Addiction is a complicated issue that society is still misunderstanding. Advances in science and medicine have opened a number of doors to which had been closed for years. The stigma of addiction is slowly fading (not fast enough). Getting addicts help has finally become the priority of law enforcement and government agencies at every level. Addiction to opiates continues to be a major problem in the United States and has reached historic levels. The introduction of powerful prescription painkillers has made that problem even worse. The rise in opiate abuse has caused many more problems for communities, states and the country as a whole. Methadone maintenance is a treatment option that is provided to the most dangerous of drug addictions. It is a prescription medication program that works by substituting one drug for another and then weaning the recovering addict off of methadone. Is it a safe way to treat addiction?
Individuals that are recovering from an opiate addiction have a difficult time staying clean. Relapse is a common occurrence for recovering heroin and other opiate addicts. Many find that treating their addiction with methadone to be the best, and sometimes, only option they have. Methadone clinics are established medical facilities that offer recovering addict treatment with methadone. The goal of the treatment is to get an addict to stop using heroin or other narcotic opiate by giving them methadone. The drug is administered by a licensed physician in a medical facility. Methadone is a schedule ll opioid analgesic, which stops the craving for heroin, offers a long term relief, and does not produce a euphoric high like heroin.
Stigma Behind Methadone Patients
Most people envision a heroin addict or methadone patient as a disgusting and untrustworthy human who is merely a shell of themselves. The stigma of these individuals is not positive. The general population does not want to associate or be near these hardcore drug addicts. What most people do not understand is that methadone patients are just as normal as the next person. They have families, jobs, hopes, and dreams. They work very hard to maintain a normal life, but require the help of methadone to keep them from falling back in with heroin. Some recovering addicts are unable to live completely drug free; methadone treatment allows them to live a normal life away from harmful opiates. The stigma of addiction and then of methadone treatment is hurtful, but it should not be. These individuals are fighting to keep off drugs and if methadone allows them to be a law abiding and contributing member of society, then good for them. There is nothing shameful about addiction treatment.
Using Methadone as a Safe Treatment for Opiate Addiction
According to a recently published study, inmates that are allowed to continue methadone treatment in prison are more likely to continue that treatment after they are released. The study continued by stating that the continued use of methadone can greatly reduce the likelihood of overdoses. Statistics have shown that individuals that are able to stay on the methadone treatment are less likely to exhibit problematic behaviors like abusing opioids, crime, overdose, or death. The time at which inmates are released from jail, that first two weeks, is the most dangerous time for possible overdose fatalities, since the stress, anxieties and triggers are at their worst. By allowing inmates to continue methadone maintenance treatment the inmates are less likely to overdose. Recovering addicts that are being released from jail should continue their methadone treatment have something to hold on to, while they are still in the middle of a hectic battle it can help them avoid overdose and death.