Methadone is a very strong, synthetic narcotic drug and Methadone abuse refers to an excessive or uncontrolled use of this synthetic narcotic.
The drug is legally available in many countries, including the US where it is used to help to control pain that is caused by diseases such as cancer.
Methadone is also used to treat people who are addicted to other drugs such as heroin. In the US, Methadone is listed as a schedule II drug; these drugs have a high potential for addiction.
Methadone was initially discovered during World War II when German scientists developed it as a way of controlling the negative withdrawal symptoms of natural opiates as there was a concern that a shortage of natural opiates may be experienced. The drug that was originally developed in WWII was called Dolophin, but after further development, the American Medical Association (AMA) gave it the generic name Methadone.
The combined ingredients of Methadone have characteristics which make it suitable for assisting heroin addicts to quit their habit. Taking heroin provides the user with a temporary euphoria that is followed by a period of straight thinking and then the development of withdrawal symptoms. Common heroin withdrawal symptoms include abdominal pain, cravings, irritability, vomiting, depression and muscle tremors.
The withdrawal symptoms are so strong that they compel victims to seek another dose of heroin as a way to stop them. It is this attempt to control the discomfort of the withdrawal symptoms which creates a cycle of abuse and ultimately makes it incredibly difficult to quit heroin.
When a patient receives the correct amount of Methadone, they do not experience the same euphoria and it takes effect at a much slower pace than heroin, furthermore Methadone costs much less than heroin and has a longer cycle time. But by far the most important advantage is that the Methadone helps to eradicate the withdrawal symptoms that develop as a result of quitting heroin.
The chemical composition of Methadone will not result in any neurological dysfunction, and therefore allows the person taking it to lead a normal life unlike heroin which rapidly takes away this capability. Medical practitioners see this as another advantage of using Methadone as a heroin replacement as it reduces the withdrawal symptoms while maintaining their patients’ sanity.
Despite all the positives, there is a downside to using Methadone as increased usage will lead to an increase in tolerance. This can result in the user becoming stuck in a negative cycle of needing more and taking more in an attempt to avoid the effects of withdrawal.
A recent crackdown on heroin and oxycontin has made them very expensive and difficult to get hold of; Methadone on the other hand is widely available and much more affordable. As a result many heroin addicts are turning to Methadone abuse, but it is absolutely imperative to understand that a Methadone addiction can be even more powerful than a heroin addiction as it takes three times longer to withdraw from.