Why would anyone use methadone?

I’m not talking about, why would anyone use methadone instead of cold turkey detox, I’m talking about why would anyone in their right mind use methadone instead of buprenorphine?

Really…I want to know, so if you’ve chosen methadone over buprenorphine or suboxone…why??? Firstly, I should say that I never used either in my battles with opiate type pain pills, but I understand and respect the use of opiate substitution as a valid and respectable choice in a recovery program. But I just don’t get what’s better about methadone.

The drug is more easily abused You have to go to a clinic to take it It is very addictive The eventual detox off of methadone is terrible

So why, when buprenorphine has little potential for abuse, and can be prescribed in a month’ supply, when it’s far less addictive than methadone and when the eventual withdrawal and detox pains are nowhere near as bad as for methadone…why?

I know that there are some problems with finding a doctor capable of prescribing the drug in some parts of the country, and I also know that it is more expensive, but when you consider the cost benefit ration and weigh the options, buprenorphine just seem to me to come up a clear winner. So if any one can answer me this question, I would love to know why so many people still choose methadone.

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I’m not talking about, why would anyone use methadone instead of cold turkey detox, I’m talking about why would anyone in their right mind use methadone instead of buprenorphine?

Really…I want to know, so if you’ve chosen methadone over buprenorphine or suboxone…why??? Firstly, I should say that I never used either in my battles with opiate type pain pills, but I understand and respect the use of opiate substitution as a valid and respectable choice in a recovery program. But I just don’t get what’s better about methadone.

The drug is more easily abused You have to go to a clinic to take it It is very addictive The eventual detox off of methadone is terrible

So why, when buprenorphine has little potential for abuse, and can be prescribed in a month’ supply, when it’s far less addictive than methadone and when the eventual withdrawal and detox pains are nowhere near as bad as for methadone…why?

I know that there are some problems with finding a doctor capable of prescribing the drug in some parts of the country, and I also know that it is more expensive, but when you consider the cost benefit ration and weigh the options, buprenorphine just seem to me to come up a clear winner. So if any one can answer me this question, I would love to know why so many people still choose methadone.

Don’t Enable…Do Help

I hear a lot of true sad stories about people who have had enough of addiction or alcoholism, finally want to get better, but who just don’t have the money they need to get into even the lower cost rehabs right away. They may be eligible for some subsidized care, but with waiting lists as long as two months, this is pretty far from ideal; and a story I get a lot is, "My family has had enough of me, and they won’t help me anymore".

Which I can understand! When we are using and abusing, we tend to do things that force our families away. We burn our bridges, lie, cheat and steal one too many times, and they just get fed up. And they don’t want to enable the abuse either!

And it’s true:

  • When they let us live rent free in the home, getting high in the basement, that doesn’t help us get better.
  • When they give us money for drugs or alcohol when we get desperate…that doesn’t much help either.

They are taught that the only way that they can truly help us to change our ways is to stop enabling, and to start giving a little tough love. And it’s true too, and tough love can help. But tough love gets a little too tough when we finally reach the point when we can no longer deny the extent of the problem, when we accept that things are out of control and when we realize that to have any chance at a better life; we are going to need some help.

When we reach that point and we come pleading for a bit of money for our treatment, turning us away is awfully hard, has nothing to do with enabling or otherwise and just keeps too many of us out of treatments that could really get us up out of the mess we’ve made of things.

We may not deserve it, but we’ll make it up to you once we’re better. You don’t have to give the money to us either, we can understand how that might make you feel a little uncomfortable…pay the treatment center directly.

You won’t regret it.

I hear a lot of true sad stories about people who have had enough of addiction or alcoholism, finally want to get better, but who just don’t have the money they need to get into even the lower cost rehabs right away. They may be eligible for some subsidized care, but with waiting lists as long as two months, this is pretty far from ideal; and a story I get a lot is, "My family has had enough of me, and they won’t help me anymore".

