When an individual is suffering from any sort of opiate addiction, there is only one thing that matters: getting and using more opiates. It is safe to say, then, that using opiates in order to treat opiate addiction is ludicrous at best, and completely counter-productive at worst. In fact, several of the most highly potent and addictive drug substances currently available were themselves designed to treat opiate addiction.
How Methadone Perpetuates Addiction
Donnie McGilveray is the manager of Alternatives, a charity group in Clydebank, Scotland, that helps reform drug addicts and he is one of many who are greatly concerned about the use of methadone to treat heroin addiction. McGilveray believes that this substitute drug is a “monster” that keeps addicts hooked for good. That said, McGilveray points out that methadone may be somewhat helpful in the treatment of addiction for a small percentage of individuals who are highly destructive to self and others as a result of their opiate addiction problems. However, he also believes that this group is very, very small, and that methadone is only helpful insofar as it works to help prevent chaotic, suicidal or other exceedingly harmful behavior. Instead, methadone is currently routinely used to treat heroin addiction, without allowing for the fact that methadone itself would then have to be successfully withdrawn and recovered from in order to allow the individual a truly sober life. This means that many individuals are stuck on methadone, a “legal” substitute opiate medication they can receive from pharmacies with a prescription.
Methadone is a synthetic opiate drug that is similar in effect to morphine, which blocks opioid receptors in the brain responsible for the communication of physical pain, and which stimulates the production of neurotransmitters related to the perception of pleasure and reward. The effects of methadone can be of longer duration than morphine, making it a desirable substitute for an opiate addict. And like heroin, it is also very difficult and even dangerous to withdraw from.