Addiction Help Q & A: Is Methadone Treatment Stopping Addiction?
In the town of Fort Frances, Ontario, just across the border from Minnesota, there are about 60 people on methadone maintenance. Last year there were seven. The town has a population of a little over 8,000. According to a local pharmacist, more and more Fort Frances residents who have trouble ending their addiction to heroin, OxyContin and other opioids are turning to methadone rather than getting the addiction help they need.
The pharmacist doesn’t see methadone maintenance as an addiction or as something that requires addiction help. But just because you get your drugs from a doctor instead of on the street, just because you don’t have to share needles, doesn’t mean you’re not addicted. It simply means you’ve found a way to satisfy your addiction that is more convenient and more acceptable. But you still need addiction help. In fact, methadone is highly addictive.
The pharmacist also thinks that someone on methadone maintenance doesn’t experience the “obsession that comes while moving from one high to the next,” and that it’s easier to get off methadone than the original drugs.
He’s wrong on both counts: Getting off methadone can be even harder than heroin or OxyContin and, even though the methadone user may not experience the same ‘high’ as with those other drugs, they still through the outrageous withdrawal symptoms that manifest in the obsession he’s referring to if their dose is delayed.
This pharmacist, I am sure, is encouraging people to go onto methadone maintenance instead of getting the addiction help they need. He sees it as a real solution. It is a solution to something – but not drug addiction.
I’m sure he’s probably well meaning, but he is, after all, a pharmacist and, obviously, believes drugs have much to offer. True in many situations. But one thing you can’t get out of drugs is a solution to drug addiction. For that, you need real addiction help services. If you need addiction help, give us a call. We’ll help you really get off drugs.