Methadone Maintenance Treatment Cuts Mortality Rates

For more than 30 years, the treatment of choice for Opiate addiction has been Methadone. Doctors have struggled along the way to find the most effective doses to help patients curtail their opiate cravings without succumbing to higher levels of methadone (it too has dependence-forming substances) than necessary.

Today’s contemporary course of action recommends methadone doses of at least 60 milligrams. However, physicians in treatment centers report a variety of doses that are effective, and many licensed Methadone treatment centers treat patients with doses that start at lower or higher than today’s recommended amount. Even with the range of Methadone doses, it proves to be the most effective treatment for addiction.


Although the use of methadone is associated with some side effects, like any medication, good reasons to give access to treatment of methadone maintenance patients engaged opioids are numerous. Research shows the effectiveness of methadone treatment can reduce:

  • use of other opioids
  • the use of other drugs, such as cocaine and heroin
  • mortality
  • risk behaviors associated with injection
  • sexual risk behaviors and HIV/STD transmissions
  • transmission of other sexual and blood borne pathogens

Moreover, scientists conclude that Methadone maintenance treatment contributes to improvements in:

  • the addicts physical and mental health
  • their life in society
  • quality of life
  • a smooth pregnancy

Maintenance treatment with methadone is also associated with better treatment retention.

Maintenance treatment with methadone may be advantageous not only for those who receive it, but also for the staff who administer and to the wider community and society as a whole.

For people who engage in opioid maintenance treatment with methadone provides access to a stable supply of legal drugs and classified on the pharmaceutical industry. It relieves the stress of having to constantly supply illicit opioids; constraint that often exposes them to criminal activity and risky sexual practices. Instead of living in a constant cycle of ups and downs due to repeated injections of heroin, for example, their mood and functional status stabilizes. In general, research shows that maintenance treatment with methadone in particular gives the following results:

  • less time per day spent to consume narcotics
  • reduction in opioid consumption obtained through illicit means (and maintain this stability as long as they follow their treatment)
  • reducing the consumption of other substances, such as cocaine, marijuana and alcohol
  • less time spent in drug trafficking
  • less time spent in criminal activities
  • less time spent in prison
  • mortality rates significantly lower among patients treated with methadone (three times lower) than in untreated patients
  • hazard reduction injection  and behaviors that are related
  • reducing risk behaviors for HIV transmission and STD
  • lower risk of HIV infection
  • potential reduction in the risk of contracting HCV  or other pathogens carried by the blood
  • better physical and mental health
  • improvement in society
  • better chance of getting a full-time
  • better quality of life

For pregnant women who engage in opiod addiction treatment with methadone, combined with adequate prenatal care, there is fewer gynecological complications, and decreased fetal mortality rates. Methadone protects the fetus against violent fluctuations in levels of opioids and frequent withdrawal symptoms common among pregnant women who do not receive treatment for their opioid dependence.

The longer patients maintain their treatment they increase their chances of avoiding crime, and preventing and reduce a relapse.

For staff responsible for implementation, maintenance treatment with methadone is used

  • provide an important medical and public health
  • establish partnerships and linkages with other service providers and to provide clients / patients a range of services and supports
  • to engage with patients in their care, positive therapeutic relationships and effective, and to gain experience with them
  • to contribute to the educational process and capable of bringing the treatment of opioid consumers to take a fresh look at themselves and their consumption of alcohol and drugs and to make changes in their lives

For the community in general, the potential benefits of maintenance treatment with methadone include:

  • the decline in criminal activity associated with the drug
  • the decline in prostitution
  • reduction in the number of discarded needles

In the whole of society, maintenance treatment with methadone provides:

  • a decrease in crime
  • a lower risks to public health


A total of 178 (3%) patients died either on treatment or within a year of their last prescription. The mortality rate among people off addiction treatment was almost twice that of people remaining in treatment. At the conclusion, Methadone treatment had 85 percent and higher chance of reducing overall mortality in opiate users if they were consistently taking the treatment.


It’s important to choose an effective treatment like Methadone for opiate addiction to avoid the yo-yo effect of relapse. All clinical studies show that Methadone maintenance is the best treatment to curb addiction, ease withdrawals and avoid mortality.

Methadone Ranks Highest Successful Regimen

Opiate addiction is a complex disorder and many people hold differing views about treatment. A controversial, yet effective drug treatment for teenagers is Methadone. Doctors rarely select Methadone to treat teenage drug addiction, yet it remains one the most effective drugs on the market today.


Today, opiates are a leading drug of choice among school-aged kids. Twenty-five percent of eighth graders have tried illegal drugs. For twelve graders, those statistics become more alarming. These statistics alert us to the epidemic of adolescent drug use and addiction.


