Methadone is a synthetic opioid drug. It is used in medicine for pain relief and the treatment of various types of addiction. Methadone was first synthesized in 1937 as a pain reliever. It is included in programs and is widely used in patients with heroin addiction as a substitution drug all over the world. Methadone is less widely used for pain relief of moderate to low intensity. It can cause both physical and mental addiction if the dosage is incorrect. If you need to find a methadone clinic, AddictionResource will help you find all the information about treatment, medications, and costs.
1 Opioid substitution therapy
In some countries, within the framework of a pilot project, a program of opioid substitution therapy has been operating for more than ten years, within the framework of which methadone is offered as an alternative to drug addicts. The initiative divided the medical community into two camps. Good or evil – what haunts this project, which is still suspended.
The technology of replacing “green” heroin with synthetic methadone has been used in Europe and the United States since the mid-1960s. Substitution therapy consists of the centralized provision of drug addicts with a synthetic drug in the form of a syrup – methadone.
Synthesized by the Germans during World War II, it was used at the front as an anesthetic. At that time, this “know-how” was called dolphin (after Hitler). Soon methadone began to be used as an antipode to opiates, drugs based on poppy seeds. It was assumed that its regular use could switch the patient from a drug that is stronger and more destructive for the body to this drug. Methadone has a significantly more extended elimination period – the duration of its action is from 24 to 36 hours, while the duration of action of all other drugs is practically no more than three to six hours. Experienced drug addicts can take it once a day, and for beginners, one dose is enough for two or three days. As a result, withdrawal symptoms also last longer when you stop using. And second – it does not give intoxication or high (except for those cases when administered intravenously).
The first experiments to cure drug addiction in a similar way were carried out in Holland. And they failed. It turned out that methadone acts on heroin addicts only in the morning when they need at least something to heal. Having gained strength, they again injected the usual dose for the body. Thus, the miraculous elixir did not change habits, but it gave persistent addiction. In addition, it turned out that methadone causes a severe 20-day withdrawal, which is almost impossible to stop and often has fatal outcomes. Having weighed all the pros and cons, the initiators of the methadone therapy program killed their brainchild with their own hands. Disappointed in all methods, some types of drugs were legalized in Holland.
France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and the United States have abandoned methadone for drug addiction treatment. A pilot project for opioid substitution therapy has been banned in Russia, suspended in Uzbekistan, and the drug remains have been transferred to our country as humanitarian aid. In Kyrgyzstan, the deputies did not support the construction of a plant to produce this drug.
In general, the world community is ambivalent about such substitution therapy. The drug methadone, an analog of heroin and morphine, is prohibited by the UN Convention for medical use. Also, in 1989, the PACE adopted an appeal, urging the governments of all countries to prohibit any use for medical purposes since more drug addicts have died from it than from heroin. After all, heroin was also invented to treat morphine addicts and reduce their number, but it gave rise to an even more significant number of heroin addicts.
2 Effects and signs of methadone use
A strong psychotropic drug in the shortest possible time leads to the development of severe methadone addiction, from which it is impossible to jump off on your own. Against the background of characteristic external signs, addicts completely change their psyche and thinking. They become inadequate, unable to concentrate, memory and attention sharply deteriorate. Mood swings, bouts of euphoria occur frequently and unexpectedly. Sleep is disturbed, the coordinating function suffers.
Typical physical manifestations include the following symptoms:
- the pallor of the skin;
- decreased appetite and weight loss;
- dryness of the oral mucosa;
- cloudiness and redness of the eyes;
- dilation or constriction of the pupil;
- difficulty breathing;
- slowed down speech activity;
- disorders of urination.
3 Methadone treatment
If you google “methadone clinics near me,” you’ll find out that most of them provide a full complex treatment of methadone addiction at any stage of the disease, including correcting the psychoemotional state. For this, a methadone clinic prescribes the following three stages of the anti methadone program:
- Modern ultrafast detoxification. It quickly cleans the blood from toxic elements. Restores the work of vital systems. Significantly reduces the intensity of drug addiction.
- Drug coding for the drug. The patient is injected with “Naltrexone” or other drugs of this group to neutralize the effect of methadone. The addiction is blocked, and there is no longer any pleasure in taking.
- Psychological and social rehabilitation. An individual rehabilitation program is prepared for each patient. The main goal is to help the patient change their thinking and return to everyday life. Professional psychologists provide psychological and social support not only to the patient but also to relatives.