Drug Detox Helps a Person Through Withdrawal: Methadone Delays It

Drug Detox Helps a Person Through Withdrawal: Methadone Delays It

On July 25th a 17-year-old Maryland boy died in his bed from a fatal combination of methadone and alcohol. Maryland has seen a steady increase in methadone deaths - in 1998 there were 24, last year there were 177. Nation-wide, methadone kills about twice the number of people as heroin every year. Nevertheless, the practice of substituting methadone for heroin continues to be considered an acceptable alternative to heroin addiction, and to the drug detox and rehab programs that could get heroin addicts off drugs.

Why is methadone so dangerous? Many of the people taking methadone actually do want to get high, but the dramatic effects of heroin aren't there. Methadone works much slower - a dose lasts about 24 hours, and it takes about half that time to reach its full effect. Users expect more, and consequently, take more. However, even though the drug isn't getting you high, it is still doing everything else to your body that heroin does and a person can simply go to sleep and die long before they've achieved the effect they were looking for.

Also, because the methadone doesn't give users the high they expect, and desire, they sometimes drink alcohol or take other drugs while also on methadone, not knowing that their body is already at its limit. Again, you simply go to sleep, and never wake up. I read an article that described the advantage of methadone treatment as being able to go to work or school because you don't have to worry about withdrawal. Really, that's a pretty lame reason for staying, or keeping someone else addicted to a drug.

A good drug detox program would take a week or two, and then some time in drug rehab to deal with the issues that got the person addicted in the first place is really all it takes. And you can even find a drug detox program that helps you through withdrawal by giving you drugs that you don't get addicted to - drugs that you no longer have to take once you complete the detox. Getting someone off heroin isn't pleasant, no doubt about it. But that's no excuse to turn a heroin addiction into a methadone addiction.

If you know someone currently on methadone, get them through a drug detox program and drug rehab. They may kick a little, but you might save their life.

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