The History and Changes in Treating Narcotic Addictions

Forty Years of Changes in Treating Addictions

Methadone hydrochloride is a drug that has successfully been treating opiate addictions for over 40 years. It is now widely accepted in both the medical community and psychiatric community, as the best treatment for people suffering addictions to heroin and narcotic pain medications. Methadone Maintenance treatment is quickly losing the stigma of being simply the last ditch attempt to treat long term addicts who are seen as a drain on society. Opiate addiction is finally being recognized for the widespread problem that it truly is.

Methadone maintenance treatment means treating the addiction as a disease and recognizing that, like many other medical problems, it may take long term treatment and prolonged use of medication to help the person recover. This is a fairly recent approach to treating addiction. In the past, addiction was treated more as a moral or personal weakness and people suffering addictions were not treated with the respect and understanding they deserved. When the accepted views toward alcoholism started to changed, the views about addiction also began to change. This brought about a search for a greater understanding of what causes addiction and how best to treat it.

Entrance into methadone programs has become easier in the last ten years. Clinics are no longer required to make acceptance criteria as stiff as they once were. This means a person can be accepted into a program without needing to demonstrate a prolonged addiction or a long history of failed attempts at overcoming the addiction without the use of methadone.

Methadone clinics are now available in many small cities as opposed to only in major metropolitan areas. This makes treatment available to people who live in small towns or other rural areas. Because most treatment centers require that a daily dose is taken under direct medical supervision for the first several weeks or even months, clients are no longer forced to move to other cities to receive treatment. Staying close to family members and other support systems can mean a quicker return to a normal lifestyle. Close-by treatment centers can also treat family members and friends who have been directly affected by the person’s addiction.

 How do methadone clinics help addicts?

Methadone is a synthetic substance, which means it is man-made in a laboratory and not the byproduct of a plant. It has been used to treat long term pain because it can effectively treat pain without affecting a person’s ability to function. This makes it ideal for people who have become addicted to prescriptions due to chronic pain. A single dose lasts up to 24 hours and does not require the dose to be regularly raised to achieve the desired effects. It does not, on the other hand, produce the feelings of euphoria created by other narcotic substances.

One of the important properties about methadone is that it attaches itself to the same receptors as other opiates and this action blocks the effects of narcotics if a person uses those substances while taking methadone. This means while the person does not experience the euphoric effects of the narcotic, he or she also does not experience the cravings and physical symptoms produced by withdrawal; the effects of the opiates are lowered, making them less desirable. This effect is most advantageous when addicts are attempting to lower the dosage of opiates that they require on a daily basis; the addicted person will not need to obtain the usual amount of illegal or prescription opiates.

Methadone is taken by mouth in pill or liquid form. This has significantly lowered the incidences of HIV and hepatitis in many cities, both frequently transmitted through the use of shared needles. Because it is taken by mouth and not injected, addicts who can no longer find a viable vein can still take methadone. Methadone is also suggested for pregnant woman who are addicted to opiates because it is safer for the fetus than other narcotics. This treatment is becoming more and more excepted around the world.

Studies have shown that methadone maintenance therapy, in conjunction with intense group and individual therapy and other social services, can successfully maintain a corrective effect, allowing the person to live a normal and productive life. Many people who receive methadone maintenance treatment are able to hold jobs, maintain meaningful relationships and raise families.

With methadone becoming easier to obtain, and more social services available in communities throughout the country, more and more people with opiate addictions are finding the help they need to put their addiction behind and start a life that is not based on drugs. Unfortunately, there are still many habits associated with the addiction that must be broken and changed for methadone treatment to be successful. The addicted person must make major lifestyle changes and stop associating with other people who are part of the past and this is sometimes the downfall of even the most dedicated recovering addicts. It can be very painful to stop being with people who have been a part of one’s life and sometimes even lovers or spouses. It takes determination and commitment to truly beat an addiction, but with the help of community-based methadone treatment clinics , therapy and social services, it can be done.


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.