Using methadone as a drug replacement for heroin addiction is common and is not a new practice. Many opiate addicts attend methadone clinics subsidized by the government to help them overcome their addiction. These programs provide clear benefits, two of which are lower incidences of drug-related crimes and reduced cases of diseases transmitted via shared needles. However, getting off methadone is an equally uphill task for addicts.
Methadone is an opioid, and its actions resemble those of the opiates it replaces. Therefore, patients can develop tolerance and addiction to it too. Increasingly, experts are becoming concerned by how difficult it is for patients to kick methadone addiction. Methadone addiction has often been described as a prison.
Even though methadone has been used as a drug replacement for heroin and other opiates for more than 40 years, the long-term use of this opioid is clearly a case of trading one addiction for another. While it is easy to get into a methadone maintenance treatment program to kick your heroin addiction, it is quite difficult to find a clinic that can help you kick your methadone addiction. Therefore, methadone addiction is becoming a bigger problem than opiate addiction. In some countries, methadone replacement for opiate addiction is not approved, and some experts are advocating that no treatment for heroin addiction is about as good as the methadone option.
The life of a methadone addict is a difficult one. It is tasking, limiting, and in every way as restrictive as that of a heroin addict. First, a patient placed on long-term methadone use needs to commute daily to the methadone clinic where he is receiving treatment. Such clinics are not available everywhere, and it may take a lengthy commute to get there. Once there, the methadone addict is often met with a long queue of other patients who have come for the same purpose. The crowd at these clinics includes strangers from all walks of life.
Not only does a methadone addict need to constantly commute for drugs, but strains are placed on his family life. He cannot afford vacations or even weekend getaways with friends and family. A methadone addict is always looking for excuses not to travel so that he can keep getting his medication. Methadone clinics won’t provide enough doses to cover such travels. They do this for a good reason, too, because there have been cases of clinic-issued methadone surfacing on the street.
Furthermore, methadone addicts present with clear symptoms. They are fatigued and can suffer some memory loss. They age worse than others their own age, and they get sick easier and for longer. These patients commonly battle colds, flu, and loss of libido. In most cases, their sexual lives suffer greatly, and their partners are likelier to seek separation.In addition, since methadone does not get you high but could get you sick, addicts often resort to taking opiates and other stimulants to get high. This could result in a fatal overdose since methadone heightens the effects of some of these drugs. Methadone addiction leaves patients miserable by affecting not only their ability to function properly at work and at home but also their self-perception. Addicts worry about not getting the next fix, worry about their relationships ending, worry about the withdrawal symptoms kicking in should they miss a dose, and worry that their costly treatment is making them miserable. The stress of methadone addiction is always terrible for patients placed on a long-term course of the drug.