Medicine: Improving on Methadone

To many of those involved in the fight against heroin addiction, methadone seems to be the most workable weapon yet devised. A synthetic morphine substitute, it relieves the symptoms of narcotic withdrawal, blocks heroin's euphoric effects and allows an addict to lead a relatively normal life. But methadone also has its drawbacks. It is almost as addictive as the heroin it replaces, and most addicts must indefinitely maintain their new, though less destructive, habit. Because methadone is short-acting, it must be taken daily; addicts starting treatment must either report to a clinic for...

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