Why Kids Abuse Drugs


Many kids use drugs for the same general reasons adults use drugs; to feel happy, stimulated or relaxed; to ease stress and frustration, tension, disappointment or anger. Drug use is primarily to take their minds off any troubles.


Most parents are more familiar with heroin opiates, not fully realizing brand name painkillers like Vicodin and OxyContin, are narcotic opiate drugs, prescribed for treating pain. Kids are more likely to find these opiate drugs right in their home medicine cabinet. The availability of opiates becomes more obvious at schools, where students sell individual pills during the school day.


Treating Teenage Drug Addiction


Drug treatment for adolescents is not that simple. Kids hate the very thought of drug treatment. Listening to boring lectures and having counselors dig deep into the past. Sitting in circles with strangers and forced to place feelings on display. The idea that the school system, court system and parents gang up on them, and force them to get help makes adolescents rebel.


The most effective treatment tends to be Methadone. The program often conflicts with school schedules; however, the bottom line is Methadone treatment is effective with few teens experiencing a relapse.


Very few drug addiction programs offer Methadone treatment to adolescent substance abusers; however, with the number of teen drug users steadily increasing, the question becomes which treatment effectively and quickly stops drug abuse.


Why Methadone Treatment


Methadone is a synthetic product, similar in chemical composition to opiates. Historically, doctors prescribed methadone to patients who were in extreme pain and those in drug addiction programs. Because of the close similarities, Methadone works quickly.


Methadone will greatly prevent the worst of the physical effects of withdrawal. While it may seem counterintuitive to give a drug in order to stop drug addiction, Methadone treatment has the highest success rate of all addiction treatment plans.


Once the patient stabilizes, and their tolerance levels are established, doctors reduce the methadone dosage, thereby weaning the patient.


Behavioral Signs and Symptoms of Opiate Use


Parents often remark they never knew their kids experimented with drugs and few know the marked signs and symptoms. Knowing what to look out for and recognizing the problems can render a faster solution. Here are some behavioral signs and symptoms to alert parents of possible drug use.


  • Uncharacteristic mood swings and aggressive behavior
  • Truancy and lateness for school or work
  • Deterioration in personal hygiene and dress
  • Covering up suspicious behavior by lying, being vague, etc
  • Unusual conflicts with authority figures
  • Sudden change of habits, loss of purpose in life and lack of motivation
  • Excessive borrowing of money
  • Stealing from family, friends, school
  • Selling personal property, with little to show for it
  • Deterioration in performance
  • Poor appetite and weight loss
  • Bouts of depression and shyness
  • Spending large periods of time away from home
  • Excessive sleeping


Many of these signs may simply be normal signs of adolescence or could be due to some other cause that has nothing to do with drug use. In order to verify your suspicions of possible drug use, it is necessary to back up observations with physical evidence.


Non-Methadone Programs Fall Short


Many of today’s teen drug addiction treatment programs are developed on the premise that the individual is ready to eliminate their substance abuse. These programs frequently function under the assumption that the individual has determined that a drug-free lifestyle is much better for them, however, in reality, someone in authority has made this decision, such as a parent, a probation officer or the juvenile system.


You’ll find, teenagers often refuse to start a drug treatment program. For those willing to try, there is a high rate of relapse. The bottom line is that coercion doesn’t work. Very few teens see the benefit of taking part in drug treatment.


In the last decade, the court system has referred more teenage addicts to drug treatment than any other source. Drug use and criminal behavior have a common link, and courts respond accordingly with drug treatment programs. While the courts, and schools, and parent interventions all provide positive fortification, juveniles are deceptive and most will fail drug treatment, particularly when addiction programs do not include Methadone.


More than 50 percent of teenage students have tried opiates that number is growing at an alarming rate. With such high numbers, parents must choose the best drug addiction programs that have a lasting effect – Methadone treatment tops the list.


Methadone Works to Fight Opiate Addiction, Originally Used as Painkiller

Methadone is well known these days as a narcotic medicine that is used to treat opiate addiction. A narcotic itself, the drug first came on the scene in the United States back in 1947. German scientists had developed it during World War II as a synthetic pain killer.

At first, the powerful medicine was prescribed to ease post surgical pain and that of cancer patients. Three years after American physicians first put it to use, they realized its benefits for people trying to kick heroin and morphine addictions. Methadone helps counteract what can be very severe withdrawal symptoms from the other drugs.

Methadone is a synthetic medicine which is created in laboratories. Heroin and morphine are both made from opium poppies. Their pain-killing abilities last approximately two to four hours, while methadone’s effects in the body continue for 24 hours.

Opiates are highly addictive and produce intense reactions. Humans actually make their own chemicals in the body that are similar to opiates. These are called endorphins, which many people know of as positive after effects of exercise; some people become addicted to exercise because of the endorphins created in the body.

