Methadone Maintenance Treatment Cuts Mortality Rates

For more than 30 years, the treatment of choice for Opiate addiction has been Methadone. Doctors have struggled along the way to find the most effective doses to help patients curtail their opiate cravings without succumbing to higher levels of methadone (it too has dependence-forming substances) than necessary.

Today’s contemporary course of action recommends methadone doses of at least 60 milligrams. However, physicians in treatment centers report a variety of doses that are effective, and many licensed Methadone treatment centers treat patients with doses that start at lower or higher than today’s recommended amount. Even with the range of Methadone doses, it proves to be the most effective treatment for addiction.


Although the use of methadone is associated with some side effects, like any medication, good reasons to give access to treatment of methadone maintenance patients engaged opioids are numerous. Research shows the effectiveness of methadone treatment can reduce:

  • use of other opioids
  • the use of other drugs, such as cocaine and heroin
  • mortality
  • risk behaviors associated with injection
  • sexual risk behaviors and HIV/STD transmissions
  • transmission of other sexual and blood borne pathogens

Moreover, scientists conclude that Methadone maintenance treatment contributes to improvements in:

  • the addicts physical and mental health
  • their life in society
  • quality of life
  • a smooth pregnancy

Maintenance treatment with methadone is also associated with better treatment retention.

Maintenance treatment with methadone may be advantageous not only for those who receive it, but also for the staff who administer and to the wider community and society as a whole.

For people who engage in opioid maintenance treatment with methadone provides access to a stable supply of legal drugs and classified on the pharmaceutical industry. It relieves the stress of having to constantly supply illicit opioids; constraint that often exposes them to criminal activity and risky sexual practices. Instead of living in a constant cycle of ups and downs due to repeated injections of heroin, for example, their mood and functional status stabilizes. In general, research shows that maintenance treatment with methadone in particular gives the following results:

  • less time per day spent to consume narcotics
  • reduction in opioid consumption obtained through illicit means (and maintain this stability as long as they follow their treatment)
  • reducing the consumption of other substances, such as cocaine, marijuana and alcohol
  • less time spent in drug trafficking
  • less time spent in criminal activities
  • less time spent in prison
  • mortality rates significantly lower among patients treated with methadone (three times lower) than in untreated patients
  • hazard reduction injection  and behaviors that are related
  • reducing risk behaviors for HIV transmission and STD
  • lower risk of HIV infection
  • potential reduction in the risk of contracting HCV  or other pathogens carried by the blood
  • better physical and mental health
  • improvement in society
  • better chance of getting a full-time
  • better quality of life

For pregnant women who engage in opiod addiction treatment with methadone, combined with adequate prenatal care, there is fewer gynecological complications, and decreased fetal mortality rates. Methadone protects the fetus against violent fluctuations in levels of opioids and frequent withdrawal symptoms common among pregnant women who do not receive treatment for their opioid dependence.

The longer patients maintain their treatment they increase their chances of avoiding crime, and preventing and reduce a relapse.

For staff responsible for implementation, maintenance treatment with methadone is used

  • provide an important medical and public health
  • establish partnerships and linkages with other service providers and to provide clients / patients a range of services and supports
  • to engage with patients in their care, positive therapeutic relationships and effective, and to gain experience with them
  • to contribute to the educational process and capable of bringing the treatment of opioid consumers to take a fresh look at themselves and their consumption of alcohol and drugs and to make changes in their lives

For the community in general, the potential benefits of maintenance treatment with methadone include:

  • the decline in criminal activity associated with the drug
  • the decline in prostitution
  • reduction in the number of discarded needles

In the whole of society, maintenance treatment with methadone provides:

  • a decrease in crime
  • a lower risks to public health


A total of 178 (3%) patients died either on treatment or within a year of their last prescription. The mortality rate among people off addiction treatment was almost twice that of people remaining in treatment. At the conclusion, Methadone treatment had 85 percent and higher chance of reducing overall mortality in opiate users if they were consistently taking the treatment.


It’s important to choose an effective treatment like Methadone for opiate addiction to avoid the yo-yo effect of relapse. All clinical studies show that Methadone maintenance is the best treatment to curb addiction, ease withdrawals and avoid mortality.

Methadone Ranks Highest Successful Regimen

Opiate addiction is a complex disorder and many people hold differing views about treatment. A controversial, yet effective drug treatment for teenagers is Methadone. Doctors rarely select Methadone to treat teenage drug addiction, yet it remains one the most effective drugs on the market today.


