. Detox professionals know how to taper methadone dosage safely and effectively, and they offer the best chance for recovery from methadone addiction. They will minimize withdrawal symptoms as much as possible and help you recover from your drug habits.

If you or someone you know needs professional assistance with methadone addiction, call us now. Our helpline is toll free and we are available 24 hours a day.