The Government Should Get Involved With The

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The Government Should Get Involved With The Cure To Opiate Addiction Through The Use Of The Methadone Program In Order To Reduce Crime, Death, Disease, And Drug Use. Essay, Research Paper Methadone, a long-acting synthetic narcotic analgesic, was first used in the maintenance treatment of drug addiction in the mid-1960s by Drs. Vincent Dole and Marie Nyswander of Rockefeller University. There are now 115,000 methadone maintenance patients in the United States, 40,000 of whom are in New York State and about half that many are in California. Methadone is widely employed throughout the world, and is the most effective known treatment for heroin addiction. The goal of methadone maintenance treatment (MMT) is to reduce illegal heroin use and the crime, death, and disease

associated with heroin addiction. Methadone can be used to detoxify heroin addicts, but most heroin addicts who detox?using methadone or any other method?return to heroin use. Therefore, the goal of MMT is to reduce and even eliminate heroin use among addicts by stabilizing them on methadone for as long as is necessary to help them avoid returning to previous patterns of drug use. The benefits of MMT have been established by hundreds of scientific studies, and there are almost no negative health consequences of long-term methadone treatment, even when it continues for twenty or thirty years. Methadone maintenance treatment came into being in an unexpected way. By 1963,doctors and public health workers had concluded what objective observers and users alike had known for decades:

that there was no treatment known which could cure long term opiate (heroin, morphine, opium etc.) addicts. In fact, there wasn’t even any treatment that could honestly claim to be more successful than no treatment at all! Every imaginable option had been tried, from lobotomies and insulin shock, to psychoanalysis and the threat of lifetime imprisonment. Yet in every case the result was the same: between 70 and 90 percent of these chronic addicts would return to opiates within a short time. In light of such statistics a number of prestigious panels examined the problem and by 1963 had come to the same conclusion: it was time to re-examine nearly fifty years of prohibition and consider allowing doctors to prescribe addicts the opiates they needed.

(http://www.methadone.org/origin.html) At Rockefeller University in New York City, Dr. Vincent Dole, an expert in metabolic disorders and a psychiatrist by the name of Dr. Marie Nyswander, who’d worked at the U.S. Public Health Hospital/Prison for addicts in Lexington, Kentucky, began experiments with several chronic heroin addicts. In attempting to determine if addicts could be maintained on stable doses of pharmaceutical opiates. The volunteers were given access to the spectrum of opiates available to medical practitioners. The researchers tried everything from morphine to dilaudid, but found that it was extremely difficult to stabilize the subjects. The addicts were either over sedated or in mild withdrawal most of the time, and spent their days either “on the nod”,

waiting for their next shot, or comparing the relative merits of the drugs used. Reluctantly, Dr. Dole and Dr. Nyswander concluded that the experiment had been a failure, and decided to “detox” the addicts and release them from the hospital. To accomplish the withdrawal, they turned to a synthetic narcotic called methadone. Methadone had first been synthesized by the Germans during World War Two, and after the war it was used to withdraw addicts at Lexington. It had the advantage of being cheap, significantly orally active, and longer lasting than opiates like morphine. For the researchers at Rockefeller, it seemed merely a convenient and humane means of ending the experiment with maintenance. As the addict volunteers had been built up to large doses of narcotics by street