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Methadone Treatment In Canada

Methadone is a synthetic opiate that is used to help treat people with opiate dependency. Chemically, this drug is not like heroin or morphine, but it does act on the opiate receptors of the brain causing similar effects to that of other opiates. The most common way of using methadone is at a methadone clinic, and is typically taken orally in liquid or pill form. Methadone can also be purchased illegally on the streets and can become very addictive. It can cause severe withdrawal symptoms and make it difficult to detox from.

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If you are looking to get on methadone or calling for a loved one who wants to get on methadone maintenance. Drug Rehab Services will not refer you to a methadone clinic. The whole purpose of methadone was to switch people from heroin or opiates to methadone and then weaned them off of the methadone so they can be drug free. In reality, this is not what is happening. People are put on methadone and then they get increased to really high dosage (we have seen up to 400mgs a day) and then people call us to get off of it. In Canada, there are no facilities that takes people off of high dosage of methadone. We have to refer people to the U.S where they have specialized clinics to get people safely off of it.

We have had people calling us on long term methadone maintenance who does not have a life anymore. It is a strong pain killer so it does not just kill the physical pain but also the emotions. People are numbed emotionally so they feel like robots. And that is why it is important to help them by referring them to a good drug rehab center where they can safely get off the drug.

Methadone information

Methadone which is formally known as Dolophine is a powerful narcotic which is mainly used in cancer patients to relieve pain. This drug effects can cause drowsiness, dizzy or light headed, nausea, and vomiting.  Individuals who abuse methadone risk becoming tolerant of and physically dependent on the drug.

Methadone is not an innocent substance. This drug has been the fault of many deaths and is not safe. It is increasingly being abused by recreational drug users and is causing an alarming increase in overdoses and deaths, federal and state officials say. This has floored drug experts.  In some instances, individuals who abuse other narcotics (such as heroin or OxyContin) turn to methadone because of its increasing availability.

Methadone, however, does not produce the euphoric rush associated with those other drugs; thus, these users often consume dangerously large quantities of methadone in a vain attempt to attain the desired effect.

Methadone overdoses are associated with severe respiratory depression, decreases in heart rate and blood pressure, coma, and death. The Drug Abuse Warning Network reports that methadone was involved in 10,725 emergency department visits in 2001--a 37 percent increase from the previous year. In Florida methadone-related deaths jumped from 209 in 2000 to 357 in 2001.

Here we have some statistics from the Centers for Disease Control:

  • The number of all poisoning deaths (death from methadone is considered being poisoned) increased 54 percent 72 percent from 1999 to 2004.
  • The number of poisoning deaths involving methadone increased 390 percent.
  • The number methadone related poisoning deaths were 4 percent of all poisoning related deaths in 1999, and by 2004 they measured 13 percent.
  • Between 2003 and 2004, all poisoning deaths increased 6 percent, while methadone related poisoning deaths increased 29 percent.
  • Between 73 and 79 percent of methadone related poisoning deaths were unintentional. Had they done a methadone detox program earlier, they might still be alive today.

By 2006, the situation had become so severe the Food and Drug Administration issued a public health warning about methadone. Here’s what it said:

  • Patients should abuse the recommended dosage and take methadone exactly as prescribed by the physician or health care provider. Greater doses can slow or stop breathing and can be fatal.
  • Patients taking methadone should not start or stop taking other medications or dietary supplements without consulting their health care provider. Taking other medications or dietary supplements may reduce pain relief. They may also cause a toxic build-up of methadone.
  • Health risk indications: difficulty breathing, extreme fatigue or sleepiness, blurred vision, inability to think, talk or walk normally, feeling faint, dizzy or confused. If these signs occur, patients should seek immediate medical help.

Many people believe that because methadone is prescribed by a doctor, it is safe. Statistics tell us otherwise. Whether you are taking methadone as treatment for heroin addiction or for pain (majority of prescriptions are now a days) and you do not think you have a methadone addiction, you might want to consider some options. Methadone detox is not just for the highly addicted, it is for the medicated patients as well. We want to ensure that you have zero percent of this toxin in your system when you leave our facility.

In Canada, there are only 7 % of the residential treatments that will accept people whom are on methadone. For many years methadone has been a controversial solution to the drug addicts.

What is Methadone Addiction?

Methadone addiction is a major problem in Canada, both because of medical and recreational use. In some drug rehab centers, methadone is used to treat drug addiction but due to its addictive nature, this sort of treatment often leads to methadone addiction. So the methadone epidemic in Canada is two-folded. Some people just plain abuse it and become addicted, and others are taking it for medical reasons and develop a methadone addiction. In 2003, a survey was made all over Canada with people between 14 and 23 years old, and it reported that 33 % had abused methadone in a recreational context. Which also means that many of them could be struggling with methadone addiction.

