Is Methadone a Synthetic Opiate?
If you’re researching methadone as a potential treatment for your opiate addiction, you might be surprised to learn that it’s also a type of opiate. However, compared to other common opiates, methadone is what’s known as a synthetic opiate.
This difference is what makes methadone one of the most effective addiction treatment drugs on the market.
What Is a Synthetic Opiate?
A synthetic opiate is a type of drug that is created in a laboratory rather than being derived from natural substances.
While these drugs may have a different chemical makeup from natural drugs, they are formulated to produce the same effects.
For example, natural opiates work by attaching to the opioid receptors in the brain, triggering a euphoric feeling. Synthetic opiates also mimic this process, but are generally much stronger than their natural counterparts.
For example, fentanyl, a synthetic opiate, has about 50 to 100 times the potency of morphine, a naturally-occurring opiate.
What Are Naturally-Occurring Opiates?
Naturally-occurring opiates, on the other hand, are extracted from opium poppy plants. This natural formula also interferes with your body’s opioid receptors, but is not quite as potent.
Another type of naturally-occurring opiates are semi-synthetic drugs. These drugs are created using extracts derived from a poppy plant but are then manipulated in a lab for more potency. One example of this is heroin.
What Are the Dangers of Synthetic Opiates?
Because synthetic opioids are produced in a laboratory, this means that they can be created to be much stronger than naturally-occurring opiates. In many cases, synthetic opiates are even more potent than heroin, causing more overdoses and deaths.
In the case of methadone, it is one of the most potent addiction treatment drugs available. In fact, it’s the drug often of choice for severe addicts because it helps them battle their high levels of dependency. Because of this, methadone is often prescribed over less potent, semi-synthetic alternatives like buprenorphine.
To control the danger of methadone, it is only dispensed once a day at a very controlled dose to prevent people from abusing it.
How to Stay Safe When Taking Methadone
Because methadone is a synthetic opiate, you might feel afraid to take it. However, there’s no reason to fear, as millions of people have taken methadone to cure their drug addiction.
Your doctor will be carefully monitoring your daily dose of methadone. To prevent abuse, you can’t simply go to the pharmacy and pick up a 60 day supply of the drug.
Instead, you have to report to a methadone clinic once a day, where you will only be given one dose at a time. Because methadone is synthetic, it has been engineered to last longer than traditional opiates – preventing you from having to take pills every few hours.
Overall, just because methadone is a synthetic opioid does not mean you should rule it out for treatment. As long as you have the support of your doctor, you should have no problems or adverse side effects along the way.