Overcome Your Vicodin, Oxycontin, Heroine or Opiate Addiction with Methadone Treatment

Opiate Addiction Treatment Centers

Breaking free from the chains of opiate abuse and/or opiate addiction can be a difficult experience – but advances in medication-assisted treatment in recent decades have made this process much safer, less painful and more successful.

During the past 30 years, many opiate addiction recovery programs have had great success with a medication called methadone, which has helped tens of thousands of formerly addicted men and women overcome the addiction to opiates such as heroin, Oxycontin (oxycodone) and Vicodin (hydrocodone).

Of course, the first step on the path back from opiate addiction is recognizing the extent of the problem and selecting the treatment center that best meets your unique needs. To help you make the best decision for yourself and your family, this website features information about more than 10,000 treatment centers across the United States.

Methadone Treatment Facts

Methadone has been described by the U.S. Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) as “rigorously well-tested” and “safe and efficacious” for individuals who are being treated for opiate addiction. To learn more about methadone treatment for opiate addictions and medication-assisted treatment opportunities near you, search for a facility  or call (877) 637-6237.

What You Need to Know About Methadone Maintenance

In the United States, roughly 980,000 people are addicted to opiates such as heroin, Oxycontin and morphine.

Methadone is a synthetic opiate that mimics the effect that heroin, morphine and other opiates have on certain receptors in the brain. It essentially works by blocking the sedating and euphoric effects of opiates. It also helps to eliminate the cravings that are so strongly associated with opiate addiction, which plays a huge role in determining whether a patient will make it through opiate withdrawal or will suffer a relapse.

Withdrawal from opiates isn’t just difficult – it is dangerous. For this reason, it is recommended that addicted individuals seek professional assistance to help them stop using these types of drugs rather than simply trying to stop on their own.

The cravings that are associated with opiate addiction are so strong, in fact, that they are the primary reason why so many people relapse while trying to break free of their addictions. With methadone maintenance treatment, the cravings are eliminated, which helps patients to stick to the program all the way through.

In addition, patients do not experience feelings of euphoria or intoxication while undergoing a methadone maintenance program, so they are able to function as normal adults while being treated for their addiction. This is important because it allows them to work and function as a contributing member of their families during treatment, and this helps to make the entire treatment process much more effective than it would be if patients had to be isolated and alone during treatment.

Affordable Treatment for Opiate Addiction

Methadone Maintenance Treatment is the most effective opiate addiction treatment program that is available today. In addition to being the safest and most effective treatment for opiate addiction, methadone is also the most cost-effective treatment. The average monthly cost for most methadone treatment programs is less than $300. This puts annual costs at no more than $3,600.

It is important to realize that these addictions are chronic illnesses just like heart disease or high cholesterol. They are not “character flaws” or obstacles that can be overcome through will power alone.

Because of this, it is essential that treatment programs also incorporate unique ways of working with patients to help them transition back into a “normal” way of life as they go through recovery. Methadone maintenance treatment programs help patients accomplish this.

Though MMT has been helping individuals overcome opiate addictions for decades, success depends upon the willingness of the patient to commit to the program. Methadone maintenance treatment is not a magic solution that suddenly and miraculously “cures” opiate addiction; instead, it is a solid treatment program that requires dedication and effort by patients who want to be free of their addictions.

Basic Facts about Methadone Treatment

A Fact Sheet on the website of the U.S. Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) features the following information about methadone treatment for individuals who are struggling with opiate addiction:

  • Methadone is a rigorously well-tested medication that is safe and efficacious for the treatment of narcotic withdrawal and dependence
  • Methadone maintenance treatment (MMT) provides the heroin addict with individualized health care and medically prescribed methadone to relieve withdrawal symptoms, reduces the opiate craving, and brings about a biochemical balance in the body
  • About 20 percent of heroin addicts in the United States are currently receiving methadone maintenance treatment (MMT)
  • When used as prescribed and under a physician’s care, research and clinical studies suggest that long-term methadone maintenance treatment (MMT) is medically safe
  • Methadone produces no serious side effects, does not impair cognitive functions and has no adverse effects on mental capability, intelligence, or employability

Improved Access to Methadone Treatment

At the end of the 20th century (in July 1999), with more than 30 years of data available on the use and efficacy of methadone in opiate addiction treatment programs, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHSS) authorized increased access to methadone maintenance treatment for individuals who seek professional help to overcome an addiction to heroin and other opiates.

To accomplish this goal – and to provide more options both for opiate-addicted individuals and the healthcare providers who treat them with methadone-assisted protocols) — the DHSS released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that contained the following guidance:

  • Methadone should methadone “take its rightful place as a clinical tool in the treatment of the heroin addict”
  • Instead of methadone’s use being mandated by regulations, methadone maintenance programs should establish quality assurance guidelines and must be accredited (by national and/or state organizations
  • The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency would retain responsibility for preventing methadone from being illegally acquired for illicit use

The Safety of Methadone Maintenance Treatment (MMT)

More than three decades’ worth of research and clinical studies document the safety of methadone maintenance treatment (MMT) when used as part of an appropriate addiction recovery program. The ONDCP Fact Sheet referenced earlier also includes the following statements regarding the safety of methadone maintenance treatment (MMT):

  • When methadone is taken under medical supervision, long-term maintenance causes no adverse effects to the heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, bones, blood, brain, or other vital body organs
  • Some patients experience minor symptoms (for example, constipation, water retention, drowsiness, skin rash, excessive sweating, and changes in libido); however, when a patients methadone dosage has been adjusted to proper levels, or their tolerance for methadone increases) these effects usually fade
  • Methadone is not sedating or intoxicating, nor does it interfere with ordinary activities such as driving a car or operating machinery
  • For methadone patients, typical street doses of heroin are ineffective at producing euphoria, making the use of heroin less desirable

Benefits of Methadone Maintenance Treatment (MMT)

In addition to being safe when taken as part of an approved and properly supervised addiction recovery program, methadone offers a range of benefits to individuals who may have otherwise been incapable of overcoming addictions to heroin, oxycodone (OxyContin), hydrocodone (Vicodin) and other opiates.

As enumerated by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the benefits of methadone maintenance treatment include the following:

  • Reduced mortality (the median death rate of opiate-dependent individuals in methadone maintenance treatment is 30 percent of the rate of those not in MMT)
  • Reduced risk of overdose
  • Reduced risk of acquiring or transmitting diseases such as HIV and hepatitis B or C
  • Reduced criminal activity
  • Improved family stability
  • Enhanced employment potential
  • Improved outcomes for pregnant women and their children

Conclusion

Few medical treatment protocols in the United States have been as closely monitored and regulated as has methadone maintenance therapy (MMT). As a result of decades’ worth of documentation and analysis, experienced healthcare providers who work in the opiate addiction treatment field are well versed in the efficacy of methadone in the effort to overcome opiate dependency.

When taken under the supervision of a qualified healthcare provider, methadone is a safe and effective medication that can significantly increase an individual’s ability to overcome an addiction to opiates such as heroin, oxycodone and hydrocodone.


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