Methadone maintenance has been used to treat heroin addiction since the late 60’s and early 70’s. Currently, it is also being used to treat prescription narcotic abuse, but many individuals who want to stop using heroin are able to achieve this through methadone treatment.
How Is Methadone Treatment Effective for Heroin Addiction?
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “Research has demonstrated that methadone maintenance treatment is an effective treatment for heroin and prescription narcotic addiction when measured by”
- Reduction in the use of illicit drugs
- Reduction in criminal activity
- Reduction in needle sharing
- Reduction in HIV infection rates and transmission
- Reduction in commercial sex work
- Improvements in social health and productivity
- Improvements in health conditions
- Retention in addiction treatment
- Reduction in suicide
- Reduction in lethal overdose
This research shows that individuals who begin attending methadone maintenance for heroin treatment not only reduce their use of illicit drugs like heroin but also other behaviors that led to or were often caused by illicit substance abuse. Methadone helps to manage a person’s symptoms so that their cravings, withdrawal symptoms, and other issues experienced as part of stopping their heroin abuse will not lead them back to using the drug.
Will I Stop Abusing Heroin Once I’m on Methadone?
You will be much less likely to abuse heroin while on methadone than you would be without the help of maintenance. This treatment program is especially beneficial to addicts because the drug
- Blocks the opioids receptors in the brain
- Blocks the effects of other opioids
- Minimizes withdrawal symptoms so the individual is less likely to relapse
- Minimizes cravings so the individual is less likely to relapse
- Can be taken once a day, as the effects can last from 24 to 36 hours
Relapse is always a possibility during opioid recovery. But people on methadone can end their abuse of heroin by taking the drug, as well as extremely lower their chance of relapse because their symptoms are being managed on this medication.
Is Methadone Treatment Just Trading One Addiction for Another?
No. According to the NIDA, “Patients undergoing maintenance treatment do not experience the physiological or behavioral abnormalities from rapid fluctuations in drug levels associated with heroin use.” They take their medication as prescribed by a doctor who ensures that their dosage amount is safe and effective for their particular situation, and though they may be dependent on the drug, they will not become addicted to it if they take it as prescribed.
Can Methadone Treatment Help End My Heroin Addiction?
You may deal with your addiction to heroin for many years after you last use the drug, but methadone can help end your abuse of it and the serious issues that abuse can cause in your life. Methadone maintenance can help you begin to live the life you want to live, without heroin abuse, so call 800-530-0431 today if you are a heroin user who wants to make a change. We can help you find a maintenance center in your area and answer any questions you have about methadone and its treatment program.