Case Study: The Methadone Train

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The Methadone Train
Addictions to opiates, and opiate derivatives, are some of the most prevalent and long-standing drug abuse issues known. These abuses have also contributed to other social problems such as the spread of HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis C due to needle injection being a popular method of delivery. In the 1960s, methadone, a synthetic opiate substitute, was introduced as the preferred medical treatment for opiate abuse and addiction and remains so today. Reduction of disease distribution is only one of its heralded benefits. Methadone is commonly used in management of withdrawal symptoms related to addiction to heroin and other opiate drugs, both prescription and non-prescription. According to Plater-Zyberk, Varenburt, Daiter, and Worster (2012), as well as nearly all other researchers, methadone is a safe, effective, and beneficial treatment when taken in a supervised methadone maintenance treatment (MMT). However, there are growing issues with illicit
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Gharib, Farshadmoghadam, Hosseini, and Yaghmaie (2014) reported on another child, an autistic boy, six years in age, who was brought to an emergency room with methadone intoxication. Unsafe exposure of children to methadone by illicit or even legal but not well-supervised users is a common problem that exists outside of the pre and postnatal exposure Evan experienced. The boy survived, but not without the truth coming out. His parents had been keeping liquid methadone in an old cough syrup bottle and mistakenly gave it to the boy to treat cold symptoms. Because of his autism, this situation could have been much more serious. Butler et al. stated that clinical symptoms of methadone intoxication can be mistakenly attributed to other factors in a child with developmental disorders like autism (Gharib et al., 2014). Had the parents not admitted to opiate abuse, the boy could have died while the doctors chased other possible

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