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Don’t Expect Results from Methadone Treatment If You Also Use Marijuana

You’d think that someone who’s on a drug rehab program of any sort wouldn’t be taking drugs. But according to a recent study, more people who are on methadone treatment are using marijuana much more than the general population. Using marijuana may make people feel better, but there’s virtually no chance of them achieving the goals of drug treatment – off drugs, and a revitalized life.

The study came up with some very interesting facts:

  • Many people on methadone treatment programs do take other drugs – like other opioids and opiates (which include prescriptions painkillers like OxyContin, hydrocodone, Percocet, morphine, fentanyl, etc) – not prescribed by a doctor, and heroin) – as well as marijuana. (As a note: taking opioids or opiates while on methadone is foolhardy. Methadone stays in the body long after the person taking it can feel any effects. If you take other opioids or opiates with the methadone still in the body, you run a really high risk of overdose.)
  • Of the 777 participants in the study (414 men and 363 women), 60 percent of the men and 44 percent of the women were on methadone treatment were also using marijuana.
  • Women who were using marijuana while on methadone were 82 percent more likely than men to also be using illicit opioids.
  • Women in methadone treatment had higher rates of psychological problems.
  • The women said they were using marijuana as ‘self-medication’ – in other words, they were using it to handle the emotional problems they were having.
  • The men said they were taking marijuana for recreational purposes.
  • The women using marijuana were not doing as well as the men with their methadone treatment program.

I don’t know why women said they were using marijuana for therapeutic purposes and the guys said they were using it to have fun. But I would imagine a lot of those men aren’t really cognizant of the fact that the need to ‘have fun’ indicates that they are certainly not having fun without it. In other words, they too are using it for therapeutic purposes. They just don’t see it, or express it, that way.

In any case, I would blame this situation – the need to take other drugs while on methadone treatment, and having trouble getting off drugs using methadone treatment – on the methadone treatment program itself.

What is a Methadone Treatment Program?

In fact, it is rare to find a methadone ‘treatment program’ that involves any actual treatment. People on these so-called treatment programs are given methadone every day to help reduce cravings and prevent withdrawal symptoms, but they rarely get to speak to anyone about why they were taking drugs in the first place. And if they do have some of those conversations, it’s just not enough.

So, they’re still trying to escape those same problems. By taking other drugs while using methadone.

But, really, the idea that you can figure out and successfully address your problems in life while stoned on anything is preposterous. You need to be alert and in the present, you need to have your wits about you completely. No one is in that condition while drugged.

If you look online, you’ll see several experts acknowledging long-term residential treatment programs that get the person off drugs, and spend intensive periods addressing the problems that got them addicted in the first place. It takes a long time or very severe life situations to lead a person to addiction. Unraveling it all and helping the person address those situations thoroughly doesn’t happen overnight or even in a month.

If you or someone you know is looking for a good drug rehab program, don’t go for methadone, find a long-term residential treatment program that will really dig in and help the person handle their life problems.

Only then is the person set up to change their life.

Call us at 855-895-2090 if you need help finding a good treatment program in your area.

Posted in: Drug Rehab

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