Methadone addiction in Pennsylvania is an ongoing problem that continues alongside the opioid epidemic. Despite its use to reduce the prevalence of opioid addiction, some find themselves addicted to methadone instead. How widespread is the problem and what can be done to help?
Thankfully, treatment programs for methadone addiction in Pennsylvania are available. Addiction treatment facilities provide people with a pathway from abuse to long-term recovery. It might feel like addiction is a dead-end road but drug rehab in Pennsylvania is an excellent resource that helps people escape the cycle.
What is Methadone?
Methadone is a prescription medication used as part of medication-assisted treatment to treat opioid use disorder. It’s classified as an opioid itself and is a Schedule II medication with the Drug Enforcement Administration. It is a long-acting full opioid agonist, meaning it activates opioid receptors in the brain.
Methadone causes effects similar to other opioids like heroin or prescription painkillers. These equivalent effects make it useful as a treatment for opioid addiction. It relieves opioid withdrawal symptoms, reduces the intensity of drug cravings, and blocks the effects of other opioids. Methadone is an effective treatment solution when taken under supervision and as prescribed.
The medication should only be taken as directed by a medical professional as part of an approved treatment plan. Methadone is still a highly addictive substance despite its approved medical uses. Taking it in any way other than it’s prescribed puts users at risk of developing methadone addiction.
What Makes Methadone So Addictive?
Methadone is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) but it’s still an opioid medication. It has the same effects as prescription painkillers, morphine, heroin, and any other opioid drugs. Methadone fully activates opioid receptors which makes it just as powerful and addictive as any other opioid.
When taken as prescribed, the effects of methadone are mild to moderate. It provides feelings of calmness, reduces the severity of withdrawals, and relieves drug cravings. But taking more than prescribed and abusing methadone causes the same effects as opioids. This makes it a popular target for abuse and often results in methadone addiction.
Methadone addiction is dangerous because it usually occurs in people with previous addiction issues. Addiction treatment can help but not if the person abuses the medication prescribed to help them. Still, addiction treatment is one of the only solutions for people battling methadone addiction.
Opioid Addiction Statistics in Pennsylvania
Methadone is a beneficial medication when used as prescribed. It’s intended for safe and supervised use to put a dent in the ongoing opioid crisis. Studies show that opioid addiction shot up over the past decade and still shows little to no signs of slowing down.
- Doctors wrote 49.9 opioid prescriptions for every 100 adults in Pennsylvania in 2018
- 65% of drug overdose deaths in Pennsylvania (2,866 fatalities) in 2018 involved opioids
- 9.7 million people reported misusing prescription painkillers in 2019
- 341,000 people reported heroin misuse in 2019
- 404,000 people misused both prescription painkillers and heroin in the same year
- 1.6 million people had an opioid use disorder in 2019
Medical professionals haven’t stopped looking for solutions to the alarming impact of opioids in Pennsylvania. Methadone can be a helpful tool when used as part of an opioid addiction treatment program. If it’s abused, though, the person only puts themselves at greater risk of ongoing drug addiction.
Pennsylvania Drug Rehab Options for Methadone Addiction
There are different drug rehab options for methadone addiction in Pennsylvania. Treatment is not a one-size-fits-all solution and various levels of care are available. Each level of addiction treatment offers assistance to anyone trying to stop using drugs.
Drug detox is oftentimes the first step for methadone addiction treatment. Drug addiction causes physical dependence and leads to withdrawal symptoms when trying to quit. Detox provides medications that relieve symptoms and reduce cravings to ease the process.
Inpatient rehab is a residential program that usually follows a medical drug detox. It consists of programs and activities during the day geared toward building a strong foundation of recovery. These include individual and group therapy as well as experiential therapy, family groups, and other treatment approaches.
Outpatient Rehab Programs
Some people aren’t able to commit to a full-time treatment program. Outpatient rehab offers a treatment solution for people with existing responsibilities like school, work, or a family. There are three different types of outpatient treatment: partial hospitalization programs, intensive outpatient programs, and outpatient therapy.
Partial Hospitalization Programs
Partial hospitalization programs offer full-time day treatment without the residential component. Patients attend treatment each day of the week while living either at home or at a sober living house.
Intensive Outpatient Programs
Intensive outpatient programs allow people to balance addiction treatment with their daily responsibilities. IOP meets about 3 hours each day on 3 to 5 days of the week. Some facilities offer both daytime and evening programs which make treatment available for more people.
Outpatient therapy typically serves as an aftercare solution for patients who complete an inpatient or outpatient rehab program. It consists of individual therapy appointments, usually once per week. Outpatient therapy provides ongoing support as a person reintegrates into their daily life.
Sober Living Homes
Sober living homes aren’t a form of addiction treatment but act as a supplement to the process. They offer a sober, recovery-focused space for people either in outpatient treatment or who recently completed treatment.