Does Methadone Work as an Addiction Treatment?

Does Methadone Work as an Addiction Treatment?

It’s an opinion that many feel strongly about, both in the medical community and in the recovery community. Viewing methadone as a substance of dependence rather than a medication means that, to some, methadone is not a treatment but an extended addiction and therefore doesn’t work.

Those who believe in harm reduction – or the use of a less dangerous substance or abusing a harmful substance in a less risky way – say that methadone does work because most patients who are on it are no longer using needles, taking drugs that are variable in quality like heroin, or risking overdose.

What do you think?

Methadone Doesn’t Work

Methadone is an addictive substance. In fact, some patients seek treatment for methadone addiction after they become dependent upon the drug while taking it for pain. Those who believe that methadone can’t work as an opiate addiction treatment say that it only transfers the dependence on one drug (heroin) to another (methadone). Addiction is still addiction, they say, whether you’re getting your dose from a dealer, a pharmacist or a medical professional. Those who don’t do anything more than simply go and take a dose of a drug every day and expect to be “cured” of addiction won’t find the healing they’re looking for.

Plus, those who advocate against methadone maintenance point to the number of addicts who have spent years taking the drug, fluctuating on the dose, but never making a significant move toward being drug-free. They also reference the patients who abuse their prescription by augmenting it with other drugs. These are not success stories.

Methadone Does Work

Yes, there are some who abuse the methadone clinics, say those who advocate for methadone as an effective drug addiction treatment, but there are also a number of success stories. There are many patients who take methadone regularly for a period of time, slowly lowering their dose until they stop taking it completely. They are successful in this because they take part in methadone maintenance programs that include regular check-ins with their case manager, group therapy sessions and other addiction treatment services. When used as a part of a comprehensive drug rehabilitation program, methadone can be very effective.

What Do You Think?

Is methadone a viable treatment for opiate addiction or is it another form of addiction? Leave us a comment below and share your thoughts.