50 years ago, methadone made a rosy debut | Science News

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50 Years Ago

50 years ago, methadone made a rosy debut

Excerpt from the February 4, 1967, issue of Science News

7:00am, January 26, 2017

DOUBLE-EDGED DRUG  Methadone was heralded as the answer to opiate addiction. But for all its benefits, it’s still an opiate.

Heroin cure works 

[T]he drug methadone appears to have fulfilled its promise as an answer to heroin addiction. Some 276 hard-core New York addicts … have lost their habits and none have returned to heroin — a 100 percent success rating. Methadone, a synthetic narcotic, acts by blocking the euphoric effect of opiates. Addicts thus get nothing from heroin and feel no desire to take it. — Science News. February 4, 1967.


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved methadone as a treatment for opiate addiction in 1972 but quickly recognized that it was no panacea. That same year, policy makers worried that methadone would produce addicts — as patients got high off the

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