Methadone treatment is widely accepted when it comes to providing helpful assistance to those who are addicted to opiates but is it a “cure” for opiate addiction? Do methadone treatment centers actually cure opiate addiction? Or, do they simply place a band aid on the problem, masking the need for further help?
According to NIDA, “research has demonstrated that methadone maintenance treatment is an effective treatment for heroin and prescription narcotic addiction.” Unfortunately, the National Institute on Drug Abuse further describes drug addiction as a chronic illness that is similar to cardiovascular disease, cancer and even type II diabetes. Like any disease, there is no “cure” for drug addiction.
Methadone treatment centers cannot “cure” opiate addiction but they can provide quality treatment and help. Some of the ways that methadone treatment can help in the overall recovery of opiate addiction include:
- reduction of risk taking behavior
- reduction of drug seeking behavior
- reduction of euphoria and restoration of stability
- craving and withdrawal reduction
- criminal activity reduction
According to the CDC, the National Institute of Health reported estimates of $20 billion in economic costs related to untreated opiate addiction each year. These costs are further escalated by the social destruction that affects families and communities as well as a rise in health care costs associated with increased emergency room admissions related to overdose as well as the greater need for medical treatment associated with the disease transmission that comes as a result of opiate use.
Although methadone treatment programs cannot “cure” opiate addiction, they do greatly reduce the economic impact of opiate addiction and improve overall treatment outcomes for those in need. If you or someone you love is considering help for opiate addiction, methadone treatment can be an effective means of reducing cravings, preventing withdrawal and allowing you to focus more heavily on healing and recovery. You may not come out of treatment cured, but you will have a better chance at sustaining sobriety and preventing relapse if you receive proper treatment and care.
Consider methadone treatment if:
- you have tried to quit using opiates before and failed
- you have tried to quit using opiates but withdrawal symptoms have caused you to relapse
- you have tried “cold turkey” quitting methods
- you have attempted other methods of treatment
- you are afraid to deal with opiate withdrawal