We’re often asked about various opiate or opioid drug treatment programs. Methadone maintenance is one topic which we’re asked about daily. It seems as if methadone maintenance for opiate abuse is misunderstood by many drug addicts. In this article we’ll try to answer a common question about methadone. Is methadone an opiate?
Is Methadone an Opiate?
We believe this question is asked by so many people seeking drug rehab programs because there is a lack of knowledge about what methadone is and how a methadone maintenance program works.
Let’s answer the question of Is methadone an opiate? The short answer is yes, methadone is an opiate, however, it’s considered to be a synthetic opioid. Discussing the difference between an opiate and an opioid is beyond the scope of this article and we’ll deal with that topic in the future.
As a synthetic opioid, methadone is not the same type of opiate as morphine or even the same as oxycodone which another synthetic opioid. However, methadone does produce many of the same results as other drug in the opiate family. Even though methadone is an opiate, it is still used to help drug addicts overcome opiate withdrawal symptoms and addiction to opioids.
How is Methadone Used To Treat Opiate Addiction?
Methadone maintenance programs are sometimes effective in treating opiate or opioid dependency. The drug is designed to be used in a controlled medical setting and most states have strict guidelines methadone clinics must follow.
Doctors employed by many drug treatment centers will oversee their methadone maintenance programs. The basic concept is to use methadone to help opiate addicts deal with withdrawal symptoms. Methadone is known to greatly reduce opiate withdrawal symptoms and is administered by the clinics in different milligram doses based on each individuals needs.
Addicts who start methadone maintenance treatment will begin their drug rehab with a small dose of methadone, usually between 10 – 25mg. The methadone clinic with increase the dose as the opiate addicts tolerance for the drug increases. The patient must visit the methadone clinic daily to receive their dose. As the maintenance treatment continues the patient may eventually be prescribe a take-home amount of methadone.
After the addicts opiate withdrawal symptoms begin to go away, the methadone clinic will start lowering the amount of methadone given to the opiate or opioid addict.
The final step in the methadone maintenance program is to slowly take the patient off of methadone. This step has caused a lot of controversy for methadone clinics. Many people think methadone withdrawals are even worse than the opiate withdrawals the patient was being treated for in the first place. For this reason methadone maintenance treatment is often not recommended by doctors or drug treatment facilities.
Using methadone comes with many risk, therefore, before you begin a methadone maintenance program please be sure to educate yourself on both the advantages and disadvantages of using methadone.
Is methadone an opiate? Yes it is, therefore, a person addicted to opiates must be careful when considering using methadone to treat opiate dependency. Methadone treatment has proven successful for many people addicted to opiates and opioids. Use extreme caution because methadone is very addictive and can cause death due to overdosing if abused.