Consequences of Methadone
Those who are even interested in the problem of drug addiction have already heard the drug methadone for a long time. What is it and what is its role in modern Russia?
Methadone is a potent synthetic opioid group drug. It was obtained by chemical means in 1937 by German scientists as an analgesic. In the early sixties of the last century in the United States, this narcotic analgesic began to be used to treat heroin addiction.
In the Russian Federation, methadone is prohibited.
According to the Federal Drug Control Service of the Russian Federation, there are about 1.5 million heroin addicts in the country. This is quite a serious figure. For this reason, serious passions flared up in Russia around methadone. The idea of methadone addiction treatment programs is actively promoted by Western human rights defenders and WHO.
How does methadone work
Why is methadone dangerous and what is its mechanism of action? Methadone belongs to the group of so-called opiate analgesics. All drugs in this series have analgesic and narcotic effects, cause a strong dependence and addiction. If you look at the historical aspect, the chain of drugs will line up in the following order: opium - morphine - heroin - methadone. Moreover, each subsequent drug has a stronger effect than the previous one. All of them were created with good goals, but later turned into a huge problem and trouble for society.
Methadone, if taken orally, is well absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract (up to 90%), after 30 minutes enters the blood, then its analgesic effect begins. The maximum concentration in the body reaches 4 hours after administration. When subcutaneous injection is detected in the blood after 10 minutes, the peak is observed after 1-2 hours.
With repeated injections, methadone builds up in the tissues. The half-life from the body is 14 hours, but the analgesic effect lasts only 4-5 hours. Narcotic action after taking the drug lasts from 24 to 72 hours. At this time, the addict is experiencing a state of euphoria, lightheartedness and security. Under the influence of methadone, a violation of higher nervous activity occurs - hallucinations, disorientation in space, and visual disturbance.
Will Methadone Save Heroin?
On the territory of the Russian Federation, methadone is not used and is included in the list of narcotic substances prohibited from circulation
However, the drug is widely used in the Netherlands, UK, Thailand; on a small scale - in rehabilitation centers in Canada and Australia. In these countries, the drug is included in a special program to fight against "street" drugs. The homeland of the methadone program is the United States, where substitution therapy has begun to be used in the fight against HIV infection and crime among drug addicts.
In Russia, the methadone program is being actively discussed, but it has not been tested anywhere. WHO and specialized UN committees repeatedly called for the use of substitution therapy. In our country, the program has many opponents. Against the use of methadone and the principle of substitution therapy, the Federal Service for the Control of Drug Trafficking and the country's chief medical officer are speaking. The main argument is that you cannot replace one drug with another, more dangerous one.
It is also alarming that in the West and in the USA the program is being curtailed, despite the positive experience of methadone therapy in Sweden. Radical opponents of the method claim that there are more deaths from overdose of methadone in the United States than from heroin and cocaine combined, and tend to view the imposed opinion as an element of “drag marketing” - advertising and drug promotion. What is so frightened methadone Russian doctors? There are several reasons.
- Treatment of methadone addiction takes longer and is more difficult than addiction to other opiates.
- The drug is taken only inside, the dose is calculated by the doctor. Due to the ability of methadone to accumulate in the body in case of a long dose, the dose is reduced, and the interval between doses is increased. Since the use of methadone does not have such a vivid feeling of “buzz”, as from heroin, drug addicts begin to increase the dose and / or administer the drug intravenously. With a slight excess of the amount of the drug, death from overdose occurs.
- Also, methadone is more dangerous than heroin in the sense that it is easier and cheaper to produce.
- The effects of methadone are as devastating to health as in the case of heroin addiction.
Effects of methadone
Addiction to the drug develops very quickly - after 2-3 injections. Also, soon enough, getting used to methadone. The sensations of euphoria are somewhat blurred, the addict increases the dose.
In relation to heroin, we can say that the “buzz” from methadone is less, the dependence is stronger, and when switching back to heroin, a double dose is required.
When used regularly, the following effects of methadone occur:
- attacks of choking, pulmonary edema;
- hepatitis, cirrhosis of the liver;
- renal failure;
- cardiac abnormalities - palpitations, angina pectoris, myocardial infarction;
- impotence and sterility.
In case of cancellation, withdrawal symptoms occur. Methadone breakdowns last for a month, which is another drawback compared to heroin (for heroin addiction - about a week). Signs of a violation of the activity of almost all organs and systems develop:
- confused consciousness;
- pains in the joints and muscles;
- nausea, vomiting;
- Pain in the eyes.
Signs of overdose
An overdose of methadone can occur if the dose is accidentally exceeded, mixed with other drugs, the first drug intake, or a decrease in body resistance. For the appearance of negative reactions enough 30-50 mg of the drug. It is very easy to exceed the dose, and up to 90% of overdose cases are fatal.
Signs of methadone overdose:
- nausea, vomiting, foam from the mouth;
- muscle cramps;
- constriction of the pupils;
- cold sweat;
- severe pale skin and weak pulse;
- difficulty urinating;
- loss of consciousness;
- cardiac and respiratory arrest.
First Aid for overdose
In case of methadone poisoning, the addict is not able to help himself. Nearby people should take the following steps to save lives.
- The victim should be awakened using a loud voice, rub his ears if necessary, press the pain point under his nose.
- Immediately call an ambulance, as in most cases, overdose with methadone ends in coma and death.
- If you lose consciousness, put the victim on the right side, the head is on the bent arm, the left leg is bent at the knee. Pull the lower jaw forward to the level of the upper one, pull out the tongue, clear the mouth of vomit.
- An opiate antagonist is the naloxone drug. It is sold in pharmacies by prescription or distributed by organizations that help drug addicts. In case of loss of consciousness, naloxone should be injected intramuscularly in a dose of 1–2 ml. Valid in 1–3 minutes, the effect is observed 30–60 minutes. If there is no effect, repeat the injection at the same dose in 7–10 minutes. In case of overdose with methadone, enter “Naloxone” again 30 minutes after the affected injection.
- If a person does not breathe - make artificial respiration.
- If there is no pulse, start an indirect heart massage.
Resuscitation should be carried out before the arrival of the ambulance brigade. Be sure to tell the doctors what the victim took and what measures were taken to provide first aid.
Treatment of methadone addiction
How to get rid of methadone addiction? At home it is almost impossible. The clinic takes a number of measures:
- drug therapy;
- psychological rehabilitation;
- treatment control.
Treatment for methadone requires a long time - from 8 to 12 months.
The drug can be detected in the blood, urine, hair and nails. Therefore, if you are suspicious of a loved one, take steps to identify the addiction. The sooner treatment is started, the higher the chances of success.
Let's sum up. Methadone is a dangerous synthetic opiate drug. In Russia, it is banned, but is distributed in the "black" market. An overdose of methadone often ends in death, and addiction treatment takes a long time — about a year.