Today, opiates are a leading drug of choice among school-aged kids. Twenty-five percent of eighth graders have tried illegal drugs. For twelve graders, those statistics become more alarming. These statistics alert us to the epidemic of adolescent drug use and addiction.


Why Kids Abuse Drugs


Many kids use drugs for the same general reasons adults use drugs; to feel happy, stimulated or relaxed; to ease stress and frustration, tension, disappointment or anger. Drug use is primarily to take their minds off any troubles.


Most parents are more familiar with heroin opiates, not fully realizing brand name painkillers like Vicodin and OxyContin, are narcotic opiate drugs, prescribed for treating pain. Kids are more likely to find these opiate drugs right in their home medicine cabinet. The availability of opiates becomes more obvious at schools, where students sell individual pills during the school day.


Treating Teenage Drug Addiction


Drug treatment for adolescents is not that simple. Kids hate the very thought of drug treatment. Listening to boring lectures and having counselors dig deep into the past. Sitting in circles with strangers and forced to place feelings on display. The idea that the school system, court system and parents gang up on them, and force them to get help makes adolescents rebel.


The most effective treatment tends to be Methadone. The program often conflicts with school schedules; however, the bottom line is Methadone treatment is effective with few teens experiencing a relapse.


Very few drug addiction programs offer Methadone treatment to adolescent substance abusers; however, with the number of teen drug users steadily increasing, the question becomes which treatment effectively and quickly stops drug abuse.


Why Methadone Treatment


Methadone is a synthetic product, similar in chemical composition to opiates. Historically, doctors prescribed methadone to patients who were in extreme pain and those in drug addiction programs. Because of the close similarities, Methadone works quickly.


Methadone will greatly prevent the worst of the physical effects of withdrawal. While it may seem counterintuitive to give a drug in order to stop drug addiction, Methadone treatment has the highest success rate of all addiction treatment plans.


Once the patient stabilizes, and their tolerance levels are established, doctors reduce the methadone dosage, thereby weaning the patient.


Behavioral Signs and Symptoms of Opiate Use


Parents often remark they never knew their kids experimented with drugs and few know the marked signs and symptoms. Knowing what to look out for and recognizing the problems can render a faster solution. Here are some behavioral signs and symptoms to alert parents of possible drug use.


  • Uncharacteristic mood swings and aggressive behavior
  • Truancy and lateness for school or work
  • Deterioration in personal hygiene and dress
  • Covering up suspicious behavior by lying, being vague, etc
  • Unusual conflicts with authority figures
  • Sudden change of habits, loss of purpose in life and lack of motivation
  • Excessive borrowing of money
  • Stealing from family, friends, school
  • Selling personal property, with little to show for it
  • Deterioration in performance
  • Poor appetite and weight loss
  • Bouts of depression and shyness
  • Spending large periods of time away from home
  • Excessive sleeping


Many of these signs may simply be normal signs of adolescence or could be due to some other cause that has nothing to do with drug use. In order to verify your suspicions of possible drug use, it is necessary to back up observations with physical evidence.


Non-Methadone Programs Fall Short


Many of today’s teen drug addiction treatment programs are developed on the premise that the individual is ready to eliminate their substance abuse. These programs frequently function under the assumption that the individual has determined that a drug-free lifestyle is much better for them, however, in reality, someone in authority has made this decision, such as a parent, a probation officer or the juvenile system.


You’ll find, teenagers often refuse to start a drug treatment program. For those willing to try, there is a high rate of relapse. The bottom line is that coercion doesn’t work. Very few teens see the benefit of taking part in drug treatment.


In the last decade, the court system has referred more teenage addicts to drug treatment than any other source. Drug use and criminal behavior have a common link, and courts respond accordingly with drug treatment programs. While the courts, and schools, and parent interventions all provide positive fortification, juveniles are deceptive and most will fail drug treatment, particularly when addiction programs do not include Methadone.


More than 50 percent of teenage students have tried opiates that number is growing at an alarming rate. With such high numbers, parents must choose the best drug addiction programs that have a lasting effect – Methadone treatment tops the list.


Methadone Addiction: Why it’s so Hard to Quit

No drug addiction is easy to treat. Unless you’ve been there yourself, you really can’t understand, but a drug addiction is extremely difficult to get over. This is something that consumes your life, takes over, and you are helpless against it once you have gotten to that point. However, there is something you can do if you are willing to make a change. You have to be willing to work hard and stay dedicated, but you can get off the drugs, get clean and sober, and start living a normal life again.

