In treating addiction to alcohol, opioids, cannabis, and cocaine, doctors might prescribe a drug to the client to help with the detoxification process. These prescribed drugs might be given a short or long time depending on individual need. In some cases, these drugs block receptors so that if the client uses the drug, no feeling of “high” would occur (e.g. methadone blocks heroin). In other cases, the client takes the prescribed drug knowing that he/she will become ill if also taking the illicit drug or alcohol. Occasionally, the drugs used in pharmacotherapy can be addictive (e.g. methadone).
To respond to the discussion questions, please complete the assigned reading including Agonist Therapies: One Person’s Cure Is Another’s Addiction p. 418 of your text.
1. Do you think that agonist therapies should be continued despite the danger that some people become addicted to the agonist drug? Support your position using the text or other academic resource.
2. Choose one of the treatment drugs listed in the 18.2 Table (in text, p. 415) and research its use in treatment for alcohol, nicotine, opioid, cocaine, or cannabis treatment. Explain its action in the brain (e.g. does it block receptors).
3. Would you recommend the drug that you researched for use in pharmacotherapy? Support your opinion with information from your research.
Please substitute the following question for what is in the Unit 9 Discussion currently: Sometimes, addiction to certain classes of drugs that clients need psychopharmacological intervention. There are drugs that prevent another drug from working properly and these are called agonist drugs. They bind to the neural receptor in the brain and act the same as the drug of choice (methadone is an agonist for heroin). Clients take the agonist drug to quiet those receptors from sending pain or strong “use” urges to the brain. Users experience a mild sensation that is similar to the high that they experienced with the drug of choice. Agonist drugs help clients to slowly reduce their use of the drug of choice. A good example of this is Chantix (agonist) used to help smokers reduce their reliance on nicotine. Then, there are some drugs that block the high and drug effects entirely. These are called antagonist drugs. These drugs completely block the high and cognitive effects that a user feels when using the drug of choice. However, it does not reduce the urge to use as agonist drugs do. A good example of this is Naltrexone (antagonist) used to quickly reverse the effects of opioids.
Using the information from your reading in Chapter 33, identify and discuss at least one agonist and one antagonist drug. Explain how they can be used in an effective drug treatment program. Then, provide your opinion as to whether you think these would be effective or not.