Methadone was originally developed by the Nazis during World War II. When the supply of opium was cut, heroin Nazis like Göring wanted to avoid possible withdrawal and tasked German pharmaceutical companies with developing a fully synthetic opiate that would not require the poppy to produce. With typical Teutonic diligence, the chemists came up with a drug that lasted a long time. Now methadone is used to help drug addicts cope with heroin addiction.
The effect of heroin wears off after a couple of hours, so several injections are required per day. At the same time, methadone acts from 24 to 72 hours, depending on the dose and individual metabolism. Many users claim that methadone is less effective than heroin. It is not as powerful when injected, and many users generally find it to have a much weaker high than heroin. How much of this rejection of methadone is due to psychological reasons remains unclear. Many heroin addicts are fascinated by the very ritual of drug use - preparing a dose for an injection or rolling balls on foil...
When users are blindly given both drugs by mouth, they are unable to tell the difference between their effects. Where heroin really has an edge is in withdrawal. While heroin withdrawal usually ends in 7-10 days, methadone withdrawal can last up to a month or even longer.
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