Excerpt from the February 4, 1967, issue of Science News
[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 treatment itself (SN: 10/28/72, p. 277). Methadone can be deadly: In 2014, 3,400 people died of methadone overdoses. Although methadone is still used, drugs such as buprenorphine and naltrexone have joined the treatment arsenal for opiate addiction.
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