Which I can understand! When we are using and abusing, we tend to do things that force our families away. We burn our bridges, lie, cheat and steal one too many times, and they just get fed up. And they don’t want to enable the abuse either!

And it’s true:

  • When they let us live rent free in the home, getting high in the basement, that doesn’t help us get better.
  • When they give us money for drugs or alcohol when we get desperate…that doesn’t much help either.

They are taught that the only way that they can truly help us to change our ways is to stop enabling, and to start giving a little tough love. And it’s true too, and tough love can help. But tough love gets a little too tough when we finally reach the point when we can no longer deny the extent of the problem, when we accept that things are out of control and when we realize that to have any chance at a better life; we are going to need some help.

When we reach that point and we come pleading for a bit of money for our treatment, turning us away is awfully hard, has nothing to do with enabling or otherwise and just keeps too many of us out of treatments that could really get us up out of the mess we’ve made of things.

We may not deserve it, but we’ll make it up to you once we’re better. You don’t have to give the money to us either, we can understand how that might make you feel a little uncomfortable…pay the treatment center directly.

You won’t regret it.

Free Christian Rehabs…Why No One Should Complain About the Work They Do.

Now a lot of people have a bit of a problem with evangelical Christianity. They don’t much care for people who try to convince them out of word views and beliefs they’re perfectly happy with already, and they feel that there is something a bit distasteful in the whole missionary to the world, spreading the light kind of thing.

And I can understand where they’re coming from as well, but when you look at who is and who is not stepping up to help people with addictions in this country, you have to give a lot of credit to Christian good works.

I’ve just spent a week compiling an enormous list of free or almost free rehabs (1300 or more by now, contact me if you need some advice!) and the there are more Christian residential programs offering free of charge care to those in need than all others combined. Some may be effective and some may struggle, but at the core, they strive to do good, strive with limited resources, and strive to include access to all in need…without a thought of monetary reward.

Now there is no doubt that they act out of dual motivations, and intermingled with a desire to do good works is surely a desire to spread the word of Christianity; but they make no apologies for their actions and they never hide their intentions. They are doing what they think is right and what needs doing, and they are saving an awful lot of lives in the process.

Compare them to another "religious" organization, Narconon, which although a front for Scientology, makes no mention of this in any of their aggressive promotional literature, and once they get you into their quasi scientific program of questionable merits, do make efforts to convert you to their world view. To me, this is extremely distasteful.

So if you do resent the motivations and actions of evangelical Christianity and their works to spread the word, that is your right; but remember that they do great good for those in need and with no where else to go; and if you feel strongly enough about it, get involved and give these people some secular alternatives for help.

They do want you to "switch teams" as it were, and in the process of saving lives from the pains of addiction and despair, they probably recruit a few grateful members along the way. But if your philosophy is to deny them the right to do their Christian good works, without somehow providing an equal quality and quantity of secular services to those in need, then you espouse hypocrisy. Addicts and alcoholics enter into free of charge recovery programs willingly and with thanks, and they are never forced to participate. If you’re trying to save them from the pains of conversion, you’re sending back to the pains of addiction…and ask them which fate they’d rather.

All of us should feel some personal obligation to do more good than harm throughout the course of our lives, and there are a great many ways to even out that balance sheet; but those who speak badly about Christian recovery organizations, who would deny them funding and who would like to see them gone do not contribute good, and without providing an acceptable alternative, do harm.

Whether you are Christian or not, see that these people do good works, and if you don’t like it, don’t wish them removed, but give freely to the United Way or to your local secular shelter or rehab, and let them expand their services to more who need it.

Now a lot of people have a bit of a problem with evangelical Christianity. They don’t much care for people who try to convince them out of word views and beliefs they’re perfectly happy with already, and they feel that there is something a bit distasteful in the whole missionary to the world, spreading the light kind of thing.

And I can understand where they’re coming from as well, but when you look at who is and who is not stepping up to help people with addictions in this country, you have to give a lot of credit to Christian good works.

