How Methadone Maintenance Helps with Opiate Withdrawal
Methadone is a synthetic opioid that provides relief as an anti-addictive most commonly used under medical supervision in treatment for narcotic drug abusers. Based on studies that have been performed since the 1960’s many, professionals who take care for people who are addicted to opiates they have reluctantly recognized that many of them will not or cannot stop taking this drug. For the professionals is became apparent that the solution is maintenance for the opiate addicts. The solution is dispensing opiates under medical supervision.
At this time there are more than 100,000 American addicts who are now using methadone as the preferred maintenance treatment. Although it is still has its naysayers, this practice has the most scientific support than any other treatment for any kind of drug or alcohol addiction.
While there is always the risk of the addict acquiring the drug illegally, most addicts must come to a specialized clinic for receive the methadone, which they take daily in liquid form. Just one single dose can last anywhere from 24–36 hours, and there are very few side effects. Some of the clinics that provide methadone maintenance for the user also provide other services, including vocational and educational aid, referrals to other medical and social service agencies. In addition some of the methadone maintenance clinics have the resources to assist and provide support for the families of addicts and treatment for cocaine or alcohol abuse.
The benefits for the abuser who is using the methadone maintenance program for opiate withdrawal is avoiding the highs, lows and medical risks associated with illicit opiate use. With this benefit alone, it also reduces the risk users will take to receive the drug and the crimes associated with doing so. Many studies have shown that the addict is much less depressed, much more likely to hold a job, maintain a more improved family life, and most importantly less likely to commit crimes.
The Benefits of Methadone Maintenance
According to the Center for Disease Control the benefits outweigh the risks for addicts who use a methadone maintenance program.
- Discontinued or reduced injection of the drug
- Reduction in the risk of overdose to the abuser
- Reduced risk of acquiring diseases such as HIV or Hepatitis
- Ceased or Reduced criminal activity
- Improved family and employment stability
- Improved pregnancy outcomes
The use of a methadone maintenance program can be continued indefinitely, or, if needed, the dose can be reduced gradually as the user prepares for the withdrawal phase. It has been estimated that about 25% of users completely stop the opioid abuse completely, 25% continue the opiate abuse to some extent, and 50% repeatedly continue the methadone maintenance program indefinitely as needed.