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The Importance of Methadone Rehab
Despite the fact that there are still people who advocate for its use in recovery, the use of methadone accounted for more than 30 percent of all United States deaths attributed to prescription painkiller abuse. Yet actual prescriptions for the drug only make up for roughly 2 percent. That statistic alone should provide you with a clear overview why methadone rehab treatment is more necessary than ever before.
Despite the fact that people have only begun paying attention to opiate overdoses because of the increased media attention, this dangerous narcotic has been around for more than 50 years. The number of people who have a prescription to methadone has risen drastically in the last few years. Because of the dramatic increase in prescriptions between 1999 and 2009, there was an increase in methadone overdose related fatalities of more than 600 percent in just that decade alone. Not only is this drug extremely addictive, but it is also one of the main contributors to opiate related overdose deaths.
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A Bit of Methadone History
As mentioned before, the use of methadone as a painkiller has been around for years. During World War II, German scientists first synthesized the narcotic. This was done because the Germans needed an alternative painkiller, primarily because the Allied Forces had cut off Germany’s opium supply. Even though the chemical composition is different, German researchers found that methadone produced similar results to both morphine and heroin.
Methadone did not make its way into the United States until 1947, after World War II ended. This is when it started to become popular as a treatment for narcotic addiction. Because of its long-lasting effects (upwards of 24 hours), most rehabilitation facilities used methadone as a simple alternative to morphine drugs.
Yet it did not take long before people realized that the drug was not all positive. Dependence started forming very quickly and brutal withdrawal symptoms would begin to occur after users did not get their frequent dosages. Even though it took longer to develop an addiction to the drug, researchers found that the withdrawal symptoms with methadone took far longer to get rid of.
The Dangers of Methadone Abuse
It is important that methadone addiction treatment is not just important to help someone become a productive member of society; it can help save the user’s life. This is especially true because methadone abuse has a number of different risks associated with it. A few of these include:
- There is no room for error – The difference between a ‘recommended’ dosage of methadone and a dangerous dosage is extremely small. This means that people who are abusing the drug without a doctor’s prescription or without supervision are able to overdose on the drug without ever realizing how much danger they are in.
- Additional risks – Because methadone has a relatively long half-life, it means that people who abuse the drug will continue to build up increasing amounts in their system. If the user takes the drug more than three times daily, the last dosage will not have cleared from their system, despite the fact that the euphoric sensations may have passed already. This can lead to dangerous respiratory problems. Before people enter into methadone recovery, they often continue to build up their tolerance to the drug because of continued abuse.
- Heart rhythm problems – There are a number of studies that show that the use of this narcotic may disrupt the heart rhythm patterns. This means that patients are exposed to the development of potentially fatal arrhythmias.
- Drug interaction – The use of this substance by itself is dangerous enough, but when combined with other central nervous system depressants, tranquilizers, or prescription painkillers, the risk of a fatal overdose increases drastically.
Problems with Drug Replacement Therapy
There are a number of different clinics that try to combat opiate dependence by administering methadone. The concept behind this is simple, the user is being given an alternative while simultaneously receiving counseling. However, even though there is addiction counseling present in most of those situations, it is important to note that the brain and body are still being stimulated to rely on the addictive mentality.
Given all the dangers of methadone use and how addictive the drug itself can be, is there anyone who can make a solid argument that this is a good idea for most people who struggle with addiction? This concept is more about replacing an illegal drug that benefits drug dealers and criminal organizations with a legal alternative. It does not help people who struggle with addiction make better choices in the future. It would be counterproductive to enroll into a drug replacement program, only to need methadone rehab later on to deal with that new addiction.
Getting to the Underlying Cause
Whether it is a drug replacement option or whether a patient needs inpatient methadone treatment because of an addiction, methadone abuse requires treatment as early as possible. The truth is that with as many complications that the drug has, any time someone uses again, it could cause a fatal overdose. The habit forming potential combined with the long half-life, and the potential for long-term health problems should make it clear why finding a quality methadone treatment center is vitally important.
While finding long-term inpatient methadone rehab centers might sound less than ideal at first, the benefits are obvious. If someone wants to achieve enduring change and live a sober life, they need more than a lengthy period of sobriety. They need to understand that stress, happiness and many other triggers can lead to drug use. When compared to short-term treatment programs, long-term methadone detox centers have consistently netted better results. This is primarily because it gives the user the chance to become accustomed to living a sober life in a safe environment.
If you or someone close to you struggles with dependence, remember that professional methadone detox programs are available. Given the potential for a dangerous relapse, the long-term health issues and many other factors, do not wait any longer. Find professional treatment as soon as possible.