Methadone has been used for decades in drug detox and treatment as a whole. It is an opioid with a similar chemical structure to opium and heroin, and it is used in maintenance treatment. The World Health Organization (WHO) recognizes it on their List of Essential medicines, which highlights its significance in the recovery community.
It has become standard practice in treating fentanyl and heroin addiction, but some dangers still exist because of its opioid classification. Methadone is commonly used where clients are given the drug as part of a program, and it is used to help others in detox to overcome their withdrawal symptoms.
Methadone treatment is traced back to the 1960s, where the government responded to heroin addiction due to law and order. Today, we take a much more passionate approach in how we treat addiction, but in the past, it was a society dictated by laws rather than treatment.
Detox and addiction treatment were still new ventures at this time, and the procedures that were used did not provide positive outcomes. Nearly 70 to 90 percent of heroin users returned to opioids after their treatment. The most common response to addiction was to dry out in a cell and go through self-detox. With all the knowledge we’ve gathered over the years, we have found that methadone for drug detox and beyond can help change a former user’s life positively.
Methadone maintenance during detox and beyond is shown to reduce, and in many cases, eliminate the use of heroin. It also has been shown to lower death rates and criminal behavior resulting from opioid usage. It allows someone to improve their social productivity and health. Individuals not sharing needles will also reduce the spread of infectious diseases like HIV.
While any treatment involving opioids can be risky, methadone for drug detox is viewed as medically safe. Therapy is often used in conjunction with those resistant to standard treatment. Opioid addiction has decimated our country, and any approach should be welcomed by advocates.
Methadone-Assisted Treatment (MAT)
Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) is considered the industry standard when it comes to treating opioid use disorder (OUD). It is useful in reducing the frequency of injecting opioids and is commonly used in conjunction with counseling and behavioral therapies. MAT is a highly successful means of getting through detox because it suppresses cravings and severe withdrawal symptoms.
MAT saves lives and will increase the likelihood that someone will remain in treatment once they’ve completed detox. For some, it is the foundation for long-term recovery. Behavioral health groups around the country support its existence, and when it is combined with psychosocial treatment, it will improve the outcomes in former opioid user’s lives. For it to be effective, specific goals must be achieved. These include:
- Modifying behaviors that have lead to opioid abuse
- Encouraging clients only to use the medicine as prescribed
- Treating existing psychiatric disorders after a thorough assessment by clinicians
- Individual and group counseling
- Family support programs
- Community-based services
- Interventions that highlight evidence-based practices and that reinforce positive behaviors
- 12-Step Programs
How is Methadone Used After Drug Detox?
Detox is provided to help stabilize a client before the next step. Methadone has a long half-life and will take some time to reach its peak level of effect. Once the person reaches this point, the staff will assess their next step.
Opioid addiction is among the worst plagues affecting modern American history, and countless lives have become addicted to the substance. Opioids fall into a class of drugs known as central nervous system (CNS) depressants. They are commonly used to treat acute or chronic pain, but they have a long history of abuse.
Despite the effectiveness of the medication in treating such pain, they have proven their dark and addictive side. When opiates are used for an extended period, the person ingesting the substance will become physically and psychologically dependent on the drug. Eventually, they will endure withdrawal symptoms and will not be able to skip a dose.
You must start and finish a detox program that offers methadone if you’ve failed several times before. You must follow this with residential or outpatient treatment that has a reputation for treating opioid addiction. When you abuse heroin or painkillers, methadone maintenance programs that begin in detox will administer daily doses of the drug that manage their symptoms.
Is Using Methadone in Detox Dangerous?
Opioids are inherently dangerous, but when you follow the instructions set in place by your physician, it can be a highly useful medication. During detox, you will be medically supervised, which means you will be administered a daily dose. The drug cannot ever be used alongside benzodiazepines. It has been scientifically proven to be dangerous.
Methadone maintenance programs require regular drug screenings to ensure the client’s safety. With all opioids, the risk of overdose is present, and it is true when methadone is combined with other opiates or drugs. Methadone is not dangerous in detox because the latter is eliminated.
Are there Alternative Drugs Used in Detox?
You must keep in mind that each situation is determined on a case-by-case basis. While methadone may be highly effective for some, others may benefit from other medications like Suboxone. The difference between the two is that Suboxone is more effective at blocking the effects of other opioids because naloxone, which is a medication used to reverse an opioid overdose.