When it comes to prescription painkillers, we really seem to be between a rock and a hard place. After God knows how many people were killed, injured or turned into drug addicts with OxyContin, doctors started looking for alternatives. Many chose methadone. Now methadone is a big factor in prescription drug addiction epidemic, and the overdose statistics are alarming. Methadone users would be wise to get into a drug addiction treatment center that can help them get off it.
According to the National Center for Health Statistics, methadone overdoses increased by 500% between 1999 and 2005. That figure is likely to be considerably higher now as even more doctors are prescribing it instead of OxyContin and other painkillers they know are likely to cause prescription drug addiction and which can be easily abused.
It's understandable that a person is likely to need painkillers for a short time when they've had an accident or serious injury. If they're very careful, they can probably avoid developing a prescription drug addiction. But methadone is prescribed even for moderate pain. Is it worth the risk? Certainly not for the people who've died, or for their families. There are a lot of options other than prescription painkillers to deal with moderate pain.
Methadone is highly addictive and exceedingly difficult to stop taking. Withdrawal can be painful and mentally and emotionally disturbing - a medical drug detox is usually indicated, followed by a full drug rehab program in a drug addiction treatment center.
Why are there so many methadone overdoses?
According to an FDA advisory issued in 2006, “Methadone can cause slow or shallow breathing and dangerous changes in heart beat that may not be felt by the patient. "
Methadone is also difficult to prescribe: It provides pain relief for a few hours, but stays in the bloodstream long after that. Because the pain is back, people assume the drug has worn off. The person takes more and, before you know it, they've got too much in their system and can go into a coma and stop breathing.
Also, because it metabolizes slowly the pain relief the person expects doesn't come very quickly. Thinking they just haven't taken enough yet, they take more. Again, because they don't know how much is in the system, they risk overdose.
Perhaps the saddest thing of all is that the person can die without ever realizing they're ‘abusing’ the drug and without getting anywhere close to developing a prescription drug addiction or even a dependency.
A drug addiction treatment center can help a person overcome methadone or any other prescription drug addiction, dependency or abuse. But be careful which treatment center you choose - some have experience with this drug and some don't. You might want to get with a drug rehab specialist so they can help you find the right facility. But, do it quickly. And find out more about prescription drug addiction so you can consider other options.
Gloria MacTaggart is a freelance writer that contributes articles on health.
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