Methadone Detox and Rehab Could Have Saved a Child's Life

Methadone Detox and Rehab Could Have Saved a Child's Life

In June of this year, a 10-month-old child died from a methadone overdose. His father was cleaning the couch and saw a pill fall to the floor. When he turned back a minute later, the pill was gone. He told the court, where he and his wife are now facing murder charges, that he thought the pill had fallen into a vent. It may not be too late to treat the parents' drug addiction through methadone detox and drug rehab, but it's definitely too late for their son.

Methadone Death Toll 3 Times that of Heroin

This is not the first death from methadone, nor will it be the last. The methadone death toll is about three times that of heroin, the drug addiction methadone was intended to overcome. But instead of using methadone as a temporary solution to help wean addicts from heroin and then following up with a complete drug rehab program, some methadone clinics are parking addicts on methadone for years. The addicts are still addicts, but the drug is different.

Australia, determined to defeat heroin addiction, recently proposed a solution to this problem. Members of Parliament recommended a three-pronged approach: force young addicts into drug detox and rehab, withdraw funding for 'harm reduction' programs such as methadone clinics and fund drug rehab with those funds, and put the children of addicts up for adoption. This drastic, zero-tolerance approach is controversial and will probably not pass into law.

For more than 40 years methadone treatment has been used as a substitute drug for heroin and other opiates. The ideal situation would be temporary use of methadone to get the person through heroin withdrawal, then straight into drug rehab to handle the heroin addiction. But the real situation is far from that: many heroin addicts are simply switched to methadone and now have the problem of methadone addiction. Consequently, they now need methadone detox and rehab, instead of detox and rehab for heroin.

Methadone is just as habit forming as heroin or other opiates

Methadone is just as habit forming as heroin or other opiates. The body can build up the same tolerance to methadone as experienced with heroin, and the addict can develop the same physical and psychological dependence. When they try to get off methadone, the withdrawal can be just as severe as it would have been with heroin.

Instead of eliminating heroin addiction through heroin detox and rehab, we've created a new breed of addicts. Each of them will need methadone detox and rehab to handle their new methadone addiction and, in the meantime, the death toll continues to climb.

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