For years Methadone has been hailed as he miracle solution for opiate addicts. This drug was developed to finally rid addicts of the ever-present cravings and withdrawal symptoms that people addicted to opiates often feel. But what if this drug had one loop hole that patients weren’t aware of? Well it does. Methadone paired with benzodiazepines (Xanax, Ativan, Ambien, Klonipin) is the lethal combination that is claiming the lives of thousands of opiate addicts.
Methadone is a synthetic opiate. Developed in Germany in 1939, Methadone is the most common medication prescribed for those suffering from a href=http://www.heroinrehabs.org>heroin addiction. Despite its ability to minimize the severe withdrawal symptoms that opiate addicts experience, Methadone itself has very significant and long lasting withdrawal symptoms. Interestingly, those coming off of heroin or any other opiate may experience withdrawal symptoms for 7 – 14 days. Those coming off of Methadone report withdrawal symptoms lasting anywhere from 1 -2 months, depending on the amount of Methadone being taken. It is clear that often times patients aren’t fully aware of the side effects and warnings regarding Methadone. This may be because the allure of a pain free withdrawal from opiates is so great that addicts aren’t paying attention to the fine print, or it may be that they don’t care, whatever the case, the deadly combination of Methadone and benzodiazepines is a frightening epidemic.
Benzodiazepines, or benzos, are a medication commonly prescribed for anxiety or insomnia. The most common benzos are Xanax, Valium, Klonipin and Ambien. Because of their sedative qualities, benzos are often abused. In fact a benzo addiction is one of the most common addictions in our society. Recent studies indicate that 23% of benzo users become addicted to the drug within three months of use. Researchers have also noted that while benzos have a calming effect on the body they do not work like opiates, making it the drug of choice for Methadone patients looking for a high.
Combining Methadone and Benzodiazepines is such a lethal combination that states all over the country are investigating this epidemic. In Tuscaloosa, Alabama, 28 of the 41 drug overdoses in 2008 involved Methadone and Benzos. One of the biggest reasons that benzos and Methadone create such a deadly combination is because together they cause respitory arrest. Additionally, researchers are looking into mounting evidence that Methadone causes cardiac toxicity.