Most people know that methadone is used not only as treatment for opiate addiction but also as a pain reliever. When a person begins use of methadone for pain, they are carefully monitored as the dose is adjusted to the right level, sometimes in a hospital or hospice setting. It is quite dangerous to give a person too-high a dose and ineffective in handling pain if they are given too little. When a person abuses methadone, however, they have no such protection. They are on their own to try to work out how much of the drug to abuse so that it won’t kill them.
Methadone can come as a small pill that is intended to be swallowed or dissolved, or as a liquid to be drunk, diluted or injected. Methadone is not expected to cause the same initial euphoric rush as heroin and other drugs, but the person who is abusing methadone is probably still going to feel high when they first start abusing it. As they develop a tolerance, if they don’t increase their dosage, they will probably just feel numb and drugged without the high.
Medical treatment strategies for opiate addiction have evolved since the 1950’s, when methadone was first used to aid withdrawal. Methadone maintenance programs, in which patients are given methadone, another opiate, as a substitute for the drug of dependence, have been a mainstay of opiate addiction treatment for decades. Now other drugs, like buprenorphine, are given in a similar way to be a substitute for the drug of addiction. For the majority of patients this is not an acceptable alternative, because the physical dependence continues, and is often a lifelong commitment. For most patients, the goal of treatment is complete abstinence.
Federal drug officials warn doctors, one in 3,000 people who take opiates for pain become addicted. The body gets accustomed to the drug and begins to tolerate it. If the root cause of the pain does not heal, the person will have to take more and more of the drug to feel relief. Read more →
Opiates are a popular medication choice for those who have chronic or severe pain due to illness or injury. This is because they are highly effective and provide a sense of euphoria that’s very pleasurable.