Methadone, like Heroine and Morphine, is an opioid substance that was synthesized during the second world war. Morphine, originally, was used for the treatment of severe pain and pain relief, but is now best known for its use in the treatment of those recovering from opioid addiction One of the factors that makes Methadone so enticing for those undergoing a detoxification process is that a single Methadone treatment can last for many hours, up to 24 hours, which allows a single treatment per day for recovering addicts. This is in contrast to Heroin which has a half-life of 30 minutes which can result in rapid cycling as the user seeks intense highs and refuge from steep comedowns. When Methadone is administered, it is typically in the form of a liquid , although tablets are less commonly prescribed.
Methadone is used in the Heroin detoxification process by virtue of the fact that opiate substances are so dependency building that to quit cold turkey could cause almost life threatening withdrawal. Thus, it was reasoned, a substance like methadone can bridge the gap between addiction and sobriety for recovering opiate users as they are weaned off methadone. That is not to say that Methadone is not without risk itself.
The drug is an opiate like heroin and carries much of the same potential for addiction all the same. It is therefore important that Methadone clinics effectively screen patients so that only those with genuine needs and a genuine desire to recover enter the programs. Like any other opioid substance, Methadone results in respiratory depression, and this stresses the importance that medical professionals calibrate the patient’s tolerance very carefully lest they take a dosage that is too high.