I’ve just spent a week compiling an enormous list of free or almost free rehabs (1300 or more by now, contact me if you need some advice!) and the there are more Christian residential programs offering free of charge care to those in need than all others combined. Some may be effective and some may struggle, but at the core, they strive to do good, strive with limited resources, and strive to include access to all in need…without a thought of monetary reward.

Now there is no doubt that they act out of dual motivations, and intermingled with a desire to do good works is surely a desire to spread the word of Christianity; but they make no apologies for their actions and they never hide their intentions. They are doing what they think is right and what needs doing, and they are saving an awful lot of lives in the process.

Compare them to another "religious" organization, Narconon, which although a front for Scientology, makes no mention of this in any of their aggressive promotional literature, and once they get you into their quasi scientific program of questionable merits, do make efforts to convert you to their world view. To me, this is extremely distasteful.

So if you do resent the motivations and actions of evangelical Christianity and their works to spread the word, that is your right; but remember that they do great good for those in need and with no where else to go; and if you feel strongly enough about it, get involved and give these people some secular alternatives for help.

They do want you to "switch teams" as it were, and in the process of saving lives from the pains of addiction and despair, they probably recruit a few grateful members along the way. But if your philosophy is to deny them the right to do their Christian good works, without somehow providing an equal quality and quantity of secular services to those in need, then you espouse hypocrisy. Addicts and alcoholics enter into free of charge recovery programs willingly and with thanks, and they are never forced to participate. If you’re trying to save them from the pains of conversion, you’re sending back to the pains of addiction…and ask them which fate they’d rather.

All of us should feel some personal obligation to do more good than harm throughout the course of our lives, and there are a great many ways to even out that balance sheet; but those who speak badly about Christian recovery organizations, who would deny them funding and who would like to see them gone do not contribute good, and without providing an acceptable alternative, do harm.

Whether you are Christian or not, see that these people do good works, and if you don’t like it, don’t wish them removed, but give freely to the United Way or to your local secular shelter or rehab, and let them expand their services to more who need it.

4 Things Pot-Heads Say that Drive Me Nuts (A Sort of Pro Marijuana Rebuttal)

Medical marijuana

First of all, the whole medical marijuana thing drives me crazy. Fine, give marijuana to people with glaucoma if it helps them, cancer patients need a little pot, by all means they should have it; but there is a substantial difference between something being beneficial to certain people who are suffering from disease and good for one and all and their brother.

There’s this sort of smugness that I get a lot from marijuana proponents fighting for medical legalization, as if they were fighting some sort of battle for the greater good. I don’t believe it anyways, I just think they want to get stoned on legal weed…which is fine, but let’s drop this whole doing it for the AIDS patient’s thing.

It’s natural

OK what’s next, oh yeah, the whole it’s from the earth it’s natural it’s good for you line of reasoning. What’s up with that? Sure, smoking a natural herb may not be quite as harmful as sniffing gasoline, but just because things come from the earth doesn’t mean we should put them in our bodies. Opium is from a plant, but smoking a lot of opium never did anyone much good. Cyanide, that’s another one of natures goodies that never seems to make it into the whole, from the earth let’s smoke it line of reasoning. How about cobra venom…can’t get more natural than that.

Alcohol is worse

OK, number three on my list of grievances regards the whole comparison thing with alcohol.

Yes, I get it, alcohol is worse, and it’s legal too; the horror. Get over it already, alcohol isn’t good for you, it surely causes far more pain that marijuana ever will, and it’s far harder on the body as well; but once again, simply because alcohol is worse, doesn’t make marijuana good.

There is no law saying that you need to put any form of intoxicating substance in your body, it’s not as if we are dealing a necessary decision between two evils here. And about the whole alcohol being legal thing; governments would stop it if they could, but they can’t so they don’t. End of story.

