A government report from Scotland shows that more than two thirds of all people using methadone treatment are still using other drugs as well as methadone 3 months after they started treatment.
While methadone was initially conceived as a way to wean people off of heroin, the dosage is then supposed to be tapered down until users are drug free. Unfortunately, this is not the case as many patients simply add methadone to the list of drugs they are taking. Furthermore, the report indicates that the government has little idea how effective methadone actually is in helping people break their drug habit.
What information the report did contain shows that addicts treated with methadone still struggled to hold a job and maintain relationships. People who had been in methadone treatment were actually less likely to have a job after 3 months of treatment than when they first started methadone.
In contrast, residential treatment centres have a much higher success rate. Unfortunately, only about 1% of addicts were able to gain treatment in a residential rehab or supported accommodation. This means the £36 million pounds a year used to provide methadone may simply be a waste of money.
Currently, there are about around 22,224 people being treated with methadone in Scotland. That number has been rising since 2004. If the trends in the report continue, this number will continue to grow, incurring more treatment costs without actually helping many addicts.
A more manageable solution would be to use Subutex or another detox drug with a blocker rather than methadone. These drugs are much more effective at treating addiction for several reasons. First of all, they allow a patient to reduce their dosage much more rapidly. This lets addicts feels as though they are progressing in their fight against addiction. Newer treatments also have a much shorter half-life when compared to methadone. This means they stay in your system for a much shorter period of time. Finally, because methadone must be taken for a longer period of time, it is harder to monitor.
It is all too common for medical professionals to simply use methadone as a catch all or harm reduction technique. This means the people prescribed methadone may not be ready to get clean. Often they are coerced into taking the drug in hopes that it will at least get them off heroin. The unfortunate reality is that while this works for some people, many more simply add methadone to the list of drugs they abuse.