Is Methadone Replacing One Addiction with Another?
In 2014 throughout the United States, an estimated 435,000 people used heroin, accounting for those aged 12 and up, per SAMHSA. Within this same SAMHSA study, roughly 2.9 million Americans 26 years old and older were using pain relief drugs for non-medical reasons. In 2015 roughly 2.4 million Americans had a past year opioid use disorder per the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Within that same year, only 10% of the substance abuse treatment facilities had opioid treatment programs. These are opioid treatment programs certified by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
Within these opioid treatment programs, roughly 21 to 25% of patients were receiving methadone. Many within the medical community see methadone as an effective solution along with Buprenorphine and Suboxone. Throughout the United States, new methadone clinics and those prescribing Buprenorphine are opening. The result is replacing one opioid with another requiring patients to now find treatment to stop taking the methadone or buprenorphine. This becomes an endless cycle of addiction and the substitution of other drugs. Moreover, many heroin addicts and opioid addicts struggle to find effective treatment. There are countless treatment programs requiring a certain number of days' sobriety before treatment.
State-operated detox programs are backed up and the average opioid addict cannot stay sober long enough to get help. This leads to opioid addicts with the option of going to a methadone clinic. If they find help, most treatment centers require them to be off the methadone. Unless it is a federally operated opioid treatment program. It is replacing one drug with another, but the problem revolves around ineffective drug rehabilitation solutions. Opioid addiction is difficult to quit and the average opioid addict fails multiple times before they become sober. Drug rehabilitation is still the best answer when an opioid can access the treatment they need.