Methadone is a particularly addictive drug. Also known as Symoron, Dolphine, Amidone  and Methadose, Methadone belongs to the opioid family of drugs. This prescription drug is often prescribed to treat the pain and withdrawal symptoms associated with heroin addiction. For a person trying to get off heroin, their doctor may prescribe this drug to help them cope while their body experiences living without the drug in its system. This not only helps make it easier for an addict to cope while they are dealing with intense withdrawal symptoms from stopping, but also can prevent serious medical issues such as heart attack and stroke.

In most cases, an individual is required to go to a public clinic or other center in order to receive their daily or weekly dose of Methadone. This is to prevent misuse of the drug. This drug may be taken anywhere from a few weeks to a few months, or even longer, depending on the doctor’s advisements.

Methadone is the first step to recovery for many addicts. It gives them the chance to get off the drugs without having withdrawal symptoms so extreme that they can barely function. For serious addicts, these withdrawal symptoms can last for months, even longer. For some people, they will feel urges for the rest of their life. It is definitely not easy to overcome a drug addiction, but this is a necessary process for someone hooked on drugs who wants to get clean. Methadone can help you get your life back, so if this is something you’re interested in, you should talk to your doctor to get more details. They will be able to provide you with the necessary information and get you a prescription if you are thought to be a good candidate for the drug.

The detox process is essential for anyone trying to get off heroin. Be prepared for serious withdrawal symptoms, including anything from muscle aches, anxiety and muscle tension to headaches, nausea and agitation. You may feel edgy, moody and miserable, you may notice that you’re sweating or even feel almost feverish. These are all normal, expected symptoms. Physical and emotional symptoms are expected, especially with a drug like heroin. These symptoms are occurring because you are stopping the drugs after heavy and prolonged use, forcing your body to become dependent without the use of the drugs.

Abdominal cramping, diarrhea, dilated pupils, goosebumps, nausea and vomiting are all common withdrawal symptoms of opiate drugs like heroin. If you notice you are starting to feel extremely unwell, experience heart palpitations, or otherwise feel lightheaded or faint, you may want to get in to see your doctor or to the emergency room at your local hospital. A health care professional can examine you and ensure you are not suffering any serious medical conditions.

You may have to take additional medication along with the Methadone, especially if you are experiencing very intense symptoms. You may be placed on long-term maintenance, which means you could be taking Methadone for the long-term or even for the rest of your life, if your doctor feels it is helpful for your recovery. You need to stay in close contact with your doctor to properly monitor your progress. They can ensure there are no potential complications arising as a result of your treatment, such as aspiration or dehydration.

The most important thing is that after you go through treatment, once you have gotten yourself on the right track and aren’t using anymore, that you do whatever it takes to stay off the drugs. The last thing you want is to end up back in the same situation you started, having to start all over from square one. Go through a support group or have regular sessions with a therapist, to have someone there to talk to and support you during this difficult time in your life. It always helps to have someone there who you can feel safe venting to, expressing your feelings and getting support from when you’re not feeling at your strongest.

Millions of people suffer from heroin addiction, and if you are one of those people, at least you know you have options. Methadone is an effective treatment for heroin addicts, offering many advantages to users as a means of treatment.

Methadone Clinic Locator

opiate clinic

There are many licensed methadone clinics throughout the US that provide methadone treatment for opiate addiction.

Data gathered by the National Institute of Drug Abuse show as many as 105 people die every day from drug overdoses. With the widespread abuse of heroin and prescription medications, more than a few of these deaths result from opiate overdose.

Making the decision to get help for an opiate addiction represents a new beginning in a person’s life. Methadone, a well-proven treatment for opiate addictions, has helped many recovering addicts maintain drug-free lifestyles for the long-term.

As methadone treatment for opiate addiction falls under heavy federal regulations, this drug can only be accessed through authorized methadone clinics. Locating a methadone clinic is fairly easy online, however it’s important to know what to look for in a methadone clinic program.

As with any search engine, methadone clinic locators allow you to narrow down a search to meet certain criteria. Since addiction affects different people in different ways, identifying a person’s treatment needs and understanding how methadone is used can go a long way towards selecting the right methadone clinic.

Regulation Requirements for Methadone Clinics

The Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration or SAMHSA oversees all methadone programs throughout the United States. The regulation requirements put in place by SAMHSA work to ensure authorized methadone clinics provide a safe treatment environment. This safety requirement also dictates how any one clinic approaches addiction treatment.