Endorphins reside in the brain and block signals of pain as well as creating euphoria or feelings of well-being. Opiates are like endorphins in where they reside in the brain; they fit into duplicate receptors. They are much more intense than endorphins, however, and users report feeling a rush of warmth and happy, relaxed feelings followed by a kind of numbness.

For someone suffering from physical or emotional pain, it is no wonder that opiates are so alluring. The first dose is usually very intense, and many people will continue using the drug to reproduce the first high. Addicts grow tolerant to the drug and must use higher dosages to reach that state of euphoria.

Addicts also learn that the succeeding highs do not last as long as the ones experienced early on. The addict ends up needing to take the drug more often. This is one of the reasons that addiction is so crippling; soon, an addict will need to find sources for greater quantities of the drug and find them more often.

When someone addicted to an opiate misses a dose or tries to quit without help, he or she will experience withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal can be extremely harsh to the body and mind. The unpleasantness of withdrawal may include symptoms such as upset stomach and diarrhea.

Muscle and joint pain along with depression and anxiety can also accompany withdrawal. These symptoms and a host of others may start showing up within just a few hours after the addict’s last dose. Fear of withdrawal keeps many addicts from leaving their drugs behind.

Addiction is not just an emotional response of course. Physical need for the drug is real. The body has grown accustomed to it, and can no longer function in the same ways without it.

With guidance, and the aid of medicines such as methadone, the addict can leave behind the street drug and go on to a healthier life. Methadone can relieve the discomfort of withdrawal from opiates. Methadone does not provide the same high as heroin, for example, but it is working within the brain in the same way.

Methadone not only keeps opiate addicts from going into withdrawal, it also works to block the effects of other opiates. In the case of an addict who relapses while undergoing methadone treatment, he or she will not be able to feel the euphoric effects of the other drug. Methadone does not cure opiate addiction, but it can be extremely helpful.

It can keep addicts from going into withdrawal so they can stay away from dangerous street drugs such as heroin. Methadone provides the help needed so addicts can start redirecting their lives toward recovery. Methadone is addictive itself, so it needs to be taken under medical supervision.

Methadone comes in both pills and liquids. It can be administered at a drug treatment clinic or treatment center, or a physician can write a prescription so the patient can take the dose at home. Counselling is a recommended companion to medical intervention so that the addict can discover the life issues that have led to drug use.

Although methadone is a godsend for many addicts, it too has it problems. It is sometimes traded on the streets for illegal opiates so the addict can continue using the earlier drug. Another danger of methadone is the possibility of overdose especially when methadone is taken along with alcohol or other drugs.

Addicts taking methadone may be tempted to take opiates at the same time. This is extremely dangerous and can lead to seizures, coma and death. Methadone, when taken correctly, is a wonderful tool to help eradicate drug addiction.

Methadone Addiction: Why it’s so Hard to Quit

No drug addiction is easy to treat. Unless you’ve been there yourself, you really can’t understand, but a drug addiction is extremely difficult to get over. This is something that consumes your life, takes over, and you are helpless against it once you have gotten to that point. However, there is something you can do if you are willing to make a change. You have to be willing to work hard and stay dedicated, but you can get off the drugs, get clean and sober, and start living a normal life again.

Methadone is a particularly addictive drug. Also known as Symoron, Dolphine, Amidone  and Methadose, Methadone belongs to the opioid family of drugs. This prescription drug is often prescribed to treat the pain and withdrawal symptoms associated with heroin addiction. For a person trying to get off heroin, their doctor may prescribe this drug to help them cope while their body experiences living without the drug in its system. This not only helps make it easier for an addict to cope while they are dealing with intense withdrawal symptoms from stopping, but also can prevent serious medical issues such as heart attack and stroke.

In most cases, an individual is required to go to a public clinic or other center in order to receive their daily or weekly dose of Methadone. This is to prevent misuse of the drug. This drug may be taken anywhere from a few weeks to a few months, or even longer, depending on the doctor’s advisements.

Methadone is the first step to recovery for many addicts. It gives them the chance to get off the drugs without having withdrawal symptoms so extreme that they can barely function. For serious addicts, these withdrawal symptoms can last for months, even longer. For some people, they will feel urges for the rest of their life. It is definitely not easy to overcome a drug addiction, but this is a necessary process for someone hooked on drugs who wants to get clean. Methadone can help you get your life back, so if this is something you’re interested in, you should talk to your doctor to get more details. They will be able to provide you with the necessary information and get you a prescription if you are thought to be a good candidate for the drug.

The detox process is essential for anyone trying to get off heroin. Be prepared for serious withdrawal symptoms, including anything from muscle aches, anxiety and muscle tension to headaches, nausea and agitation. You may feel edgy, moody and miserable, you may notice that you’re sweating or even feel almost feverish. These are all normal, expected symptoms. Physical and emotional symptoms are expected, especially with a drug like heroin. These symptoms are occurring because you are stopping the drugs after heavy and prolonged use, forcing your body to become dependent without the use of the drugs.

