Editor’s Note: Today brings the second in our guest series by Grey Ryder of aboutmethadone.org. His first piece gave a brief overview of methadone’s history, with an eye to its bad reputation among the public at large. Today: a look at the drug’s beneficent clinical and social effects.
The tools for treating opiate addiction are sparse. The front line treatments are rehab and twelve step groups. Most of the pharmacological treatments are still in their experimental stages, and there don’t appear to be any silver bullets on the horizon. However, there is one treatment that offers real hope. Over the past fifty years, researchers studying methadone have determined that it is one of the most effective treatments for drug addiction ever created. While it is a far cry from a cure-all – some patients don’t respond to it at all, and some continue using drugs during treatment– it is a godsend for many addicts.
Defining success is of critical importance when assessing any treatment’s effectiveness. The simplistic view looks at whether a treatment stops an addict from using their drug of choice. This absolutist approach is problematic for a number of reasons.