SAMHSA defines addiction as a medical condition or disease that affects different people in different ways. From this standpoint, methadone clinics are expected to employ an individualized treatment approach that considers each person’s condition and circumstances when developing his or her treatment plan. These provisions help ensure recovering addicts receive the type of care that will best meet their individual treatment needs.

Medication-Assisted Treatment Approach

According to the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration, methadone is a synthetic opiate drug designed to duplicate the effects of addictive opiate drugs without producing the characteristic “high” that drives addictive behaviors. As one of a few medication-assisted treatment approaches, methadone works as a type of medication therapy that helps recovering addicts gain control over ongoing drug cravings and withdrawal effects.

Though synthetic, methadone stills falls within the narcotics class of drugs and so requires strict monitoring and regulation through government agencies. Consequently, methadone clinics must meet certain federal requirements in order to dispense the drug. In turn, any clinics listed in a methadone clinic locator search must have the necessary certifications to treat opiate addictions.

Based on the protocols and guidelines put in place by regulatory agencies, methadone clinics combine medication-assisted treatment with behavioral therapies in order to provide a whole-patient drug treatment approach.

Methadone Maintenance Therapy Process

Methadone clinics employ a specialized type of opiate addiction treatment known as methadone maintenance therapy. Methadone’s therapeutic effects work in much the same way as insulin treatments do for diabetic conditions. It does this by supporting brain and body chemical processes so a person can function normally in everyday life.

When first starting methadone treatment, doctors must determine what dosage amount will best reduce withdrawal effects and drug cravings without producing overly sedating effects. Once a stable dosage level is reached, patients check in on a regularly scheduled basis to ensure they’re not experiencing overwhelming withdrawal effects or drug cravings. Dosage amounts can be adjusted accordingly.

Once a person reaches the point where methadone treatment is no longer needed, dosage amounts are gradually tapered off. Since methadone functions in the same way as other opiate drugs, tapering schedules should run for a minimum of 12 months to ensure a person doesn’t run the risk of relapse once treatment ends.

Methadone Treatment Benefits

While methadone clinics do follow certain procedural guidelines, clinics may also offer additional services as part of an overall treatment approach. Methadone’s ability to reduce withdrawal and cravings enable recovering addicts to take steps towards re-building normal lives while in treatment, according to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention.

Someone looking for vocational training and development may want to look for clinics that offer vocational assistance as part of the methadone treatment program. Recovering addicts with family obligations may have some work to do in terms of repairing family ties and restoring normal family function. Some methadone clinics offer a range of family services designed to help addicts regain connection within their family units.

As many people in treatment have come out of the criminal justice system, their rehabilitation needs can be quite different from someone who doesn’t have a criminal history. Some methadone clinics offer specialized services to help ex-cons regain their footing in everyday society. Whatever a person’s circumstances, the more specific your search for methadone clinics the more closely aligned the listings will be to your particular treatment needs.

Co-Occurring Disorders

Opiate’s damaging effects on normal brain functions gradually deteriorates normal brain functions over time. Co-occurring psychological disorders, such as depression, anxiety and bipolar conditions can develop as a result of long-term opiate abuse. These conditions can also trigger drug use behaviors as some people turn to drugs as a way to relieve feelings of anxiety and depressions.

For people who battle a psychological disorder on top of an opiate addiction, it’s essential that both conditions be treated at the same time in order for any one treatment to do any good. Even in cases where a person only suspects another condition may be at work, finding methadone clinics that offer treatment for co-occurring disorders is essential to ensuring a person reaps the full benefits of methadone treatment.


While the strict government regulations surrounding methadone clinic programs can make methadone treatment less accessible than other forms of treatment, government involvement does help keep program costs down. Most methadone clinics receive some form of federal and/or state funding, which enables programs to offer treatment services at affordable rates.

According to the National Survey of Substance Abuse Treatment Services, at least half of the people admitted to methadone programs paid out-of-pocket costs of $13 to $25 a day. With most forms of health insurance offering benefits for substance abuse services, this can further help defray program costs. For people who must pay out-of-pocket, many methadone clinic programs offer a sliding fee payment scale based on a person’s earnings level.

Knowing how you’re going to pay for treatment costs provides yet another way of narrowing down your search when using a methadone clinic locator.

