Methadone Treatment for Opioid Addiction

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Methadone Treatment for Opioid Addiction
By: Vicki Wilson
Physiological and Medical Aspects of Substance Abuse
November 7, 2012

Vicki Wilson
Physiological and Medical Aspects of Substance Abuse
November 7, 2012

When people hear the term opiate abusers or the more frequently used street term drug addict (a horrible stereotype) that people think of first. A homeless, system milking, degenerate that is hooked on Heroin and sticks dirty needles in their arms, doing anything for money to get more drugs. Although many times that is where drug addiction can eventually lead a person, it doesn’t start that way. It starts in high school at a party or the soccer mom that hurts her back and got addicted to the Percocet’s she was prescribed by the doctor. Opiate addiction is under researched and the true numbers of those in our country addiction has only started coming to life in the past decade. Because of the stereotypes and stigmas places on opiates, there has been a battle waging between medical doctors, the Food and Drug Administration, addiction specialists and patients in pain.

Due to the stigma and fear attached to the opiates, medical doctors continue to question the sincerity of patient pain and worry about the liability of prescription drug abuse. Other words many doctors question whether their patients are actually suffering in pain, which is subjective, and for years have been failing to adequately treat the pain because they don’t want to prescribe opiates. Although this is a legitimate concern it is unfair to the patient who are suffering acute or chronic, moderate to severe pain to be withheld relief of their pain. This however, has begun to change since The Joint Commission and other organizations have established pain as the fifth vital sign. Unfortunately, the statistics aren’t there yet due to lack of research and information on this topic. However, many doctors say yes or is it that the doctors are not working closely enough with addiction specialist in pain management to prevent those patients who had legitimate pain and got hooked and offered no help.

The group of Opioid drugs includes; heroin and morphine and synthetic drugs with morphine-like action, such as codeine, meperidine (Demerol), and oxycodone (OxyContin is sustained-release oxycodone). These compounds are prescribed as painkillers, anesthetics, or cough suppressants. Typical signs and symptoms of opioid intoxication are; pupillary constriction, euphoria, slowness in movement, drowsiness, and slurred speech. The signs and symptoms of opiate dependence may be hard to identify if the person who is addicted is still living a normal life and conceals their addiction to those around them. Most people do not see the signs of opiate dependence until it is too late when the person has either overdosed or is in withdrawal due to lack of opiates in their system.

Opiate overdose is usually seen when a family member or friend come upon the person lying lifeless not breathing and in turn go to an emergency room. Opiate overdose has many cumulating factors that intertwine causing an actual overdose. Many believe that the rise of opiate overdoses is due to an increase in opiate addicts primarily heroin addicts. However, research shows that the reason for overdose rate increases is due to the following factors; fear of reporting an overdose, tolerance, and polysubstance use. Usually when a person overdoses the majority of the time it is due to injecting heroin. Most of the time it is a fellow heroin addict with them that fails to seek medical attention for that person while they still can, due to the fear that they will get in trouble and face legal consequences. Therefore, they just leave the person where ever they are and take off in fear. The second risk factor increasing the chances of an opiate overdose is tolerance. This is when a person builds, over time the need to use more of the substance at one time to gain the same...
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