Methadone Treatment

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As a result, there have been many advances and research into the field of psychopharmacology. One of the widely used pharmaceutical treatments on people suffering from heroin addiction is a drug known as methadone. Heroin is a synthetic version of morphine. The opium poppy plant is the base from which it is synthesized. The compound of Heroin was first synthesized in 1874. After it was synthesized, it was marketed as a non-addictive morphine substitute and often used as a cough suppressant. It was originally marketed by Bayer. After reformation in the government in regards to drug administration and regulation, the Harrison Narcotics Tax Act was passed in 1914 which moved this drug for only recreational use. Eventually, it was moved to a Schedule I drug and made illegal. Characteristics of Schedule I drugs include the fact that there is a high likelihood of abuse and they provide very little medicinal purpose. The pharmacology of heroin is what makes it a very addictive substance. The typical paths of administration are either through snorting or through intravenous injection. The reason that heroin has such a quick effect on the body is because it is highly lipid soluble. It binds to specific opioid receptors which induce an effect of euphoria for the user. This is caused by an excess in the secretion of dopamine and the occupation of dopamine in these opioid receptors. These receptors are located throughout the body, but in particular in the brain and spinal cord. Drug dependence occurs when people have used heroin for such a long period of time that their body has been chemically changed and they can no longer function without the drug. As a result, the withdrawal symptoms can be extremely horrible and can include: depression, anxiety, nausea, diarrhea, insomnia, etc. One of the many commonly reported adverse side effects is the feeling of crawling on the skin, which leads to lesions and scars to form from users obsessive scratching. Fatality from withdrawal is not commonly observed with this type of addiction (US Department of, 2005). One of the most commonly used drugs in the treatment of heroin addiction is Methadone. It was first synthesized in 1937 in Germany. It works by occupying the opioid receptors in the body which is able to block the effects of dopamine in the body. This opioid agonist is also a glutamate inhibitor which helps prevent the excitatory action in the central nervous system. This allows the user to come off the heroin addiction much easier. The medication is taken orally once a day and typically has an effect of between 24 and 36 hours. While methadone moves to take the place of heroin in the addiction, it is able to block many of the more harmful effects of the addiction, but does not provide that high associated with heroin. The addiction, however, becomes the same with methadone, but can sometimes take more time to come off of (Broekhuysen, 2000). Even though it has been shown that methadone is an important component in the recovery process, there are many critics who believe that this is merely substituting one addiction for another. It is because there is large criticism regarding whether the addiction is being treated as a medical addiction. Like the idea of people selling prescription drugs illegally, many critics feel that if methadone is made too widely used, then it will become an abused drug in the trafficking industry due to