IOP for Methadone Addiction
Is intensive outpatient necessary for methadone?
Methadone and its effects
Those who are familiar with methadone might know it as a drug that usually gives people freedom from addiction rather than putting them at risk of chemical dependency. While methadone maintenance programs have given countless individuals a second chance at life, methadone remains a highly addictive substance with a high potential for abuse. That’s why Serene Beginnings offers an intensive outpatient program for methadone addiction; in spite of its successful use in replacement therapy programs around the world, there are many people currently suffering from methadone addiction, so it’s important to be knowledgeable about this drug, its uses, and how it can be treated effectively with our intensive outpatient program. While there are many drugs that have proven to be prone to addiction, recent years have seen opioids become some of the most problematic. The so-called heroin or opioid “epidemic” is often traced to the release — and subsequent widespread abuse — of OxyContin, which is a powerful prescription painkiller that is still one of the most potent of all opioid substances. As changes in healthcare practices and laws attempted to make OxyContin and similar drugs harder for substance abusers to obtain, many drug users switched to heroin, a more readily-available drug that also happened to be both cheaper and more powerful than OxyContin. With so many people becoming addicted to opioid drugs like heroin and pharmaceutical painkillers, we tried to find new and innovative ways of combating opioid addiction; this led to methadone and the availability of methadone maintenance programs. Once a person becomes addicted to an opioid, he or she will experience withdrawal symptoms whenever opioids are unavailable. As such, the threat of withdrawal is one of the biggest motivators of continued substance abuse, making those addicted to opioids more likely to continue using opioid drugs since they want to avoid the experience of withdrawal. With a substance like methadone, however, individuals can end their dependence on opioids — while putting a stop to many of the self-destructive behaviors that are often fueled by the desire to obtain and use drugs — by basically replacing their use of street opioids with the supervised and highly regulated use of methadone. Methadone is characterized as an opioid analgesic, meaning that the drug binds to pain receptors in the brain in much the same way as heroin, morphine, OxyContin, and other prescription painkillers; however, methadone isn’t associated with the feelings of euphoria and pleasure that often drive opioid abuse. When taken at a very calculated dosage, methadone can put an individual in a sort of stasis; essentially, the person isn’t forced to continue using opioids to keep withdrawal symptoms at bay because he or she takes a specific dose of methadone each day. Of course, the use of methadone for this purpose is controversial with many opponents referring to methadone maintenance as simply replacing one drug with another since individuals in methadone maintenance programs are technically still opioid dependent. Further, between the use of methadone as an actual pain medication and the availability of methadone maintenance programs, there’s still a substantial amount of methadone that’s diverted to substance abusers who end up abusing methadone in a similar manner to heroin and OxyContin. In other words, despite its potential for rehabilitation, methadone is still a dangerous and highly addicted opioid.