Methadone is a synthetic opiate derived for use as a treatment for pain relief during World War II. Medical professionals quickly saw the efficacy of methadone as a treatment option for heroin and morphine addiction stemming from battlefield injuries. Methadone is available as a liquid, in tablets, or as an injectable medication. Methadone is typically prescribed by medical professionals for the treatment of heroin and other opiate addiction, based on the longer-lasting effects of the drug as a deterrent to illegal use of narcotics. The effects of methadone treatment as an option for addicted clients has shown to be somewhere between highly-effective and partly-effective, relative to the severity of the addiction presented. .
The nature of addiction is that it is a chronic, relapsing condition, characterized by compulsive drug-seeking behaviors, resulting in neurochemical and molecular changes in the brain (SAMHSA, 2007). Physical dependence, euphoric high, and the profound degree of tolerance creates a self-reinforcing dynamic that results in continued, progressive, chronic drug use despite the presence of increasing negative consequences. .
Methadone falls within the psycho-pharmacology category of opiates, similarly to heroin, .
codeine, morphine, and other drugs within this category. The additional overlay for methadone .
treatment is the addition of amphetamine-like substances that tend to counteract the effects of the opiate addiction. Methadone, as well, as other opiate-based drugs will tend to depress the Central Nervous System, resulting in the slowing of the heart rate and respiratory rate. .
One of the greatest dangers for physiological effects is the tendency of methadone users to continue to self-medicate with street drugs while participating in methadone treatment centers. This double-dosing of opiate-based drugs creates a synergistic effect of the drug, creating .