Methadone can be a very helpful drug for anyone fighting pain or fighting off addiction to a powerful narcotic such as heroin. Its use has grown increasingly popular in the past few decades. An unfortunate side effect of its popularity is its move into the streets.
Addiction to methadone can lead to overdose which can cause coma and death. It is prescribed in clinics to substitute for dangerous illegal drugs. Addicts trying to find a new high sometimes combine methadone with other substances and cause themselves major trouble.
Since methadone does not bring on the kind of euphoria given by heroin, users may take too much before they realize they are getting into trouble. Inexperienced drugs users who have little tolerance for opioids are in special danger of overdosing from the synthetic opioid. Those who dabble in drugs may combine methadone with alcohol or other drugs, not knowing that the combinations can prove deadly.
Methadone was created just before World War II by German scientists. Government officials in that country knew that war was imminent. Fearing that their nation would be cut off from opium and opium-based painkillers, they ordered their scientists to develop alternatives. Methadone emerged from the German laboratories.
After Germany's loss in the war, rights to its patents were dissolved. This left other countries free to develop forms of the helpful new painkiller themselves. The United States made methadone available in 1947.
It has become extremely popular as a means for easing heroin users off that dangerous illegal drug. At licensed clinics, health practitioners give their patients careful doses of methadone to substitute for the heroin in the patients' symptoms. A gradual replacement of the heroin with methadone frees its users from withdrawal symptoms.
Withdrawal from opioids can prove quite painful and frightening. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, anxiety, insomnia, and uncontrollable muscle tremors. Without the help of methadone, many addicts remain tied to their street drugs.
Methadone is a sedative. Unlike heroin, it does not produce a rush of euphoria. Its ceiling for feelings of good will and bliss is much higher than that of heroin.
This very fact makes its abuse more likely. Users seeking a high may ingest more and more. Failing to feel high, they keep taking the drug until they lapse into coma or even die.
Problems of this nature are well known in the medical community. Heroin, for example, was known around the world centuries ago as a pain treatment. By the 1800s many people in the world were addicted to heroin.
The solution had become the problem. Medical professionals and government officials are hard at working trying to come up with solutions for methadone addiction. They do not want to move quickly, however, since a band-aid remedy might lead to more problems in the long run.
Meanwhile, anyone using methadone or tempted to try it needs to be aware of its risks. Someone leaving behind heroin addiction may miss the old high and try to achieve it by taking in larger, unprescribed doses of methadone. People addicted to heroin may obtain illegally sold methadone to try to break their other addictions.
Methadone has to be carefully monitored in order for its users to receive its benefits without experiencing its dangers. Friends and family of people addicted to other drugs may think they are doing a favor by providing methadone for their loved ones. Sometimes people under clinical supervision share their doses with others not under care.
There are many times too that a supervised addict taking methadone under a professional's care decides to earn some money from selling some of his or her prescribed doses. Often an addict cannot obtain regular work. Medical professionals must keep a close eye on their patients to make sure they are not making money for themselves by selling their own medicine.
Not only would they get themselves in major trouble with the law, but they would be depriving themselves of the medicine their bodies need. Then too they might be inviting other people into the world of addiction. Everyone knows how hard it is to break free of any addiction.
Still, it is a temptation for many to enter the world of illicit drugs. Just because the knowledge is out there about the dangers of addiction does not mean that people will stop turning to illegal drugs. Most people have some kind of pain in their lives. Some are lucky that their troubles are only short-lived.
For people who suffer acute physical or psychological pain and do not have the right resources, they may seek solace in street drugs. Advances in medicine and medical technology are wonderful things. Caring and concerned professionals are important members of our community.
Addicts themselves can turn to some of the licensed clinics where methadone is dispensed. They can get help there for breaking their addiction to methadone itself. It is a hard road but it can be traveled with help from those who care.