One of the available treatments for people suffering from opoid addiction is the use of methadone, a prescription medication that has been in use since the 60s. Using methadone as a means to recover from heroin or painkiller addiction remains a controversial subject because of the many risks involved in using medication as a replacement drug. While there are plenty of patients that have found success in taking methadone to fight a very severe heroin addiction, there are also a number of cases of overdose and death as a result of mixing methadone with other substances or simply taking too much. Many addiction patients can have trouble controlling their behavior and providing them with a substance like methadone can be a dangerous choice for their recovery.
The Use of Methadone
Heroin addiction is one of the most difficult problems to overcome and addicts are often looking for an easier way to come off of their dependency without the intensity of withdrawal and cravings. Methadone provides a solution to withdrawal and physical dependency because it is a synthetic opoid offering a similar kind of euphoria that can help patients slowly adjust to the experience of being off opoids. With the right dosage, methadone can give patients the calm and blissful feeling that they crave from heroin but without many of the adverse effects of an actual opoid so that they can still while avoiding any withdrawal symptoms. What makes methadone controversial is the fact that it provides a way for addicts to continue using drugs and there are also some inherent risks that affect people in recovery. Some of the biggest concerns are the potential to form an addiction and the dangers of methadone interacting with other drugs.
Methadone and Cocaine
It can be common for many addicts attempting to recover from heroin addiction to continue using other illicit drugs in spite of receiving treatment. The usage of other drugs along with taking methadone can pose serious health risks and has been the cause of numerous deaths. Even mixing methadone with legal prescriptions such as anti-depressants or anxiety medication like Xanax can sometimes have lethal consequences. One of the most common problems among heroin addicts is the tendency to mix methadone with cocaine or alcohol either of which can be a very risky decision. Mixing cocaine and methadone can have a number of adverse effects including stroke, burst blood vessels and heart failure. The problem with mixing these drugs is that the depressant in methadone can hide the warning symptoms of overdosing on the stimulant. This can quickly lead to fatal consequences because addicts are not aware that they are reaching the point of overdose.
Mixing Alcohol and Methadone
Alcohol is the type of drug that should never be combined with any medication and drinking while using methadone can be particularly dangerous. Alcohol can have profound effects on the central nervous system and can be especially volatile when mixed with opoids like heroin and methadone. Research has shown that half of all overdoses linked to opoid usage have also involved excessive amounts of alcohol consumption. Methadone tends to increase the effects of alcohol so taking the two together can intensify drunkenness while also leading to dangerous complications like respiratory problems, low blood pressure, a weak heart rate and coma. Taking both methadone and alcohol at the same time can dramatically increase the risk of overdose. While taking methadone for a heroin addiction can potentially some patients ease the symptoms of heroin withdrawal, it is crucial that they avoid any other type of substance use. The dangerous effects of mixing methadone with any other drug can be life-threatening to an addict.