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Some drugs are helpful; others are dangerous. But oftentimes, drugs can be both of those things depending on how you use them.
Narcotics, for example, are beneficial because they help patients who are struggling with moderate to severe pain. But they are also known for their addictive properties. So if narcotics are actually prescribed for a medical purpose. Only recreational users experience the consequences of abusing these drugs.
On this article, we will be talking about methadone: a drug that is generally considered to be safe, but one that also has its own set of risks. What is it exactly? How does it work? Is it a narcotic? Here’s everything you need to know.
What is Methadone: Is it a Narcotic?
Methadone is a medication that is used to relieve severe pain. But it is more frequently used to help those who are addicted to opiate drugs such as morphine, hydrocodone, fentanyl, and oxycodone. What’s interesting is that this drug itself is a narcotic.
Turns out, one of the best ways to combat narcotic addiction is to use a controlled amount of a different narcotic.
What is a Narcotic?
There’s a bit of a stigma associated with the word “narcotic”. This is perhaps due to the fact that the term is used in law enforcement to refer to any illegal drug, no matter what kind of substance it is.
But in the medical industry, only opiates and opioids are technically classified as narcotics. Opiates are natural derivatives of the opium poppy plant while opioids are the synthetic and semi-synthetic derivatives.
Both types of substances are prescribed to relieve pain because they attach to the opioid receptors in the brain, blocking our ability to feel pain.
Unfortunately, some people abuse narcotics because of the euphoric sensation that they provide, alongside the pain-relieving benefits.
How Does Methadone Work?
Methadone has analgesic and pain relieving properties similar to morphine because it is also a narcotic. But the difference is that methadone is much less likely to produce a high. It means it is also less likely to be abused by recreational users. It takes a lot of this drug to get high.
And that’s the beauty of methadone: once taken, it binds to the same receptors in the brain that opioids normally attach to. This tricks the brain into thinking that the person has already taken their usual drug. The brain is “satisfied” but methadone doesn’t actually produce a high.
The person doesn’t get the euphoric benefits of taking opioids, giving them the chance to finally quit the drug. But this doesn’t work overnight. Addiction is a tough thing to deal with, and taking methadone once won’t be enough.
In fact, it works best as a part of a comprehensive addiction treatment program. To get the best results, the person should still go through counseling and other behavioral therapy techniques.
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Methadone only serves to reduce the person’s opioid intake as part of the medical detox process. The person may still go through withdrawal. But with proper medical assistance, the patient should be able to recover safely.
Not to mention the fact that methadone has its own risks and side effects. The drug is considered safe, but it can still be abused. So make sure you follow your doctor’s prescription—do not take large doses of this drug.
But just like many other drugs out there, methadone is helpful if used correctly. Look for an addiction treatment facility near you today and get started on the road to recovery.