In 1999, in Vancouver, just in one part of the city, there were over 170 patients on methadone, most of them men. Nowadays, there are almost 3,000 patients located in Vancouver that are on methadone treatment. And a lot of pharmacies actually can dispense methadone to people who have a prescription. These kinds of numbers are very alarming because a majority of them will develop an addiction to methadone, to a lesser or greater degree.

Now for the province of Quebec, there are also a lot of people dealing with methadone addiction. Just to give you an idea of how many are struggling with methadone addiction, in 2002, there were 1,795 people that were on methadone in Quebec. In the city of Montreal, a survey was done with young people living on the streets and 8 % of them reported having taken methadone at some point in their lives.

Methadone used to treat drug addiction will more often than not create a strong physical addiction. That is solving a drug problem by creating another one. When a person becomes addicted to methadone, there are various symptoms, such as drowsiness, constipation. When one actually abuses methadone frequently, it can get dangerous when things such as respiratory problems happen.

Information On Methadone Detox In Canada

There are many adverse side effects from taking methadone such as:

  • Constipation
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Low blood pressure
  • Headache
  • Vomiting
  • Cardiac arrhythmia
  • Insomnia
  • Seizures
  • Weight gain
  • Dry mouth
  • Euphoria

Methadone Detox

Drug Rehab Services will assist you in finding help through a methadone detox center. Methadone addiction is an increasing problem in our society today. In Canada, the numbers of treatment facilities for methadone detoxification are non-existent.

After a provincial investigation in Canada with different detox facilities and hospitals, it was found that they were neither equipped nor required to kick people off methadone. When asked, a hospital representative replied that they did not take people off methadone, but were putting them on it.

However, there is a safe, comfortable way to detox off of opiates, and methadone without the side effects.

We believe that freedom from drugs should include no substitution whatsoever. We can provide you with private detox centers that can take someone off of even high dosages of methadone in a safe way. After completing the methadone detoxification, it is advised that you speak with your counselor about locating a drug rehab to prevent possible relapse.

Methadone Information

Methadone was never intended as a cure to opiate addiction; it was simply meant for maintenance without the high. Methadone is the only drug known to man, that if you miss your daily dose - you may die.

According to the National Center for Health Services, in 2004 methadone contributed to close to 4000 deaths, and approximately 82% of those deaths were listed as accidental. The majority was because of mixing methadone with other drugs or medications. This is why people on methadone need to go to a methadone detox to get help.

Methadone Tolerance and Withdrawal Symptoms

As with other opioid medications, dependence and tolerance usually develop with repeated doses of methadone. Tolerance to the different physiological side effects of the medication varies. Tolerance to analgesia normally occurs during the first few weeks of use; whereas with respiratory sedation, depression, and nausea, it is seen within approximately 5-7 days.

The physiological effects vary, but a tolerance can be built to methadone within a two-week period. When a person is attempting to detox off of methadone, they will experience some of the following withdrawal symptoms:


Physical symptoms can include:

  • Lightheartedness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Tremors
  • Aches and pains

Psychological symptoms can include:

  • Suicidal ideation
  • Depression
  • Delirium
  • Hallucinations

Methadone withdrawal can last for quite a long period of time, even for several weeks. This is what makes the detox process so difficult for people wanting to get off of methadone. In most cases, the individual will have to attend a medical detox to assist in withdrawing from methadone. Once done with the methadone detoxification, it is important to attend a drug rehab center so as to not get back into their methadone addiction.

Methadone Treatment

In Canada, there is definitely a problem with methadone and its abuse and addiction. There has been an increase of methadone use as even some of the rehab centers use methadone to treat addiction to hard drug. In 2002, there were almost 2,000 people undergoing methadone treatment in the province of Quebec alone. A survey done in Montreal city showed that eight percent of the young population had at least taken methadone once in their lives.

Methadone is an opioid, and is both used as an analgesic and an anti-addictive. It is also used as a drug that helps with chronic pains. It is very effective and of very low cost compared to some other substances. This makes it a lot easier for people to abuse it. It can easily create a physical dependence and tolerance so it is to be avoid if possible. Methadone was first tested in the 1940s in Germany, but now it is used internationally and a lot of people have become addicted to it. Some of those people might need to go to a drug rehab in order to handle their methadone addiction.

CONTRIBUTORS TO THIS ARTICLE


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Marcel Gemme

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Marcel Gemme has been helping people struggling with addiction for over 19 years. He first started as an intake counselor for a drug rehabilitation center in 2000. During his 5 years as an intake counselor, he helped many addicts get the treatment they needed. He also dealt with the families and friends of those people; he saw first-hand how much strain addiction puts on a family and how it can tear relationships apart. With drug and alcohol problems constantly on the rise in the United States and Canada, he decided to use the Internet as a way to educate and help many more people in both those countries. This was 15 years ago. Since then, Marcel has built two of the largest websites in the U.S. and Canada which reach and help millions of people each year. He is an author and a leader in the field of drug and alcohol addiction. His main focus is threefold: education, prevention and rehabilitation. To this day, he still strives to be at the forefront of technology in order to help more and more people.

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