Three out of 10 Americans who lost their lives because of prescription painkiller abuse are attributed to methadone, an opiate agonist that was primarily intended to help individuals who are addicted to opiates wean off their addiction. Despite this statistic, the actual number of prescriptions written specifically for methadone only accounts for roughly two percent of all prescription analgesics. It should readily be apparent that methadone rehabilitation and treatment has become all the more important than ever before.
Methadone has been in used for the past half century as a replacement drug for opiates. Unfortunately, it is only in the past few decades that people have begun to become fully aware of the drug’s many inherent dangers particularly those related to overdoses. Thanks in part to the media attention that has been drawn on the issue. More and more people have obtained prescriptions for methadone in the past several years and the number continues to grow. This is especially true for the time period between 1999 and 2009 where the number of methadone prescriptions grew exponentially compared to the decade before that. With this increase in methadone prescriptions, the number of methadone overdose-related deaths also grew to a staggering 600 percent from 1999 to 2009. The statistic clearly shows the devastating effects of methadone and how a simple drug replacement therapy can turn deadly if misused and abused by the same people the drug is supposed to help.
A Brief Look into the History of Methadone
It was in the Second World War when methadone was first synthesized by German scientists as an effective alternative to opium. Before the war, Germany relied on the output of the Golden Triangle in Asia – Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar – to supply them with opium which is a very potent painkiller. Unfortunately, because of the supply lines to Germany being cut off by the Allies, the Germans had to synthesize methadone as an alternative to morphine and heroin. This proved invaluable during the war so the Nazis had a way to manage severe pain from wounds.
By 1947, two years after the end of the Second World War, methadone finally found its way to the shores of the United States, becoming an instant hit in the treatment of opiate addiction. Many opiate rehabilitation facilities used methadone to wean individuals off their opiate addictions. Generally, methadone replaced morphine as the drug of choice because it had a much longer lasting effect that lasts at least 24 hours.
It didn’t take long before healthcare practitioners discovered that methadone resulted in dependence much faster than other psychoactive drugs. Additionally, the withdrawal symptoms were observed to occur at a faster rate and took a substantially longer period of time to get rid of. While methadone addiction itself took a long time to develop, the speed of dependency and appearance of withdrawal symptoms as well as the stubbornness of the withdrawal symptoms make methadone a very challenging drug to manage or treat.
Why Methadone Abuse is Dangerous
One can look at methadone as a treatment that has reared its ugly head. Methadone addiction treatment is vital as it can help mitigate the different risks that are often associated with it. These can include the following.
- Problems with cardiac rhythm – Studies have shown that methadone can disrupt the normal electrical conduction pathways of the heart resulting in abnormally unsteady and highly irregular heartbeat. If this occurs, tissue oxygenation can be severely compromised leading to myocardial infarction, stroke, or even renal failure.
- Drug interactions – Most people don’t realize the dangers inherent in methadone simply because of the notion that it is safe since it is prescribed by doctors. Unfortunately, if methadone is taken together with tranquilizers, other prescription analgesics, or any other depressants of the central nervous system, there is a greater risk of developing a fatal overdose.
- Small window of safety – There is a very thin line between methadone’s recommended dose and its dangerous dose. This means that doctors have to weigh in a lot of factors before they can compute for the “safe” dose of methadone. Typically, this involves factoring the person’s body weight, liver status, blood chemistry, and renal function. An average person using methadone on his own will never know of these factors and as such may be consuming a dose that is already considered deadly.
- Added risks – Methadone’s plasma half-life is unusually long, typically between 8 and 59 hours. This means that it typically takes this length of time to eliminate half of the methadone dose from the body. If the person takes methadone more than 3 times a day, the cumulative effects can result in respiratory problems.
Importance of Methadone Rehabilitation
Many opiate addiction rehab centers still use methadone as a replacement drug. While they do provide addiction counselling, the fact remains that they are still giving a highly addicting substance to the person. It clearly doesn’t make any sense to seek treatment for your opiate addiction is you get rehabilitated only to obtain an entirely different form of addiction – that of methadone.
Regardless, it is crucial to seek an effective methadone addiction treatment program if one wants to reverse the effects of this devastating drug. The risk of fatal overdose is simply too great to ignore. Its unusually long plasma half-life as well as its predisposition for creating a lot of complications makes looking for quality methadone treatment and rehab center very important.
Long-term inclient treatment and rehab programs designed specifically for methadone abuse and addiction offer the best hope for regaining control of one’s life. These programs typically lasts up to 90 days in an inclient facility. Studies show that long-term inclient addiction treatment programs provide a better chance at recovery since the person will have more opportunities to master the different techniques and strategies that will help him steer off methadone or any other addicting substance for that matter. The lengthy rehab process prepares the person to lead a life free from methadone addiction.
Getting addicted to methadone is easy. Recovering from it is quite difficult. However, with the help of highly qualified methadone treatment centers, addiction recovery can be made a lot easier.
- Muscle pain
- Muscle weakness
Regaining One’s Life with Percocet Rehab
While the withdrawal symptoms may seem benign, these can have serious ramifications on the overall health of the individual. However, one of the most pressing concerns among drug dependents wanting to start a new life is the risk of relapse secondary to the failure of managing the withdrawal symptoms. Since these symptoms occur with the cessation of drug intake, consuming the drug naturally eliminates the withdrawal symptoms. Inopportunely, doing so significantly undermines the initial gains of wanting to stop. It is for this reason that Percocet addiction treatment must always be initiated under medical supervision.
Detoxification is needed to help flush any remaining metabolites of Percocet from the body. This also helps prepare the person for the intensive and extensive addiction treatment that can include a variety of treatments and therapies designed to empower the person to take full control of his life even after his rehab program has already been completed. The whole treatment and rehabilitation process may take as long as 90 days as these programs guarantee the best possible outcomes for Percocet recovery.
One does not need to be a victim of Percocet addiction for the rest of his life. He can regain control of his existence with the help of the best Percocet addiction treatment.