How Others Influence Your Methadone Use

How Others Influence Your Methadone UseMethadone use is sometimes controversial and stigmatized. Many researchers believe the drug is a powerful tool to decrease cravings for opiate use while other anti-drug groups believe people must learn other coping skills to fight addiction.

Methadone Facts

Methadone is an opiate analgesic that effectively treats pain not helped by nonnarcotic pain relievers, according to Medline Plus. The drug also helps people addicted to heroin and other opiates by alleviating withdrawal symptoms and reducing the desire for the opiates.

Brand names for the drug include Dolophine and Methadose. A person who takes methadone to relieve pain should gradually reduce the dose to avoid withdrawal symptoms.

Methadone Clinics and Addiction Treatment

People commonly associate methadone with its use in addiction clinics. The drug has been used for more than 30 years to treat opioid addiction, especially heroin addiction, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Methadone is a long-acting synthetic opiate that affects the same receptors in the brain as heroin or other opiates. While heroin produces a rapid high, methadone acts slowly when taken as prescribed. People can continue normal activities, such as driving a car, while taking methadone because it does not intoxicate or sedate them. Since methadone and heroin act on the same receptors (mu opioid receptors), a person who takes methadone will experience fewer cravings for heroin and other opiates.

Some community activists fear methadone clinics encourage higher crime rates in their vicinity. However, an NIDA-supported study found crime rates around Baltimore-area clinics were the same as in surrounding neighborhoods. Further agency research shows methadone use actually prevents crime and has the following advantages for some populations:

  • Reduces addiction-related deaths
  • Lowers the spread of HIV
  • Reduces repeat criminal acts

Despite these findings, methadone use in addiction clinics remains controversial.

Drug Users and Methadone Clinics

Methadone clinics can bring individuals in contact with old relationships, such as former drug dealers and old acquaintances, which may bring up memories of drug use and rekindle cravings. Yet, during this vulnerable time, a person benefits from support and coping techniques, which are often taught in therapeutic settings.

However, the majority of therapeutic communities, including addiction treatment centers, do not provide methadone maintenance. A 2010 NIDA study shows this policy does not have to prevent individuals receiving methadone from seeking residential treatment. The study found that people who take methadone as a replacement therapy for opiates do as well as people who do not take the drug. Since longer treatment times are associated with better long-term recovery rates, methadone maintenance is considered beneficial because it helps many people participate in recovery longer.

Need Help Finding Treatment for Heroin or Opiate Addiction?

If you need help finding the best treatment for an addiction to heroin or another opiate, call our toll-free number today. Treatment for the withdrawal signs of opiate addiction is crucial, and the disease responds best to a combination of medication and talk therapy. Our admissions coordinators are available 24 hours a day. Call our number today to get started on a treatment plan.