Heroin addiction is a serious and deadly disease that is striking individuals across the country at alarming rates. Heroin is a highly addictive drug that can leave a user dependent on it as soon as the first time they use it. Heroin is a very dangerous drug for many reasons, not least of which is the fact that it can be difficult, if not impossible to stop using without medical help.
Luckily, there are some methods of recovery which, when used in tandem with professional counseling and medical help can be highly effective in helping addicts free themselves from the devastating grip of addiction. One of the most commonly used and significant types of therapy for addiction is the use of heroin substitute therapies, which is the process by which an addict is prescribed a drug in place of heroin.Methadone: A Useful and Longstanding Solution to Addiction
Perhaps the most common form of substitution therapy is prescription of the drug methadone, which is manufactured by a number of pharmaceutical companies. Methadone is a drug that was developed in Germany in the 1930’s and came to the United States in 1947 by way of the pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly and Company.
Methadone works to combat addiction to heroin and similar drugs like prescription opioids because it works on the same reward receptors in the brain that more harmful drugs do. In this way, a person who is addicted to heroin can use methadone to stop using heroin because while using methadone, heroin withdrawal symptoms become much less severe and may not be present at all.
The absence of these withdrawal symptoms have a number of important benefits because of this. Firstly, it greatly reduces the chance of relapse, which is often caused at least in part from the severe physical symptoms that occur when a person’s brain receptors send out signals to the body that they are in distress because of the fact that they have not received the heroin they are dependent on. The elimination of these symptoms is also an imperative part of recovery because of the fact that the symptoms themselves can be so physically dangerous on their own.Substitution Makes Way For Weaning Off of Heroin
Methadone is effective in the initial stages of withdrawal from heroin because it offers the brain and body a transitional period between the time when the addict is heavily using and when they become completely drug free.
This transitional time is of utmost importance and allows recovering addicts a chance to begin to find some clarity of mind so that they may begin to do the mental and spiritual work necessary to get sober for the rest of their lives. In addition to helping block withdrawal symptoms, methadone may help reduce instances of relapse because of the fact that at certain doses, it may null the effect of heroin itself, leaving little temptation for the addict to use the narcotic.Methadone Clinics Instituted Worldwide
Because of the fact that methadone and similar replacement therapies have been shown to increase the odds of staying sober for troubled addicts, clinics in a number of countries offer easy and safe access to the drug in a number of ways.
The type of dispensing of the drug varies from clinic to clinic and from country to country. In the United States, intake of the drug is generally monitored by a nurse or clinician for at least the initial time in which a patient is taking it. Often, patients who receive methadone are subject to random drug tests in order to make sure that they are continuing to abstain from heroin abuse.