Opioid & Benzo Addiction
Opioid addiction is a very serious condition we can help with.
Methadone is a long-acting synthetic opioid painkiller that is typically used to treat individuals suffering from addiction to opioid drugs, such as heroin or prescription painkillers like Oxycontin, Percocet and Vicodin.
When taken as prescribed, methadone can be useful in treating opiate addiction, as it can block the “high” of other opiates. However, methadone can be addictive, as it’s still an opiate.
HOW METHADONE BECOMES A PROBLEM
When used as a treatment to taper individuals off other drugs of addiction, methadone use should be closely supervised by medical professionals. However, many prescription painkillers are expensive and by comparison, Methadone is a relatively low cost option. Doctors have been prescribing methadone as a long-acting painkiller for chronic pain for years. This has allowed more people exposure to methadone than before, including many people who have not been exposed to opioid medications in the past. This exposure has caused a rise in addictions to methadone.
HOW DOES METHADONE WORK?
Methadone works on the brain by binding to the same receptors as other opioid drugs like heroin or OxyContin. Since methadone remains in the body for a long period of time, it helps to block euphoric effects of other opiate drugs. Methadone can also lessen painful symptoms of withdrawal from these drugs.
Because methadone is such a long-acting drug, it can build up quickly in the body and remain in the bloodstream for a long time. Methadone should be used exactly as prescribed; I because it can be easy to overdose on it, due to the strength of one dose.
WHO BECOMES ADDICTED TO METHADONE?
Methadone clinics and methadone maintenance have been promoted since the 1970s as a way for people who struggle with heroin addiction to avoid the worst withdrawal symptoms, while preventing relapse. Today, methadone is still used under close medical supervision in this way.
However, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2009, methadone contributed to one in three prescription painkiller deaths. Even legitimate use, via a doctor’s prescription or through a clinic, can turn into abuse as tolerance develops. Once abuse begins, addiction can quickly take over.
Because methadone is designed to be a long-acting drug, it can build up very quickly in the body, and that can mean that taking even one more dose than prescribed can lead to an overdose. Unless carefully monitored by a medical professional, methadone use can be dangerous.
RECREATIONAL USE OF METHADONE
As methadone has increasingly been used to treat pain, and not just opioid addiction, more has become available to people who abuse drugs. Much like the wide availability of other prescription opioids, like hydrocodone or oxycodone, people who abuse opiate drugs can more easily get methadone by stealing it from friends or family, or by purchasing it illegally. People who abuse methadone recreationally are at a very high risk to of becoming addicted, and consequently, an alarmingly high risk for overdose.
At Resurgence Behavioral Health, we offer the most sound, current, and well-researched treatment for methadone addiction, at all levels of care. If you or someone you love is struggling with methadone addiction, reach out to us for support at the number below.
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