Methadone Treatment for Long Term Addictions

Whether you are addicted to prescription opiates or street heroin, methadone treatment should be the last choice when seeking help for your opiate addiction. Many methadone treatment centers stipulate that a candidate needs to able to document at least three failed alternative treatments, before being accepted into a methadone maintenance therapy program. The reason for this is that you will still have a dependence on a synthetic opiate and must continue medication for a long period of time. If you have tried, repeatedly, to kick your addiction to opiates and failed each time, it may be time to give methadone treatment a serious try.

Methadone is a synthetic opiate that is used to curb the craving for heroin or other opiates. It blocks the euphoric feelings caused by opiates if you do use, but also allows you to function normally and helps you to maintain an opiate-free lifestyle.

Methadone works by attaching itself to the same receptors in the brain as do other opiates and pain killers.  Methadone does not produce the same sensations as opiates, but also does not leave you feeling physical cravings or intense withdrawal symptoms. It does help you to feel relatively normal and its effects last up to 24 hours, requiring only one daily dose. The effects remain stable so there is no need to continually increase dosage.

Methadone treatment is probably the best option for anyone who has been addicted for a prolonged period of time and who has tried and failed at other treatment options. Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a miracle cure; it is still going to take serious work on your part to beat any addiction and the other social or behavioral problems that have accompanied it. Addiction becomes a lifestyle; being around others who are addicted or are regular users, thinking about it, talking about it, obtaining it and preparing it are as much a part of the addiction as the high. These are things that will need to be changed in order to do more than simply abstain from the drug.  If these behaviors are not effectively dealt with, the chances of relapse remain high enough to be considered off the scale. Many patients in methadone treatment programs are dropped from the programs because they do not follow protocols or because they get caught selling their methadone. It can be very difficult to get back into a program once expelled or denied.

 The Different Methadone therapies Available

If you are looking for a short term program, or a quick detox, there are programs designed to quickly take you down to a lower level of physical dependence, effectively lowering the amount of opiates you require on a daily basis. One type of program usually lasts about ten days and will lower the dosage your body needs but not wean you away from your addiction. This is useful if you are using prescription drugs, needing too much money to procure the amount of drug needed, or actually requiring more than your body can tolerate to maintain any level of comfort. These programs will offer you counseling, but generally will only recommend long term therapy and point you toward local NA meetings. Other programs can last from 30 days to six months, with the goal of being drug-free at the end of treatment. All programs provide counseling and follow-up services.

Long term programs will start you at a dose that will help you detox from opiates, then will find an optimum dose that will assist you to maintain a comfortable level of functioning for a long period of time. These programs will generally last a minimum of one year, and many are available for an indefinite period of time. There will be certain criteria that must be followed while in the program; such as regular urine tests; attending therapy sessions either individually or in groups; attending NA meetings regularly or finding and maintaining employment. Most clinics also offer group and individual counseling for your family members, support systems and significant others.

Most methadone clinics are outpatient clinics that will require you to come in daily for dosing and any other treatments or therapy. As you progress through the program, most clinics will eventually allow you to take your medication home; first your weekend medications and eventually progressing to monthly prescriptions.

If you are addicted to heroin or any other opiate, you must first honestly admit that your life is no longer in your control. If you are ready to take back control and make the changes necessary to accomplish this, you are already at the threshold of making a change for the better. If you have tried programs or treatment in the past and failed, it may be time to evaluate the need for methadone maintenance therapy. There are clinics across the country that can help you to beat the addiction that has taken over your life and your being. It takes dedication, perseverance and the willingness to make a real change in your life to succeed, but success is possible and a methadone maintenance therapy program may be the first step in your recovery process.

The History and Changes in Treating Narcotic Addictions

Forty Years of Changes in Treating Addictions

Methadone hydrochloride is a drug that has successfully been treating opiate addictions for over 40 years. It is now widely accepted in both the medical community and psychiatric community, as the best treatment for people suffering addictions to heroin and narcotic pain medications. Methadone Maintenance treatment is quickly losing the stigma of being simply the last ditch attempt to treat long term addicts who are seen as a drain on society. Opiate addiction is finally being recognized for the widespread problem that it truly is.

Methadone maintenance treatment means treating the addiction as a disease and recognizing that, like many other medical problems, it may take long term treatment and prolonged use of medication to help the person recover. This is a fairly recent approach to treating addiction. In the past, addiction was treated more as a moral or personal weakness and people suffering addictions were not treated with the respect and understanding they deserved. When the accepted views toward alcoholism started to changed, the views about addiction also began to change. This brought about a search for a greater understanding of what causes addiction and how best to treat it.

