Methadone: The Cure to Opiate Addiction

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Methadone: The Cure to Opiate Addiction In 2006, there were approximately 600,000 opiate dependent people in the United States. Today, that number has doubled. There are clinics around the United States that can help opiate dependent addict’s reform their lives without being in pain. These clinics use a drug called Methadone to help this process. While the public has formed negative stereotypes due to misunderstanding methadone, methadone maintenance is the most effective form of substance abuse treatment for heroin and pain pill addiction. Methadone is a man made synthetic drug that is used to treat narcotic addicts in preventing withdraw and dependence of opiates. During World War II, German scientists invented Methadone due to the shortage of morphine. Methadone was first used in the United States for drug treatment in the 1960’s. “Two New York physicians, Vincent Dole, a metabolic specialist, and his colleague, Marie Nyswander, a psychiatrist, invented methadone maintenance.” (Velten, 1992) Methadone clinics are available in every state and the medication can be prescribed orally, as a tablet, or can be injected. Methadone’s effects last up to twenty four hours which allows the patient to take a once a day dose for opiate detoxification and maintenance. High dose methadone blocks the effects of heroin and opiate drugs such as pain pills. This discourages the continued use of drugs by addicts under treatment. Heroin and opiates release endorphins in the body, called dopamine, causing users to need an opiate continuously. The human brain has an opiate receptor in the brain. Methadone occupies this receptor and is the stabilizing factor that permits addicts on methadone to change their behavior and to discontinue opiate use. Because methadone is effective in eliminating withdraw symptoms, it is used to detoxify opiate addicts. When an

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