The following is chapter one of a short book on methadone maintenance your feedback ,pro and con, would be appreciated.This booklet is my opinion about replacement therapy, I called it The Junkie’s Opinion because I wanted to give people just that, a long term,chronic abuser and habitual relapsers view of methadone maintenance as a viable option. I will give you my research notes and quite a bit of facts and figures, however I want to make it perfectly clear that the thoughts and opinions expressed in this booklet are my own, I take no “donations” from drug companies and speak for no one other then Freddie Jay.
I will qualify myself further in the following pages but I want the reader to know that this writer has lived it. I have tried to quit cold turkey, I have done assisted withdrawal where they brought me down with Clonidine , that’s actually a blood pressure drug that they found helps with the symptoms of withdrawal , it don’t help much! I’ve kicked with the help of Suboxone and when given in the proper dosage is the best way to come off of opiates but Suboxone is an an opiate and you can become dependent on it. There’s many factors that go into treating the addicted and there really is no cookie cutter approach when dealing with any individual. Type of opiate , length of time using it, amount used and wether it was injected, snorted or smoked are just some of the factors that go into determining which approach is most conducive to successful detox and maintained abstinence .
The unfortunate truth is that 90 percent of heroin addicts will relapse in their first year after a stay at the local rehab. You have to tailor the recovery process to the person but another unfortunate truth is that some of these programs simply don’t understand the opiate addicted brain . If they do their indifference is tantamount of malpractice but what do I know they have the PHD I’ve only lived it. Now I don’t know the technical terms so I’m just going to explain the opiate brain in my own terms.
All people have naturally occurring opiates in their brain, the brain releases these opiates in response to working out , love, orgasm or in response to pain. When these naturally occurring endorphins are released in our brain we have over all good feelings , a state of well being. These endorphins are essential to a healthy functioning brain. When a person takes heroin or any opiate it floods the pleasure centers of the brain this outside stimuli is many times stronger then what your body produces. I’ve been asked by people who have never tried heroin what it feels like and it’s very hard to describe but I’ve used the following answer to give a normal person an idea of the sense of bliss heroin gives you. Imagine you were naked in the middle of a a huge ocean just moments before freezing to death and dropping to the bottom of the ocean. Suddenly you are scooped up and a warm fluffy blanket that smells as sweet as lilacs is wrapped around you as someone holds you an strokes your hair. If you take that visual and multiply it by ten, that’s how I felt seconds after taking the syringe out of my arm. Now I’m not trying to sound like I’m pro heroin but let’s be honest there’s not millions of addicts because it doesn’t feel good.
When you continually put this outside stimuli over days months and years into your brain , your brain stops making the naturally occurring endorphins and if you stop taking opiates your brain is completely without its essential chemicals and withdrawal begins. You’re looking at a week of pure hell followed by thereto six weeks of insomnia , it gets ugly! Ill tell you about withdrawal in more detail later on but for now let’s focus on the brain. Now that its completely without opiates it goes haywire and depending on factors mentioned above takes weeks or months to repair itself. Think of it like a computer trying to reboot to standard operating after a major system crash. Some brains are simply unable to recover or get back to anything like normal after extended periods of opiate abuse.
That said, it takes some addicts months to recover, if they can and its during that faze that you enter PAWS , no it’s not an animal shelter, it’s Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome . This can last for months and has such symptoms as depression, insomnia , chronic fatigue and at times can make you feel like the first few days of withdrawal hell. PAWS can stick with the chronic user for years, the length and severity are directly related to length and amount of opiates used. To think that a person with twenty years of opiate addiction can go to detox for five days and then be all better is ludicrous ! I’m not saying that there aren’t people that have kicked on their first try but believe me they are few and far between. Methadone and Suboxone have been used with great success to introduce a long term user to sobriety , tapering them off in 18 to 24 months and ill gladly show you the data I’ve researched . We will also look at the stigma of methadone or Suboxone maintenance as well as the long term chronic abuser of opiate and the possibility he may need replacement therapy for life. The only question is where do I begin?