Methadone: New CDC Report Dispels Some Myths

Last modified: September 23, 2013 12:51:03 PM

CDC report found methadone to be an safe and effective treatment for those addicted to Heroin

For those who help rehabilitate heroin addicts or are the friends and relatives of an opiate addict who has decided to attempt treatment or is currently in a treatment program, there has been some very encouraging news from the medical community dispelling some myths about the use of methadone as a therapeutic tool.

According to doctors and experts at a methadone treatment center in the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the U.S. have been noting and recording a decrease in the number of methadone overdose deaths.  Their report also dispels the myths and negativity that come part and parcel with the use of methadone as a treatment for heroin (or any other opiate) addiction.

Research, which has been done continuously on the subject for over 60 years, shows that the use of methadone is indeed very effective in treating opiate addiction.  New medications such as Suboxone are also proving to be effective tools in addiction treatment.  The CDC report emphasizes that almost all the deaths cause by methadone overdose were due to its use by chronic pain sufferers as a painkiller, not due to its use to treat those addicted to heroin.  Methadone use in an addiction clinic is strictly regulated in most areas, and almost impossible for an addict to abuse as access is also severely restricted, administered only by highly qualified doctors and nurses.

The report shows undeniable evidence that methadone treatment works and former heroin addicts who take methadone will not go back to the illegal street drugs.  The report shows, over and over, that addicts can go back to a fulfilling lifestyle with employment, reuniting with friends and family, and much improved physical and mental health.

What the CDC report makes crystal-clear is this:  methadone treatment is NOT simply substituting one drug for another.  Methadone is a prescription medication administered by doctors for therapeutic uses and the improvement of health.  One can become physically dependent on methadone after a period of prolonged use; it does not provide the “highs” characteristic of opiates.  It also does not cause addiction, nor does it cause the characteristic behaviors associated with opiate addiction.

Mark Jorrisch, M.D. and Cary Kaplin, MRC, LCAC from the Methadone and Opiate Rehabilitation and Education Center of Kentucky further state in a letter to the Louisville Courier-Journal that while they do not want to give the impression that methadone use in inexperienced hands is safe, methadone works to cure a deadly addiction and has been helping heroin addicts recover in treatment centers for over sixty years.  Hopefully the CDC’s report will eliminate the stigma attached to methadone treatment.