Methadone is a synthetic opiod, rigorously used as a pain reliever and in treating addiction to narcotics. In the case of morphine or heroin abuse, methadone occupies the opiod receptor in the brain and stabilizes it against the addiction to those opiates. Methadone was developed in Germany in 1937. It has been legally available in the US since 1947. Since it is synthetic and produced legally, methadone costs less compared to other illicit drugs. This has resulted methadone slowly becoming one of the abused drugs. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, methadone usage has contributed to 3,849 deaths in 2004.
Availability for treatment
Methadone serves as an effective treatment for addiction to narcotics like heroin, morphine, and other such opioids. According to the statistics released by American Methadone Treatment Association in 1999, around 20 percent of the heroin addicts in the United States receive methadone treatment. This treatment is called as Methadone Maintenance Treatment or MMT. MMT is also found to have the required potential to reduce the transmission of diseases like HIV and hepatitis, which are mostly associated with sharing the injection needles used for heroin abuse.
Methadone initially used as an analgesic even since the World War II. Methadone is generic and cheaper painkiller compared to other long-lasting painkillers like OxyContin. This made many doctors to prescribe this drug to their patients as an efficient analgesic.
Is it safe?
Though Methadone is used for treating drug abuse, it has its own side effects and risks like in case of any other drugs. Methadone used under efficient medical supervision and guidelines and has no severe side affects, other than minor symptoms like constipation, water retention, drowsiness, skin rash, excessive sweating, etc. Even these minor symptoms subside gradually with increase intolerance to the drug.
However, the recent abuse of the methadone by thrill seekers and its misuse by the patients prescribed to this drug has resulted in methadone becoming the cause for fastest growing narcotics deaths. According to the federal statisticians, methadone caused to deaths of around 4,462 people between 1999 and 2005.
The above information provides some facts on methadone, its usage and effects on health. Methadone is an effective drug for treating addiction to opioids and relieving from pain. Methadone is a useful medicine only when used under proper medical supervision. Misuse of this drug results in many health ailments including death.
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