Methadone Treatment History

Posted on :  May 1st, 2017  |  By :  towardsrecovery

Did you know that methadone was first produced during the mid-1900s? It came about as part of the research into the development of new pain relieving drugs that can be used as an alternative to morphine. In fact, it has been one of the more popularly researched drug treatments all over the world. The social context however is that it is prescribed as a way of prohibiting opiate use, making it more complex than other medication around.

The Development

A German scientist was responsible for the development of the chemical structure of methadone during the 1930s. The production of the synthetic substance in 1937 was led by Gustav Ehrhart and Max Bockmhl, and was called polamidon (Hoechst 10820).

Their research was expanded during World War II as the original medicine was synthesized as a response to the morphine shortage. As the war ended, the United States obtained the rights to the drug now called methadone. It was in 1947 when it was introduced in the US as a type of pain relieving medicine for various conditions. This led to the belief that it could be used in the treatment of narcotics addiction.

Scientific advancements came during the 1960s, and by the early part of the 1970s the methadone treatment started to expand with the government setting up the necessary regulations that will govern the use of methadone as part of a drug addiction treatment program.

Additional regulations were released in 2001 to modify the existing regulations to cover the manner of delivery of methadone to ensure better control.

The Opioid Addiction

Believe it or not, many of the abused substances today including opioids (morphine, opium, heroine, and other prescription opioids) were initially dispensed as curative measures by physicians, pharmacists, and other members of the healthcare community. Many of these were the basic ingredients of commercial products for cough suppressants, pain killers, and even beverages.

There was no doubt that the products delivered the intended results initially, until abuse eventually happened. A good example would be opioids which were best in relieving pain on the battlefields during the Civil War. The uncontrolled use however along with advertised benefits for nonmedical use led to its tolerance and addiction.

Tolerance means that the body starts needing larger quantities and more frequent usage of the opioid, usually in combination with other substances in order to get a sustained effect. This also leads to more severe withdrawal once the addiction is not fully satisfied.

Recognition of the problem opened up debates among those affected, the healthcare profession, the government, and the community leaders. The discussion centered on the incurable nature of opioid addiction, which required long-term maintenance with medication, and opioid addiction as a result of weak, lack of morals, and psychodynamic factors that requires criminalization of its uncontrolled use and distribution to promote abstinence.

Treatment Issues

Since its development in 1964 as a medical response to the post-war heroin epidemic, there have been plenty of major studies conducted. The findings in these major studies were all consistent in that methadone maintenance treatment successfully reduces or eliminates:

  • The use of heroin;
  • The transmission of infectious diseases related to heroin injection;
  • The death rates; and
  • Criminality associated with drug usage.

It also allowed the patients to gain improved health and social productivity. It has been established that the principal effects of the treatment are:

  • Relieving of narcotic cravings;
  • Suppression of the abstinence syndrome; and
  • Blocking the euphoric effects delivered by heroin.

Specific dosages of methadone are required by patients and should be administered for an extended period of time (sometimes indefinitely) because of the nature of the methadone treatment, which is corrective rather than curative. Using lower doses may not yield the desired blocking effect. There should be no fear since methadone treatment has been established to be medically safe.

Government is advocating the expansion of the methadone maintenance treatment program with newer models to be implemented. The National Institutes of Health even recommended that the treatment program be made available to persons that are under legal supervision like parolees, the incarcerated, and probationers.

The educational leadership should be provided by the professional community to ensure the general public that the stigma and bias against the programs are unfounded. These should move the expansion forward.

To ensure that you are getting in the right treatment program for your addiction, get a hold of Towards Recovery Clinics.

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.