Walter Ginter began using heroin in the early 1970s while serving in the Army. By 1977, desperate to kick the habit, he turned to daily doses of methadone, a synthetic opioid that eases withdrawal and decreases cravings. The treatment worked.
“I have a good life today,” says Ginter, 69, project director for the New York-based Medication Assisted Recovery Support Project. “I wouldn’t have it without medication.”
Ginter was a member of a National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine committee that examined the three medications — methadone, buprenorphine (typically sold under the Suboxone brand name) and extended-release naltrexone (Vivitrol) — that the government has approved to treat opioid addiction.