Is Methadone a Safe Treatment for Opiate Addiction?

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Methadone is a pharmacological treatment option for individuals addicted to opioids and in need of long-term maintenance. Because the drug can be addictive itself and has been abused at high levels, there is some concern as to whether or not it is a safe treatment for opiate addiction. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “For more than 30 years, methadone has been used safely and effectively to treat people with opioid addiction, particularly heroin.”

Methadone Can Be Administered Safely

Many individuals are concerned about the possibility that methadone, during treatment, could cause addiction or overdose. However, these issues can only occur if the individual abuses the medication, something that is not possible when methadone is taken under a doctor’s care with the patient’s needs in mind. Your methadone doctor will choose a specific dosage that fits your needs, reducing your withdrawal symptoms and allowing you to be maintained without causing euphoria. Then, you will return to the clinic daily to receive your medication.

Methadone is Highly Regulated

Methadone a Safe Treatment

Only federally licensed facilities can administer methadone, making it a well-monitored and safe program.

According to the National Institute of Justice, methadone maintenance treatment “is one of the most monitored and regulated medical treatments in the country. Therefore, methadone, when used in the treatment of opioid addiction, can only be dispensed by federally licensed opioid treatment programs.” Patients must come to the clinic once a day to receive their dosage, especially for the first six months of treatment, and are not permitted to dose themselves until they have proven they are responsible enough to do so.

The medication can only be taken legally under a doctor’s care, and while there is considerable diversion of the drug to the black market, there are strong efforts being made to eradicate this issue. Because it is well understood that methadone in the wrong hands can be dangerous, treatment with this medication is carefully monitored in every way possible.

Is it Really Safe?

It’s hard to say upfront, without medical treatment and counseling how safe methadone is as each patient responds differently to the medication. However, methadone, when used correctly, and when monitored by a qualified healthcare professional is much safer than heroin or abusing other opiates without care.

Pros and Cons of Methadone Maintenance

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