Methadone: Effective But Controversial
Did you know…?
- During WWII, Methadone was synthesized in Germany as a substitute for the painkiller morphine, because supplies of morphine were scarce. It is also said Hitler wanted to be independent of sources outside of Germany. Methadone was originally called Dolophine.
- In the US in the 1950s and 60s, heroin abuse and the resulting disease from shared needles was increasing at an alarming rate. Because methadone could be administered in liquid (oral) and pill form, it reduced disease transmission among heroin users. And because it is longer-acting than heroin, it can be given once a day. These lead to its adoption as a maintenance treatment for opioid addiction.
- Managed improperly, methadone is highly addictive in its own right.
- Methadone is dangerous when used in conjunction with depressants that affect the central nervous system, especially placidyl, valium, and large amounts of alcohol.
Methadone is a synthetic substance with pharmacological properties similar to morphine and heroin. But is is not an opiate and does not show up on a test for opiates alone. Similar to heroin, methadone affects the central nervous system; it creates copycat effects, including an overall sense of well-being, drowsiness and euphoria.
Long-term use of methadone can easily lead to addiction and/or dependency if not managed carefully. Critics of methadone maintenance treatment claim addicts have simply substituted one addiction for another, but proponents point out that there is a distinct difference between physical dependence on a drug and addiction to it. Methadone users develop a physical dependence it is true, but they compare it to a diabetic’s physical dependence. on insulin. Methadone maintenance participants who don’t abuse other drugs and live a healthy lifestyle can have successful work and personal lives — much better outcomes than as heroin addicts.
Methadone is often prescribed for patients with severe pain after serious injury or major surgery. The effects of methadone can actually last longer than most morphine-based drugs. This extended period (up to 24 hours) allows for administration typically once a day and is of great benefit for heroin detoxification and maintenance situations.
Testing for Methadone Requires a 10-Panel Test
Because methadone is not an opiate, the basic 5-panel screen will not detect it. A 10-panel screen is required. Both the 5-panel and 10-panel tests are oral fluids (saliva) tests. The technician places an absorbent collection pad, typically in a swab form, in the test subject’s mouth. The collected saliva is screened for metabolites of the drugs being screened for. Samples are checked to verify the saliva is human and undiluted. Contact ARCpoint Labs of Worcester, MA today to schedule a confidential appointment.
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