Methadone Provides a Lifeline
There are numerous recent stories in the nation’s news about the hazards of heroin addiction, addiction to painkillers, and the terrifying decline that many people are experiencing as opioid addiction takes hold. With addiction comes judgment – often harsh, unforgiving judgment by society as they look on at addicted people and the desperate choices which emerge as one sinks into personal addiction.
With opioid addiction, the physical dependency that can develop is truly staggering, powerful. Consequently, addicted people are driven to seek relief from opioid withdrawal and to struggle forward in an effort to hold on to life. When you are close to someone suffering in this way, you often suffer with them and worry about their welfare and whether they will even survive. This is very difficult to face day after day, and a solution sometimes seems nowhere in sight. Especially after years of close calls, multiple rehabs, and viewing catastrophes, one after another, with your loved one at the center of a never-ending tornado.
Methadone has earned a place in history as a medication with life-saving potential. Methadone is the most effective medication known to science that completely eliminates chronic opioid withdrawal. How valuable is that?
Unfortunately, methadone has at times been criticized, and patients receiving it ostracized & judged. Methadone is a lifeline for many people who otherwise would be dead or in prison. Methadone is a tool which, when used appropriately, can open the door to a better life – one in which a real recovery can occur. In the ADS opioid treatment program (which has been in operation for over 30 years), many thousands of individuals have been helped. Many of these patients would have likely died without the powerful ability of methadone to eliminate withdrawal sickness and the associated craving for opioids.
Many of these people were Moms who had small children that needed them. Many of these patients were someone’s son who went on to build a life, a career, raise a family, and contribute to his community. It’s so easy to judge and to categorize addicted people as ‘scam artists’ or somehow unworthy of love or even a chance. This type of mentality breeds prejudice against addicted people and dehumanizes them. We have seen this type of thinking at work before in our society.
Addiction is a disease that can affect nearly anyone. While we as a society have our ideas of what is good and bad, justified or unjustified – it is important that we remember that addiction can happen to someone we love, someone we respect, someone we need. Addiction can come home to roost.
Methadone is a tool. It is not a complete answer, nor is it meant to be. The Food & Drug Administration (FDA), the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), NIDA, the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), and other leading reputable organizations have endorsed the use of methadone in the treatment of opioid addiction. It is deemed an evidence-based best practice. Why? Because science & exhaustive research have proven beyond any doubt that methadone is effective at saving lives and promoting long-term recovery. It provides people an opportunity to rebuild their lives after struggling for years in addiction.
Methadone clinics are opening across the country, as need dictates, in order to provide those suffering with a medical service that might save their lives. There is great value in helping people who are sick. They get well. They step up! Maybe not all, but many do. They go on to live a more full life. They don’t end up in the obituary column, just another statistic. Methadone has been a medical lifeline for hundreds of thousands of people across the country. We, at ADS, have seen this reality, this miracle, everyday for 30+ years. And we remain grateful for the opportunity to help the suffering addict. It’s a privilege. Methadone is, and will remain, an extremely valuable tool in the opioid addiction recovery process.