Critical Thinking on Heroin Replacement Therapy

3 pages
636 words
Carnegie Mellon University
Type of paper: 
Critical thinking
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The abuse of opioid is a growing concern in the USA. Most Americans use heroin as a drug resulting in a serious health problem in the country. Currently, there are more than 500000 people using heroin in the World thus result in problems such as Percocet and Vicodin and others. All these problems occur due to the frequent use of opioids as painkillers. It is estimated that more than 1.8 native American in 2005 abused opioid because they used oxycodone as a drug but not a medicine. In consideration to recent health statistics, it is observed that 5528 people died of abuse of opioid due to overdose but there are more serious deaths which resulted from the use of heroin. A lot of research revealed that dependence on opioid can be reduced through medical treatment involving the use of methadone or the use of recent medicines such as Buprenorphine. These medicines have the potential of preventing the effect of abused opioid and also ensure that all the related problems caused by withdrawal are avoided at early stages. Several researchers show that the use of medicine to reduce the effect of abuse of opioid increases social productivity and also discourage users from abusing such drug thus reduce unnecessary deaths caused by overdose.  In order to reduce addiction of opioid, naltrexone can be used orally because it is effective in blocking the effect of these drugs. Although naltrexone works effectively, it has not been in use extensively in the USA and therefore many people still feel the effect of abuse of the opioid. This results from the introduction of a federal law that prevents the use of methadone in different clinics to treat addiction of opioid abuse from 1970. In addition, other legal policies are also there that also prevent the use of Buprenorphine in America to offer treatment for opioid users although; it is a sure way of treating addition of opioid. There is a concern if these medicines such as Buprenorphine and methadone can be used in treating addiction of heroin by allowing different health care officers to use such medicines in their offices.

Policy implications

Currently, medical officers are restricted from using methadone and related medicines to reduce addiction of opioid. The restriction is put by federal regulations which are concerned with the dispensing of drugs in fear of the use of these drugs for an illicit purpose. Although, numerous death have been reported relating to the use of methadone to release pain from patients a limited number has been reported for treating addiction on the opioid. The restriction therefore only allows specific physicians and state agencies to use it to treat addiction of opioid and this reduces the access of methadone to reduce the effect of abuse opioid on a patient. Finally, there are some people in America who are not willing to get treatment in methadone clinics with other patients but wish to receive their treatment wherever they want. This condition restricts the number of people with the problem to use methadone for treatment because it is not easy to access it.

Priority Action

Develop federal regulations that allow all physicians and health officers to offer methadone treatment freely without restriction

Develop legal policy allowing the use of methadone for medical purpose only

Allow patients who have been treated for more than two years to use methadone for at least one month.

Physicians only should be allowed to administer methadone to patients


It is vital to allow patients with the opioid addiction to using Methadone and Buprenorphine treatment from different physicians across the country. The use of these drugs is restricted to reduce their illicit use.the creation of legal policy highlighting legalizing different physicians to offer methadone treatment with opioid addiction is very important in ensuring that there an effective treatment of opioid dependence.


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