Methadone—the Great American Failure
When I first went to the methadone clinic, I met the intake coordinator, and he asked me “why did you decide to save your life?”
Later I would learn that this experience would not come close to saving my life but rather put me closer to death.
The beginning of every day was super depressing I would wake up at 6 am and be at the clinic by 7 am to wait in a massive line for up to an hour. Right after that, I would have to rush off to work. After a while I felt like a slave to the clinic, I couldn't travel, I couldn't sleep in, I couldn't do anything between 6 and 8 am every day. On top of this every morning I had to face drug dealers that would stand outside the clinic trying to pick up new “customers”.
This went on for three years, and it took its toll on me. I developed a bald spot on the back of my head and two bald spots in my facial hair. I lost all my back teeth and had to get seven cavities filled up front. I gained a lot of weight too. Every day was a risk because I would get high every time I took it and driving to work after was like rolling the dice on whether I would get in a wreck or not from "nodding off" at the wheel.
When I finally tried to get off, I didn't sleep for 3 to 4 weeks. It was the worst withdrawals of my life, and this was far from my only withdrawals. This is all I really got out of it, while I had to spend thousands of dollars on methadone and then thousands more to repair the damage it had done to my teeth."
—Luke Former Addict (Last Name Omitted to Protect Privacy)
The number of overdose deaths from opiates has been on a steady rise for nearly the past decade. With more and more people becoming addicted each day, both people and government agencies are scrambling for an easy fix.
Unfortunately, some of the quick fixes come with some severe consequences. The drug Methadone is one that is seen as a quick fix. The only problem is that this drug comes with some serious risk.
According to the CDC Methadone is responsible for 5,000 overdose deaths a year. This fact is also just one of the horrifying side effects the drug can have when used long term. Which is standard practice amongst many medical professionals that deal with addiction.
Even taking the drug only once can cause:
- Dry mouth
- Intestinal distress
However, just one dose has the potential to cause more severe side effects such as:
- Heart Beat Irregularity
- Overdose and Death
In addition to this those who use methadone long term have reported:
- Bone and Teeth damage or weakness
- Long-term intestinal damage
- Hair loss
as well as many other horrible effects like the ones above.
It may be hard to measure help vs. harm sometimes when talking about medications, but with Methadone it seems to be pretty clear. Methadone kills many a year as well as causing some long-term damage to those that survive taking it. I am not a fan of drug replacement treatment approaches. However, even among those like suboxone, Methadone is a terrible option. Please get educated before you decide what to do about your loved one’s addiction or chronic pain.