Abdominal cramping, diarrhea, dilated pupils, goosebumps, nausea and vomiting are all common withdrawal symptoms of opiate drugs like heroin. If you notice you are starting to feel extremely unwell, experience heart palpitations, or otherwise feel lightheaded or faint, you may want to get in to see your doctor or to the emergency room at your local hospital. A health care professional can examine you and ensure you are not suffering any serious medical conditions.

You may have to take additional medication along with the Methadone, especially if you are experiencing very intense symptoms. You may be placed on long-term maintenance, which means you could be taking Methadone for the long-term or even for the rest of your life, if your doctor feels it is helpful for your recovery. You need to stay in close contact with your doctor to properly monitor your progress. They can ensure there are no potential complications arising as a result of your treatment, such as aspiration or dehydration.

The most important thing is that after you go through treatment, once you have gotten yourself on the right track and aren’t using anymore, that you do whatever it takes to stay off the drugs. The last thing you want is to end up back in the same situation you started, having to start all over from square one. Go through a support group or have regular sessions with a therapist, to have someone there to talk to and support you during this difficult time in your life. It always helps to have someone there who you can feel safe venting to, expressing your feelings and getting support from when you’re not feeling at your strongest.

Millions of people suffer from heroin addiction, and if you are one of those people, at least you know you have options. Methadone is an effective treatment for heroin addicts, offering many advantages to users as a means of treatment.

Opioid Addiction : 10 Questions For You

Opioid Addiction: The Problem

Opioid Addiction : 10 Questions If You Have It

Opioid Addiction : 10 Questions If You Have It

Opioid addiction is a major problem in the United States.  Statistics from the National Institute on Drug Abuse indicate that there were almost 10 million abusers of prescription drugs in 2009. The number of people overdosing on prescription narcotics (by accident or not) has tripled since 1999. Seniors in high school are using prescriptions (10%).  Most recreational use of these prescriptions comes from friends or family members. Oxycontin has become a real problem.

Many people began using opioids for a medical issue such as leg pain, only to have their use become an opioid addiction. Others began by partying in high school only to find they needed to keep using. Many people then wonder if they have an addiction. They want to stop the medication, but they are starting to have problems like withdrawals. They may have never had addictive problems before. Here are some signs of opioid addiction:

Top 10 Signs of an Opioid Addiction

1. You sell items in your house and use the money for opioids-another almost sure sign of addiction.
2. You keep using opioids despite problems such as money, family, legal, or medical problems.
3. You are involved with other drugs of abuse. Having an addiction to alcohol or other drugs of abuse makes you at a greater risk of developing one with narcotics.
4. You go to perilous places, have dealings with questionable people to obtain pills. Seeking opioids in dangerous situations is usually a good sign of a problem.
5. Family or friends say you use too much pain medication. There are arguments over your use.
6. Your day is spent thinking of the drug or trying to find it.
7. You go to more than one doctor for pain medication.
8. You take prescriptions from your spouse or others. Taking other’s prescriptions is a sign of a problem.
9.You are take more pain medication than prescribed by your physician .
10. You skip or are late to family and work responsibilities to use of obtain opioids.

Avoid Opioid Addiction

Opioid medications have been a savior for people with pain. However, there has been an increase in the number of people with addiction problems from these medications as they have become more widely available…and diverted.  The first way to avoid Opioid addiction is to only use prescription medication under the care of a single physician. Having different doctors prescribing narcotics to you will eventually cause problems. Always talk to your physician before changing the dose of your prescription.

The next way to avoid problems with opioids is to discuss with your physician  alternative chronic pain treatments such as massage or acupunture. There are other alternative treatments. We are finding that chronic pain does not get better with narcotics, so it is worthwhile to look into other treatments for the pain including weight loss, exercise, non-narcotic medications, surgery, stretching, and getting adequate sleep. All these should be discussed with your doctor.

Opioid Addiction Signs Recap

There are many signs of opioid addiction. Others easily see the problems caused by the opioid use and usually will tell you. Other signs are doctor shopping, escalating your dose to high levels over time, and having family, social, and employment problems from the opioid. Be sure to periodically talk with your doctor about getting off opioid medications and if this would be the right choice for you. Long-term opioid use can be more harmful than helpful.

Here is more help on Opioid Addiction Help and Treatment

  • All About Suboxone : A website that discusses the use of Suboxone for the treatment of opioid dependence.  It also contains a doctor and clinic directory to find help near you.
  • Oxycontin Treatment Directory: Site devoted to Oxycontin Addiction. It contains a database to find treatment help in your area
  • National Library of Medicine: This link specifically discusses opioid dependence.