The Distressing Downsides of Using Methadone to Overcome Heroin Addiction

During World War II, German doctors used a synthetic drug to treat soldiers when they ran out of morphine. The drug, which was developed a decade before by German scientists Max Bockmühl and Gustav Ehrhart, was hailed as an effective and less addictive substitute for painkillers like morphine and opiates. By the end of the war, the United States had secured the rights to Bockmühl and Ehrhart’s drug: methadone.

In 1971, the FDA approved methadone as a viable medical treatment for heroin abuse. The FDA has since shifted regulatory control of methadone to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), which now allows physicians to prescribe methadone to their patients in recovery programs.

Does Methadone Maintenance Treatment Work?

The problem is, methadone doesn’t actually stop the opioid addiction, but rather works as a substitute for heroin. People who take methadone as prescribed are still addicted to opioids on a physical level as the methadone blocks the opioid receptors in the brain that are usually blocked by heroin. Ultimately, the methadone itself must be detoxed from – a process that’s often even harder and more painful than detoxing from heroin. Here are some specific drawbacks of methadone maintenance treatment (MMT), which essentially replaces one highly addictive drug with another:

  • The high produced by methadone can still lead to abuse and overdose, which has no doubt been a contributor to the 300 percent rise in the overall prescription opioid overdose death rate between 1999 and 2014.
  • Common and persistent side effects of methadone include nausea, trouble breathing, chest pain, hallucinations and rashes.
  • Methadone can show up in urine testing, often carried out for employment purposes, up to three days after it’s administered.
  • Visiting methadone clinics at least once a week may prove difficult for some.

 

Far from the helping hand up that methadone promises to be, what it actually offers is a shovel with which to dig an even deeper hole.

All-Natural Treatment for Lasting Heroin Recovery

At The Sanctuary, we understand how incredibly difficult it can be to withdraw from heroin, how alluring the promise of relief can seem, and how frustrating it is when you keep cycling back into active use. That’s why our holistic treatment program incorporates a well-organized combination of conventional and alternative therapies to thoroughly address the root cause of your addiction. We believe that the real solution is the inward journey you take to address what lies at the source of your problems, and that through this you can become permanently drug-free.

For more on our unique approach, see: Why Residential Rehab Helps You To Be Recovered From Addiction.

To learn more about The Sanctuary and our integrative addiction treatment program, contact us online, call us at (877) 710-3385 or email us at info@sanctuary.net.