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Methadone & Methadone Addiction   PDF  Print  Email 
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Methadone & Methadone Addiction
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I remember trying to dial the phone. It was a number I've called a thousand times before, only now I couldn't remember it. For that matter, I couldn't even hold the phone . . . I kept dropping it. My muscles were out of control. The pain that led me to methadone returned with a vengeance. In a strange way it was like an old friend. I knew it well and understood it completely. The combination of withdrawal and pain was too much. The all too familiar thoughts of suicide were returning.

It was now Tuesday morning. I called the pharmacist and explained the situation. By 1:10 PM I had 8 methadone tablets. I took the entire dose at once all 8 tablets. Within 2 hours my muscles had stopped screaming, my head was beginning to clear, and the pain was lessening.

It's now Thursday morning. I'm still not back to myself . . . but much better. The assault on my body was indeed very traumatic . . . I lost 7 pounds and am still very shaky. Addiction is indeed a dangerous thing and should be avoided. I must admit when I was in the throes of withdrawal there's not much I wouldn't have done to relieve the symptoms.

What are the dangers of methadone?

Following is an article by two doctors addressing this question.

Is methadone more likely to kill you than heroin?
By Drs Marcel Buster & Giel van Brussel, MD
Municipal Health Service Amsterdam

Based on literature and analysis of mortality figures Dr Russell Newcombe concluded that methadone programmes as a form of harm-reduction possibly cause more victims than they prevent. We have doubts whether the conclusion about methadone is fully justified. Looking at the mentioned literature gives a one-sided view at the problem. Moreover, the conclusions drawn are beyond those justified by the results of the analyses. Several points of debate come to mind:

Methadone is not an innocent substance; 'one's methadone maintenance dose is another's poison' (2). A regular user of opiates develops a certain tolerance. Therefore, it is possible that a tolerant person can function normally with dosages which can be fatal to a non-tolerant person. Also, methadone dosage in the case of first entry to the programme has to be evaluated carefully. It is wise to begin with a low dosage that has to be increased slowly in the course of weeks or even months. At entry to the programme it has to be carefully evaluated whether a patient has a clear and unambiguous heroin dependence. In methadone maintenance programmes, methadone is dispensed to tolerant persons, moreover, this tolerance remains high because of daily use of methadone. Therefore, it is not surprising that deaths at the King's College Hospital caused by methadone were not those of participants of a methadone maintenance programme but were those of 'recreational' users of illicit methadone.



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