Methadone is a synthetic opioid prescribed to treat moderate to severe pain but is commonly used to treat heroin addiction. The drug acts on the same opioid receptors as morphine and heroin and is designed to stabilize patients and minimize withdrawal symptoms. However, the sustained and long-term use of methadone leads to dangerous dependence, withdrawal, and tolerance, causing severe withdrawal symptoms. Within the United States, methadone is federally designated a Schedule II drug, which means it is used medically but has a high potential for abuse. Virginia methadone addiction detox centers provide solutions to help methadone users safely stop taking the drug. Withdrawal management is critical, and medical detox or even medication-assisted treatment are practical solutions.
When medication-assisted treatment is used, it must be done in combination with some type of behavioral therapy. The goal after medical detox is complete should be to become completely drug-free. Detox alone does not sustain long-lasting recovery and sobriety. Despite heavy regulation within the nation for methadone, many heroin addicts do find a way to obtain the drug illegally. Methadone is a powerful opioid and does cause an overdose. An overdose occurs when too much of the drug is taken, or it is mixed with other central nervous system depressants. The signs of a methadone overdose are constricted pupils, dizziness, hypertension, nausea and vomiting, and respiratory depression leading to coma and even death.
Opioids and the related problems caused by addiction and overprescribing impacted every community within the state. According to the Virginia Department of Health, there was a significant increase in the state death rate from 2015 to 2017, when it began to decline in 2018. During 2015 the death rate caused by opioids was 12.1 deaths per 100,000 population, and it then peaked in 2017 at 17.4 deaths per 100,000 population. In 2018 it dropped down to 15 deaths per 100,000 population. Men and women within the state between the ages of 25 and 34 and 35 and 44 had the highest rate of opioid-related overdose deaths. The type of drugs includes natural opiates, semi-synthetic and synthetic, prescription pain medication, methadone, and heroin.