Breaking the cycle of opiate abuse and/or opiate addiction is made easier with medication-assisted treatment. Advances in science have made this process much safer, less painful, and more successful.
Methadone Maintenance Treatment (MMT) is one of the longest studied and most regulated medications with over 40 years of research in treating opioid withdrawal symptoms in opioid-dependent persons. Today, MMT is recognized as a key component of a comprehensive opioid addiction treatment program and has solid evidence of overall effectiveness for individuals across a variety of different environments.
Medication-Assisted Treatment is a low-cost option when compared to the high cost of continued illegal drug use, inpatient or residential treatment, or the high relapse rates associated with programs that do not work for the individual.
Methadone maintenance treatment (MMT) is a comprehensive treatment program that involves the long-term prescribing of methadone as a replacement for the opioid which someone is addicted to, and includes counseling, case management, and other medical and psychosocial services.
Methadone has been used for more than 30 years as an effective treatment for opioid addiction. Decades of scientific research have demonstrated methadone’s effectiveness. For example, a 1994 study found that “rates of illegal drug use, criminal activity, and hospitalization were lower for [methadone maintenance] patients than for addicts in any other type of drug treatment program.” The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that weekly heroin use decreased by 69 percent among outpatient methadone maintenance patients.
Studies show that there are no serious side effects associated with the medically supervised use of methadone. Some people have reported minor issues such as constipation, water retention, drowsiness, skin rash, excessive sweating, and changes in libido. But in the majority of cases, these symptoms subside once the individual finds the proper dosage for their individual needs.
Some experts compare methadone treatment to the use of insulin for individuals with diabetes. The diabetic individual is “dependent” upon insulin, but they are effectively managing a chronic disease using a prescribed and carefully monitored medication.
Methadone will not result in a positive test for opiates such as morphine or heroin. The only way for a company or other organization to detect methadone is to test for it specifically, which is not a common practice. People who are participating in approved methadone maintenance programs are not abusing an illegal drug. In fact, methadone patients are covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act, which means that methadone use cannot be used to deny employment.
Methadone has very different physical effects than heroin, morphine, and other opiate drugs. It is not a drug substitute, but rather a medication used in an approved course of treatment to overcome opiate addiction. Methadone also helps patients reduce typical drug-seeking behaviors associated with opiate abuse, such as unsuccessful efforts to stop using, forsaking obligations to get more drugs and using in spite of negative consequences.