Methadone Achieves Stability
If someone has the need for a methadone prescription, chances are they need the prescripiton just to feel normal – no-one is getting high from this.
Methadone is intended as a stabiliser, in more ways than one.
While it has numerous critics in both public and private treatment sectors, the “normal” state of mind methadone induces, when administered at the correct dose, can then also provide a more stable mindset in daily life, from which someone can actually make progress on their addiction recovery in.
The neurotransmitter deficits that occur in opiate withdrawal are so intense that users will do anything to avoid – literally beg, borrow, or steal.
Methadone takes away that emotional volatility, and allows a person to take actions and make sound decisions during waking life that will later result
Methadone Use Doesn’t Have To Be Focused on Abstinence
Methadone is used so frequently as part of in-patient care in hospitals and methadone detox clinics, that it almost becomes synonymous with its use as a stepping stone towards total abstinence.
This is not always possible, or actually wanted, by everyone prescribed methadone.
e.g. Chronic, long term opiate users who have actually incurred physical neuron damage, either as a result of long term usage itself, or in many cases due to a physical trauma of some kind which got them into opiate use in the first place.
Often these individuals have so much accrued toleranc developed over a long period of time, that a maintenance substance like methadone, which does not actually reduce opiate tolerance, as compared to other forms of Opiate Replacement Therapy, is most welcome.
This audience can often feel that a stabilising mechanism, that leaves tolerance levels unchanged, can also help safeguard the, against risk of overdose, if they should relapse at some point.
This is especially prominent in those who have been through the treatment or rehab process multiple times already, and have an established history of relapse, from which it would be difficult to fully become abstinent, without permanent 24 hrs care and support.
Methadone Use Is Not As Widespread As You Think
I’ve talked in other posts about the stigma often attached to methadone use and in fact new pharmacies or treatment centers opening up are often boycotted as a result of offering methadone treatment in one form or another.
However, a 2018 study found that just 30% of those attending a Massachusetts ER for non-fatal overdose had ever been offered a Methadone Replacement Therapy medication or treatment.
The accepted and recognised forms are Buprenorphine, Methadone, and Naltrexone.
Does such a low uptake surprise you?
In fact, this is a reflection of what individuals were offered, rather than what they undertook.
It is not clear the reasons why these medications are no offered to 70% of patients.
As above, methadone has been shown to significantly reduce the chance of fatal overdoses in patients who are long term users.
Perhaps there is a reticence within the professional community to enable people in acknowledging that they have a chronic addiction with no plans for abstinence – the lines here are blurred.