Hemp

Yes yes, hemp is a wonderful thing, and I can’t wait until all of my shirts look as scratchy as yours. What’s the deal with marijuana smokers and hemp? They’re so infatuated with that weed they’re even going to wear it on their backs? OK I know hemp has a lot of promise for a great many things and I agree that it is pretty silly to restrict the growth of industrial hemp fibers, without any THC at all in them; but those clothes you’re wearing…I just can’t take you seriously in them

The legalization issue

So now you know where I stand on marijuana legalization…well you’re wrong; I think the money spent on enforcement of marijuana is absurd. I used to smoke marijuana, have since given it up, have friends that use heavily…whatever. It should be a personal decision, based on an awareness of the facts and issues surrounding the use of the drug, and wasting dollars far better destined to health care or education on rooting out plants and busting weed dealers makes no sense at all.

I don’t care as much about the issue since I no longer smoke and have nothing to fear from John Q Law, but even still, I’d like to see a legalization if only to prove that govt. policy makers have enough courage to do what most educated people believe needs doing, but remains such a political minefield.

And it may not help their case much, but I for one would respect the pot heads of the world far more if they’d just come out from behind their smokescreen (pun intended) of medical marijuana and scratchy shirts and all that, and just said "I like to get high, I’m not hurting anyone, get out of my darned business"

 

Medical marijuana

First of all, the whole medical marijuana thing drives me crazy. Fine, give marijuana to people with glaucoma if it helps them, cancer patients need a little pot, by all means they should have it; but there is a substantial difference between something being beneficial to certain people who are suffering from disease and good for one and all and their brother.

There’s this sort of smugness that I get a lot from marijuana proponents fighting for medical legalization, as if they were fighting some sort of battle for the greater good. I don’t believe it anyways, I just think they want to get stoned on legal weed…which is fine, but let’s drop this whole doing it for the AIDS patient’s thing.

It’s natural

OK what’s next, oh yeah, the whole it’s from the earth it’s natural it’s good for you line of reasoning. What’s up with that? Sure, smoking a natural herb may not be quite as harmful as sniffing gasoline, but just because things come from the earth doesn’t mean we should put them in our bodies. Opium is from a plant, but smoking a lot of opium never did anyone much good. Cyanide, that’s another one of natures goodies that never seems to make it into the whole, from the earth let’s smoke it line of reasoning. How about cobra venom…can’t get more natural than that.

Alcohol is worse

OK, number three on my list of grievances regards the whole comparison thing with alcohol.

Yes, I get it, alcohol is worse, and it’s legal too; the horror. Get over it already, alcohol isn’t good for you, it surely causes far more pain that marijuana ever will, and it’s far harder on the body as well; but once again, simply because alcohol is worse, doesn’t make marijuana good.

There is no law saying that you need to put any form of intoxicating substance in your body, it’s not as if we are dealing a necessary decision between two evils here. And about the whole alcohol being legal thing; governments would stop it if they could, but they can’t so they don’t. End of story.

Hemp

Yes yes, hemp is a wonderful thing, and I can’t wait until all of my shirts look as scratchy as yours. What’s the deal with marijuana smokers and hemp? They’re so infatuated with that weed they’re even going to wear it on their backs? OK I know hemp has a lot of promise for a great many things and I agree that it is pretty silly to restrict the growth of industrial hemp fibers, without any THC at all in them; but those clothes you’re wearing…I just can’t take you seriously in them

The legalization issue

So now you know where I stand on marijuana legalization…well you’re wrong; I think the money spent on enforcement of marijuana is absurd. I used to smoke marijuana, have since given it up, have friends that use heavily…whatever. It should be a personal decision, based on an awareness of the facts and issues surrounding the use of the drug, and wasting dollars far better destined to health care or education on rooting out plants and busting weed dealers makes no sense at all.

I don’t care as much about the issue since I no longer smoke and have nothing to fear from John Q Law, but even still, I’d like to see a legalization if only to prove that govt. policy makers have enough courage to do what most educated people believe needs doing, but remains such a political minefield.

