What is Methadone?
Methadone is a synthetic opiate, which was originally created in Germany as a pain medication. Presently methadone is used as a treatment medication for treating opiate based addictions and helps those with opiate substance use disorders live normally throughout their methadone treatment, without getting high. But methadone has a dark side.
Because methadone is an opiate itself, those who take the drug as prescribed everyday have the risk of developing an addiction to the medication itself- and like any other opiate, once tolerance and a penchant for abuse is established, methadone comes to replace heroin, Vicodin, or any other addictive opiate drug.
Although methadone is prescribed with the best intentions, akin to many opiate based pain medications, it often inflicts more harm than good- as its potential for addiction and abuse is exceedingly high. Although, some are able to overcome opiate addiction with the medication; as such there is much controversy surrounding the use of methadone addiction treatment for opiates as it seems there will always be a need for addiction treatment for methadone itself.
Why Is Methadone Used?
Methadone is an opiate which does not produce the same high as other opiates when used as prescribed by an addiction professional. When used as intended methadone helps to allay the symptoms of metahdone withdrawal entirely for recovering heroin and opiate addicts by providing the body with the opiates necessary to prevent withdrawal symptoms.
Methadone maintenance therapy is intended to help wean opiate users off of opiates safely while they reestablish their professional and personal lives. Methadone helps to lessen the burden of recovery, and helps those overcoming the physical and mental dependency to opiates transition easier, as opposed to using abstinence based models of treatment, which often result in relapse.
Why Does Methadone Get Such a Bad Rap?
Although methadone is intended for the ultimate good, the numbers opposing methadone have valid reasons for being against the use and prescription of the medication. Because methadone causes withdrawal itself after treatment, it is not considered an optimal drug to use for opiate addicts, who are attempting to relinquish and redress their physical dependency to opiates- which is impossible on methadone.
Mothers who are pregnant and prescribed methadone will pass on the opiate to their unborn children, who will later be born with neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS)- forcing the newborn to undergo a painful opiate withdrawal within the first weeks of its life.
Many believe resorting to methadone based treatment is the same as remaining a slave to opiates, and discredit the entire treatment method altogether.
What Medications Are Similar to Methadone?
There are medications which are proposed to be safer than methadone, with less instances of subsequent addiction and abuse including suboxone and naltrexone. Both medications are designed to help recovering opiate addicts stop getting high, by satisfying the body’s urge for an opiate, without being floored into withdrawal.
Although there is still opposition to treatment with suboxone and naltrexone, the rates of relapse and overdose death from methadone are exponentially less common when compared to abstinence based therapy methods.
Why Is Methadone so Addictive?
Methadone is addictive because it is an opiate based drug; therefore, it poses the same risk as other opiate based medications like oxycodone, vicodin, and morphine.