What’s So Controversial About MMT Anyway?
Today, 1.3 million people across the globe are on methadone maintenance treatment for their opioid addiction. As this addiction grows, these numbers are sure to increase as well.
However, even with the growing need for methadone treatment, many people still look down upon it. This has caused less than 10 percent of opioid users in the United States to actually seek out methadone treatment.
Unfortunately, this negative stigma has created an unwarranted controversy around the drug. Regardless of the fact that it has helped millions of people overcome their drug addiction since its inception in the 1960s, many critics still think methadone shouldn’t be used in addiction treatment.
Substituting One Drug for Another
Because methadone is a drug, there is the common misconception that drug abusers are simply trading off one addiction for another.
They couldn’t be more wrong.
Nowadays, all scientists agree that addiction is a chronic disease, much like heart disease or high blood pressure. Because of this, it makes absolute sense to treat it with a drug.
Most people wouldn’t bat an eye if someone mentioned they were taking medication to lower their blood pressure. So why should it be so outrageous for an addict to take a medication to reduce their chances of abusing drugs?
In fact, without any form of medication-based treatment, as much as 90 percent of patients will relapse eventually.
Another argument people have against methadone is that it causes the user to develop a dependence, much like the original drug they abused did.
However, methadone isn’t the only kind of drug to do this. Many common drugs given for a number of common diseases also cause a person to become dependent on them.
For example, people who take drugs for cardiovascular issues can’t stop taking them right away or else they would go through a nasty withdrawal, just like methadone patients.
To learn more about how methadone dependence works, just call our hotline at 800-891-9360(Who Answers?).
People Don’t Want to Be Defined By Methadone Treatment
In many cases, the negative outlook by society on methadone treatment causes drug abusers to be afraid to try the treatment.
Some people simply lump together all drug users and methadone users into one category, without regards to the fact that one group is actively abusing and the other group is actively in recovery.
Even worse, many methadone users are actively discriminated against in society. They might find it harder to gain employment, and many take to lying to potential employers to avoid stigmatization.
In many cases, methadone users were even discriminated against in the emergency room or during surgery, as nurses and doctors were afraid to prescribe them painkillers for their injuries.
It’s Time to Break Free
In order to break away from the societal stigma surrounding methadone maintenance treatment, some groups have taken the initiative for change.
In New York, one Methadone Anonymous group has started to spread awareness of the drug by leaving information at clinics and other sites. They have done a great job, as they get requests for more information from different states on a weekly basis.
Other ways to prevent the stigmatization of methadone are to use language that is nonjudgmental and accurate. Instead of referring to methadone as a “replacement,” it’s important to classify it as a treatment.
By breaking these barriers and making methadone more socially acceptable, it will pave the road for millions more drug users to get the help they need for sobriety.