And it may not help their case much, but I for one would respect the pot heads of the world far more if they’d just come out from behind their smokescreen (pun intended) of medical marijuana and scratchy shirts and all that, and just said "I like to get high, I’m not hurting anyone, get out of my darned business"

 

Study on student led drug education gets VERY mixed results!

Billions have been spent educating our kids in schools about the dangers of drugs and alcohol, and despite the best of intentions; these programs have failed. Independent evaluations of DARE and other school anti drug message courses show absolutely no difference in drug taking behaviors between teens exposed to school education, and those not. In response, a lot of schools (with justification) have decided that their scant resource dollars would be better spent elsewhere, and the intensity of drug education in our nation’s schools has fallen somewhat.

A better way?

University researchers at USC decided to change the matrix slightly, and see if they couldn’t design a better drug education program. They enlisted the help of approximately 500 alternative school high school students, a traditionally high risk group for substance use and abuse, to participate in the pilot project. These students were randomly assigned to two protocol groups. The first group received drug education within a traditional teacher led classroom program, and the second group participated in a self directed peer based program. The peer based students elected a classroom representative to lead the program, and the students ran a self directed drug education module, where they spent time divided into small groups, discussing issues pertaining to the dangers of substance abuse.

The results were mixed

On average, after evaluating drug taking behaviors for a full year after the completion of the program, students who had participated in the peer led group reported 15% less drug taking behaviors than those who had been randomly assigned to the teacher led group. Which sounds like great news, until researchers reveal that those students who participated in peer led programs amongst other students in favor of drugs…actually increased their drug usage as opposed to the teacher led group.

A bit worrisome to say the least!

It’s encouraging to see continuing research in a needed area, but for now, schools cannot be relied on for effective drug education, and as always, the job must fall to parents. Thankfully, although research has proven school programs a dismal failure, it has also revealed just how effective an open dialogue from parents on the subject of drug and alcohol abuse can be. Kids whose parents talk to them about drugs don’t use drugs as much…period. Kids whose parents let the schools do it…well, that’s a bit of a gamble, and if the above study tells us anything, the kind of drug education peers are getting from peers may not be the sort of thing parents envision when they imagine "school drug education".

Billions have been spent educating our kids in schools about the dangers of drugs and alcohol, and despite the best of intentions; these programs have failed. Independent evaluations of DARE and other school anti drug message courses show absolutely no difference in drug taking behaviors between teens exposed to school education, and those not. In response, a lot of schools (with justification) have decided that their scant resource dollars would be better spent elsewhere, and the intensity of drug education in our nation’s schools has fallen somewhat.

A better way?

University researchers at USC decided to change the matrix slightly, and see if they couldn’t design a better drug education program. They enlisted the help of approximately 500 alternative school high school students, a traditionally high risk group for substance use and abuse, to participate in the pilot project. These students were randomly assigned to two protocol groups. The first group received drug education within a traditional teacher led classroom program, and the second group participated in a self directed peer based program. The peer based students elected a classroom representative to lead the program, and the students ran a self directed drug education module, where they spent time divided into small groups, discussing issues pertaining to the dangers of substance abuse.

The results were mixed

On average, after evaluating drug taking behaviors for a full year after the completion of the program, students who had participated in the peer led group reported 15% less drug taking behaviors than those who had been randomly assigned to the teacher led group. Which sounds like great news, until researchers reveal that those students who participated in peer led programs amongst other students in favor of drugs…actually increased their drug usage as opposed to the teacher led group.

A bit worrisome to say the least!

It’s encouraging to see continuing research in a needed area, but for now, schools cannot be relied on for effective drug education, and as always, the job must fall to parents. Thankfully, although research has proven school programs a dismal failure, it has also revealed just how effective an open dialogue from parents on the subject of drug and alcohol abuse can be. Kids whose parents talk to them about drugs don’t use drugs as much…period. Kids whose parents let the schools do it…well, that’s a bit of a gamble, and if the above study tells us anything, the kind of drug education peers are getting from peers may not be the sort of thing parents envision when they imagine "school drug education".

