Cocaine Maintenance Options
The cocaine or stimulant problem in the United States has not disappeared. According to a 2007 government survey, 2.1 million Americans had used cocaine in the month prior to the survey and 1 million had taken other stimulants for nonmedical purposes including more than half a million users of methamphetamine. There are currently no treatments for cocaine addiction. The only treatment for cocaine or stimulant addiction is abstinence based rehab therapy. This means that only 1/3 of improve after treatment but most end up relapsing repeatedly. And despite decades of study there are still no approved medications for cocaine addiction.
So is there any hope for cocaine maintenance? Are there any cocaine maintenance options?
Cocaine maintenance options have not been studied extensively. The reason for this is because cocaine or an amphetamine replacement option can cause brain damage, psychosis, heart attack and stroke. Another problem is that cocaine maintenance options increase the users’ desire to use the drug more, rather than stopping cravings or satisfying it. Another concern is that a cocaine maintenance drug would excite the user and not relax them.
This hasn’t stopped research on cocaine maintenance from being studied though. The best studied drugs so far for cocaine maintenance options are dexamphetamine which is a form of amphetamine used in the drug Adderall and the drug Modafinil, the wakefulness drug used to treat narcolepsy and shift-work sleep disorder.
Dexamphetamine as a cocaine maintenance option
A British study followed 60 stimulant or cocaine addicts who were treated with the first cocaine maintenance option of dexamphetamine. Doctors tracked how well the patients did in comparison to 120 heroin addicts who were being treated with methadone. What the doctors found was an equal reduction in illicit drug use and drug injection. In both the cocaine group and the heroin group, about two-thirds of the patients stopped injecting over 10 months.
Modafinil as a cocaine maintenance option
Modafinil is a newer stimulant drug that doesn’t carry the risk of addiction like other amphetamines. This makes it almost a perfect candidate as an alternative maintenance drug. The only downfall to Modafinil is that it is less effective in treating the most severe addictions.
It is believed that many cocaine abusers or stimulant abusers suffer from attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). ADHD only affects about one percent of the general population and it shows up in about 30% of cocaine and amphetamine addicts. Psychiatrists are very hesitant to give ADHD medication to patients with a history of addiction but some studies have shown that cocaine maintenance may be exactly what this group of cocaine addicts or stimulant addicts need. It is believed that many cocaine addicts abused drugs as an attempt to self-medicate.
None of the research about cocaine maintenance option states that it will work for every cocaine addict. But there is never any kind of medical treatment that works 100% of the time. Many people believe the cocaine maintenance options are something that could be of real benefit for cocaine and stimulant addicts everywhere.