What is Methadone?

What is Methadone?

Methadone is a long-lasting synthetic opiate pain reliever. It acts on the opiod receptors in the brain much like morphine or heroin, but it is chemically different. Unlike morphine or heroin, it does not wear off in a couple hours. It can last anywhere from 8 to 59 hours depending on the dose and tolerance of the user.

Because it produces similar effects to heroin, methadone treatment is commonly used to help heroin addicts detoxify. Methadone detox involves supplying heroin users with a daily dosage of methadone to suppress heroin cravings and withdrawal symptoms. Because methadone is released more slowly and lasts longer than heroin, only one dose a day is used for methadone detoxification.

Use of methadone to treat heroin addiction, however, has become controversial in recent years. Methadone use causes as much of a physical dependence as heroin use, and detoxing from methadone is as difficult if not more difficult than detoxing from heroin. Methadone withdrawal symptoms are similar to heroin withdrawal symptoms and in many cases they are more severe. Additionally, methadone overdose is a real danger and can be fatal. In fact, methadone has become the fastest growing cause of drug deaths in the country.

While medically assisted treatment for opiate addiction is still the preferred treatment method, buprenorphine-based drugs are a far safer option. These drugs include Suboxone and Subutex. With buprenophine, the euphoria obtained is much less significant, and withdrawal symptoms are much less severe. Consequently, buprenorphine addition is less likely than methadone addiction. When combined with appropriate counseling, buprenorphine-assisted treatment for heroin addiction has better long-term prognosis for long-term drug-free living than methadone treatment.

Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/17/us/17methadone.html

Click here for the next part in the series, "What is the history of using Methadone for drug addiction treatment?" Click here to return to the first part in the series, "Introduction to Methadone".

Pat Moore Foundation's drug & alcohol detox and alcohol & drug addiction treatment programs are licensed and certified by The State of California. We provide non-medical and medically managed detoxification (using Suboxone, Subutex, and Buprenorphine when appropriate) and primary residential treatment. Our individual homes are on a unique co-ed campus where we offer gender specific treatment. We are located in Costa Mesa, in Orange County, Southern California, close to Newport Beach and Huntington Beach, and only an hour's drive from Los Angeles and San Diego. To speak with a counselor, please call us 24-hours at (888) 426-6086 or if you'd like us to contact you, send a confidential message online by filling out our online form.

Note: All medical services are administered by medical professionals, which are facilitated and operated solely under the jurisdiction of a separate medical corporation.