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Methadone Testing

Methadone: Why the Controversy?

A Few Fun Facts…

  • Methadone was originally known as Dolopine, and it was developed during WWII in Germany. There were a couple of driving factors behind its synthesization. For starters, Hitler wanted to become as independent as possible from outside sources, and methadone production helped him achieve this. Furthermore, morphine supplies were in short supply, and this alternative was crucial in pain management.
  • Drug use was pronounced in the United States during the 1950’s and 60’s, and it was not uncommon for needles to be shared. Methadone, on the other hand, can be administered orally in both liquid and pill form, and the use of this substance helped reduce the spread of disease. This ultimately led to the acceptance of methadone treatment in opioid addiction.
  • Methadone can be highly addictive when it’s not properly managed.
  • When used with depressants such as placidyl, valium, and excessive alcohol, methadone use can pose serious health risks.
Methadone pills spilling out of bottle.

While methadone is a synthetic substance, it does share many of the same pharmacological elements as morphine and heroin. It’s important to keep in mind, though, that it is not an opiate and therefore will not be indicated on testing performed for opiates alone. This can cause confusion since the effects on the central nervous system by methadone are so similar to drugs like heroin.  

It’s critical that those using methadone for extended periods of time receive proper management. Failure to do so can lead to addiction and/or dependency on the substance. This has led to many critics claiming that methadone is a problem in that addicts simply switch their drug-of-choice from one substance to another. However, there are two sides to the coin, and proponents highlight the differences between dependence and addiction. While a physical dependence can certainly develop, it is comparable to the dependence diabetics have on insulin. Those who ensure their use is properly managed are capable of living far more successfully than they would under the continual influence of opiates like heroin.

Due to its long-lasting effects and ease in administration, methadone has proven to be an effective pain-management tool for patients following surgery or a serious injury. Since its effects can last for up to 24 hours, it has also proven successful in detoxification for thousands around the world.

Methadone Testing: The 10-Panel Test

It’s important to remain clear that methadone is not an opiate. Because of this, the standard 5-panel opiate screening is ineffective in the detection of this substance. Methadone testing requires a 10-panel screening. While both tests are performed using an oral swab of saliva, they test for different metabolites. In each circumstance, there are measures that can be taken to ensure the sample is human and has not been tampered with. When you call ARCpoint Labs of Columbia, SC, we can help  you understand the process better or schedule a confidential appointment.

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