Medical Heroin May Have Greater Benefits than Methadone

Methadone has been the standard form of sober living treatment for opiate addiction for over 30 years. However, research shows that it does not work for 15-25% of those recovering from an opiate addiction.

Having an addiction to opiates can mean having a history with heroin or with prescription painkillers. Both are opiates. In fact, some who abuse prescription pain pills first often turn to heroin because it costs less and doesn’t require a prescription. And for many years, there was an epidemic of teens and young adults who were abusing and overdosing on opiates. It was an epidemic that swept the nation in 2010 through 2014.

For anyone who managed to end their addiction to opiates, they were commonly placed on a medication assisted treatment plan. In fact, less than 25% of people who quit the use of opiates can remain sober for a full year. For this reason, physicians and substance abuse treatment centers have used medication-assisted treatment options such as methadone, naltrexone, and suboxone to treat opiate addiction. These are common treatment choices for opiate addicts because one cannot simply walk away from that addiction. The psychological and physical dependence is so strong that it requires a slow weaning off the drug.

Methadone is has been the most common choice for opiate addiction treatment. It is legally only available from federally-regulated clinics for regular use in order to slowly wean an individual off the opiate addiction. When taken properly, medication-assisted treatment with methadone suppresses opiate withdrawal and reduces cravings.

However, recent research indicates that the use of medical heroin might be a better way to medically treat those who are recovering from an opiate addiction. The main ingredient in heroin is diacetylmorphine and it has shown to be more effective and less costly than methadone for treating opiate addiction. Additional research shows that those using medical heroin tend to stay in treatment longer, which in turn, reduces the costs related to crime.

Also, research also shows that those who are on medical heroin tend to gain 7.92 quality years of their life while those on methadone tend to gain 7.46 quality years. Meanwhile, the societal costs related to methadone treatment adds up to $1.14 million, while the societal costs for those on medical heroin averages $1.10 million.

Whether you’re using methadone, medical heroin, or another medical-assisted treatment form, the best combination of treatment includes medication, such as those described in this article, as well as well as therapy. Therapy can help address the behavioral and psychological issues that contributed to the illness of addiction. Furthermore, long lasting sobriety includes creating a new lifestyle in which different daily choices are made, creating a strong support system, and examining the thoughts and behaviors that might be contributing to the cycle of addiction.

There are some clear advantages to using medical heroin as a treatment choice. However, the immediate cost of medical heroin is greater than methadone. If you’re in treatment for opiate addiction or if you know you need to be, discuss treatment options with your doctor or mental health provider.


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