The Effectiveness of Methadone Treatment: Common Myths Debunked

Posted on :  July 20th, 2016  |  By :  towardsrecovery

For several decades, methadone has been used as a treatment for heroin addiction. During that time, it has been considered highly effective. As with all medically approved treatments for drug addiction, there have been people who are out to find any problem they can. This is why there are numerous myths about methadone and the effects of this treatment method.

Methadone became a treatment method of choice for heroin addicts because a physician discovered that people who used methadone no longer wanted heroin. With the right dose of methadone, people could go about their daily lives without suffering from the debilitating withdrawal symptoms that make it so hard to quit heroin usage.

In North America, methadone was eventually delegated to treatment programs that became licensed and approved by the government. These treatment facilities need to not only provide methadone in a properly controlled system, but they also needed to provide a complete treatment program. Heroin addicts in the treatment program needed to be counseled on how to re-enter society so they needed psychiatric help, career counseling, and medical treatment. Some centers even get the families of the addicts involved in the treatment therapies.

With the government involvement in methadone clinics, the effectiveness of the treatment came into question. It was beneficial for patients to have access to a useful and effective treatment, but the patients and the clinics had to abide by the rules the government established. One of those rules was that patients could not have methadone sent home with them; they had to visit the clinic on a daily basis to receive their dosages. Trouble occurred when patients had to work around their schedules and in many cases the clinics were closed when patients got out of work or school for the day. Another big problem was the location of the clinics, especially for addicts who lived away from city centers. Another common problem was the stigma attached to going to a methadone clinic.

When it comes to methadone clinics and the rules surrounding them, several myths have arisen. Here are a few of them:

Myth #1: Patients are addicted to methadone. This myth is completely false. They are dependent on it, but not addicted to it. There is a difference. They do need the methadone to function properly, but the methadone does not harm the patient. When a drug is addicting, the side effects cause harm. Being dependent on methadone is similar to being dependent on corrective lenses to read or being dependent on insulin to manage diabetes.

Myth #2: Methadone creates a high, just like heroine does. This myth is also false. Methadone does not replace the high that heroin and other opioids create, it treats the symptoms. When people are addicted to heroin, they need several doses throughout the day to maintain the high. When people take methadone as a treatment for that addiction, they only need one dose to prevent the horrible withdrawal symptoms that come from heroin addiction.

Myth #3: Methadone has the same side effects as heroin. This is also false. The myths about heroin destroying the body like heroin does are false. Methadone users do not rot their teeth due to methadone use. They do not have weakened bones from methadone use. People who are involved in a methadone treatment program should not have any side effects. As long as they practice healthy habits, they should be just fine.

Myth #4: Methadone affects sexual organs. This is also false. Women who have an addiction to opioids are better off taking methadone rather than continue to take heroin while pregnant. There are no birth defects caused by methadone, but babies born to heroin addicted mothers who are taking methadone will experience withdrawal symptoms in what is called neonatal abstinence syndrome. For men, methadone will not create sterility, but it could create lower testosterone numbers which can be treated.

Who We Serve ?

  • Individuals using/abusing street narcotics (e.g. heroin).
  • Patients abusing prescription narcotics(i.e., Codeine, Talwin, Percocet/Percodan, Dilaudid, Morphine or Demerol, et cetera).
  • Individuals displaying any of the following behaviours: Compulsive drug use or drug seeking/craving.