Abnormal Psychology: Mental Health and Mental Illness

What Do Recent Statistics Say About Drug Use in the United States?

What is methadone and how does it help?

Methadone is a long-acting opiate that is dispensed to opiate-addicted individuals under the supervision of licensed methadone maintenance clinics. Because it is longer acting than most opiates of abuse, it is easier for the individual to maintain steady blood levels of the drug, which reduces the incidence of withdrawal and craving. It also gives much less of a high than other opiates, so it is less likely to be used as a recreational drug. There is considerable research that methadone maintenance reduces the crime, violence, medical problems, and mortality associated with severe opiate addiction. Nonetheless, there is controversy around methadone maintenance because many individuals may stay on methadone for many years rather than becoming entirely drug-free. Alternative medications to treat opiate addiction include buprenorphine and LAAM. LAAM, however, is no longer available in the United States or Europe due to rare cardiac side effects.


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