Sleepy? The Risks of DUI Go Way Up

We all know the risks of drinking and driving, and yet even with massive advertising, stringent enforcement and severe penalties; driving while intoxicated remains a substantial and too often tragic problem in our society. But even those of us who do endeavor to stay under the legal blood alcohol limit may be placing ourselves and others in danger if we drink even a small amount of alcohol and drive, while very sleepy.

Testing the pros…

Australian university researchers wanted to investigate the influence of sleepiness and low doses of alcohol on driver performance, and to do this they enlisted the help of a number of professional drivers. Over successive days, these drivers where given performance tests on a driving simulator, either sober and wakeful (awake for 12-15 hours), having consumed alcohol and wakeful (blood alcohol levels of 0.03 and 0.05) and then the tests were performed again (0.0, 0.03,) when the drivers were sleepy, after having been awake for 18-21 hours.

So does being sleepy matter?

The researchers found that sleepy drivers who had consumed only a small amount of alcohol (blood alcohol levels of 0.03) did worse on reactions and performance testing than did the wakeful drivers who had consumed a greater amount of alcohol (0.05 blood alcohol) and researchers extrapolate that with more alcohol consumption, the impact of sleepiness would grow more significant.

What this means?

Most of us don’t drink and drive for two major reasons. Firstly, we have a social conscious and are aware of the destruction wrought by intoxicated drivers, and we have no wish to cause or suffer the pains of a drunken driving accident. Secondly, we also fear penalties if caught driving drunk; and a combination of these two factors is enough to keep the majority of people off the roads after drinking too excess.

Our false assumptions

We also assume that blood alcohol levels are determined with road safety in mind, and that if we remain under the legal alcohol limit, we therefore retain the ability to drive safely. Unfortunately, this study tells us that our assumptions may be false. If you drink while very sleepy, and stay just under the legal limit–theoretically safe to drive–your reaction times more likely equal someone who is well above the legal limit, and both of you represent a danger to self and others. Take it easy, be safe, and avoid the heartbreak of a DUI tragedy.

We all know the risks of drinking and driving, and yet even with massive advertising, stringent enforcement and severe penalties; driving while intoxicated remains a substantial and too often tragic problem in our society. But even those of us who do endeavor to stay under the legal blood alcohol limit may be placing ourselves and others in danger if we drink even a small amount of alcohol and drive, while very sleepy.

Testing the pros…

Australian university researchers wanted to investigate the influence of sleepiness and low doses of alcohol on driver performance, and to do this they enlisted the help of a number of professional drivers. Over successive days, these drivers where given performance tests on a driving simulator, either sober and wakeful (awake for 12-15 hours), having consumed alcohol and wakeful (blood alcohol levels of 0.03 and 0.05) and then the tests were performed again (0.0, 0.03,) when the drivers were sleepy, after having been awake for 18-21 hours.

So does being sleepy matter?

The researchers found that sleepy drivers who had consumed only a small amount of alcohol (blood alcohol levels of 0.03) did worse on reactions and performance testing than did the wakeful drivers who had consumed a greater amount of alcohol (0.05 blood alcohol) and researchers extrapolate that with more alcohol consumption, the impact of sleepiness would grow more significant.

What this means?

Most of us don’t drink and drive for two major reasons. Firstly, we have a social conscious and are aware of the destruction wrought by intoxicated drivers, and we have no wish to cause or suffer the pains of a drunken driving accident. Secondly, we also fear penalties if caught driving drunk; and a combination of these two factors is enough to keep the majority of people off the roads after drinking too excess.

Our false assumptions

We also assume that blood alcohol levels are determined with road safety in mind, and that if we remain under the legal alcohol limit, we therefore retain the ability to drive safely. Unfortunately, this study tells us that our assumptions may be false. If you drink while very sleepy, and stay just under the legal limit–theoretically safe to drive–your reaction times more likely equal someone who is well above the legal limit, and both of you represent a danger to self and others. Take it easy, be safe, and avoid the heartbreak of a DUI tragedy.