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HISTORY OF METHADONE
- Morphine was the predominant painkiller used in Germany, and most of the world, in the 1930’s for injuries and for wounds.
- Morphine is made using imported raw opium.
- Since it appeared that a war was coming, the German government realized that it would need supplies of painkillers and that their access to raw opium might be interrupted, and thus encouraged the development of alternative painkiller drugs.
- Methadone was developed in the late 1930’s in Germany by the I.G. Farben company.
- Methadone is an opioid, a synthetic product that activates the same receptors as morphine.
- Methadone is almost as effective if taken orally as if injected.
- Named Amidon, methadone was used during World War II but not as much as anticipated.
- The German patents on medical drugs were voided at the end of World War II.
- In 1947, Dolophine, the trade name for methadone, was released in the United States as a pain reliever.
- Soon it just became known as methadone.
- In the 1960’s, heroin use was growing.
- Initially as a marketing plan to sell it, methadone, a “legal” drug, was promoted as a replacement for heroin, an illegal drug.
- Because methadone was taken orally and not intravenously or by snorting, it was not only legal but also less likely to cause other diseases and conditions.
- Heroin’s half-life (the time it takes for half of a drug taken to be eliminated from the body) was between three to six hours.
- This meant that a heroin user was always working to ensure that he or she could get their next dose or they would go into a withdrawal that was too painful to endure.
- This meant that most heroin users were unable to hold legal jobs—they were forced to get money for heroin in ways that would not interfere with their heroin trap.
- In addition, for most long-term heroin users, their physical and mental health deteriorated.
- Longer-term heroin users are:
- Unable to concentrate but for short periods of time;
- Less and less healthy;
- Experiencing fast weight loss;
- Less and less concerned with society’s attitudes toward morals and ethics;
- Desperately driven to do anything to obtain heroin even if it involves doing things that he or she would never have considered prior to their addiction to heroin;
- Destined to end up either in jail or in an early grave.
- The heroin user has traded one addiction for another;
- Methadone is more difficult from which to withdraw than heroin;
- Methadone users develop a tolerance and often find themselves increasing their daily dose;
- This increase in the daily dose of methadone is aided by the fact that it costs as much for 20 milligrams of methadone as for 200 milligrams;
- Logically, a former drug addict will try to solve any problems in life with more drugs and this way of handling problems is often encouraged by the methadone clinic staff;
- As people get on higher and higher doses of methadone, this leads to a point where they are trapped and believe that they can never get off methadone;
- Because the methadone clinic only makes money when they have methadone users, there is no incentive to help people reduce their doses of methadone until they are free of methadone;
- The methadone user is trapped and must go to the clinic every morning or they will go into painful withdrawal—here is why;
- Society has continued to treat these people as people who don’t deserve to be free of drugs and their harmful effects but are happy to keep them addicted forever if they no longer commit crimes;
- Methadone used for pain management often has deadly consequences.
If you want to learn more about what it is like to be a “methadone addict”, read the Methadone Prison.
THERE IS HOPE FOR HIGH DOSE METHADONE USERS
“It was more comfortable than I ever could have imagined. All the counselors and nursing staff were great.”
– Client Service Manger
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