Entrance into methadone programs has become easier in the last ten years. Clinics are no longer required to make acceptance criteria as stiff as they once were. This means a person can be accepted into a program without needing to demonstrate a prolonged addiction or a long history of failed attempts at overcoming the addiction without the use of methadone.

Methadone clinics are now available in many small cities as opposed to only in major metropolitan areas. This makes treatment available to people who live in small towns or other rural areas. Because most treatment centers require that a daily dose is taken under direct medical supervision for the first several weeks or even months, clients are no longer forced to move to other cities to receive treatment. Staying close to family members and other support systems can mean a quicker return to a normal lifestyle. Close-by treatment centers can also treat family members and friends who have been directly affected by the person’s addiction.

 How do methadone clinics help addicts?

Methadone is a synthetic substance, which means it is man-made in a laboratory and not the byproduct of a plant. It has been used to treat long term pain because it can effectively treat pain without affecting a person’s ability to function. This makes it ideal for people who have become addicted to prescriptions due to chronic pain. A single dose lasts up to 24 hours and does not require the dose to be regularly raised to achieve the desired effects. It does not, on the other hand, produce the feelings of euphoria created by other narcotic substances.

One of the important properties about methadone is that it attaches itself to the same receptors as other opiates and this action blocks the effects of narcotics if a person uses those substances while taking methadone. This means while the person does not experience the euphoric effects of the narcotic, he or she also does not experience the cravings and physical symptoms produced by withdrawal; the effects of the opiates are lowered, making them less desirable. This effect is most advantageous when addicts are attempting to lower the dosage of opiates that they require on a daily basis; the addicted person will not need to obtain the usual amount of illegal or prescription opiates.

Methadone is taken by mouth in pill or liquid form. This has significantly lowered the incidences of HIV and hepatitis in many cities, both frequently transmitted through the use of shared needles. Because it is taken by mouth and not injected, addicts who can no longer find a viable vein can still take methadone. Methadone is also suggested for pregnant woman who are addicted to opiates because it is safer for the fetus than other narcotics. This treatment is becoming more and more excepted around the world.

Studies have shown that methadone maintenance therapy, in conjunction with intense group and individual therapy and other social services, can successfully maintain a corrective effect, allowing the person to live a normal and productive life. Many people who receive methadone maintenance treatment are able to hold jobs, maintain meaningful relationships and raise families.

With methadone becoming easier to obtain, and more social services available in communities throughout the country, more and more people with opiate addictions are finding the help they need to put their addiction behind and start a life that is not based on drugs. Unfortunately, there are still many habits associated with the addiction that must be broken and changed for methadone treatment to be successful. The addicted person must make major lifestyle changes and stop associating with other people who are part of the past and this is sometimes the downfall of even the most dedicated recovering addicts. It can be very painful to stop being with people who have been a part of one’s life and sometimes even lovers or spouses. It takes determination and commitment to truly beat an addiction, but with the help of community-based methadone treatment clinics , therapy and social services, it can be done.


Methadone Abuse And How To Treat It

For those who are addicted to opiate narcotics, many opt to receive drug therapy treatment in an attempt to beat drug addiction.  Usually this is beneficial and helps thousands to overcome dependency, but for some it can mean trading one addiction for another.  Methadone is an approved drug that is often prescribed for use in helping to relieve the withdrawal symptoms associated with addiction.  A problem occurs when some use this medication in a manner not advised by their physician, such as taking more than is prescribed, or coupling it with other drugs to attain a euphoric sensation.

Methadone was initially, and still is, prescribed to help reduce severe withdrawal symptoms from drugs such as heroin.  It was approved for use by the FDA and has been used for over fifty years.  It is often the fear of extreme cravings, nausea and vomiting, hallucinations, fever and tremors, that keep many for attempting detoxification.  Methadone was beneficial because it helped to reduce or even eliminate some of the more severe symptoms.  Methadone is also use to relieve pain for those who have illnesses or injuries that result in chronic pain.  Long-term use or abuse of this medication can lead to addiction.  Many take it too often, and some take it with other medications.

Methadone, if not taken properly, is a dangerous and potentially life threatening drug.  This is because it comes with a list of potential side effects and some long-lasting effects that are detrimental to one’s health if taken improperly.  Every medication has possible side effects, and methadone is not exempt.  Most potential and serious side effects never occur, and doctors prescribe medications because they feel the benefit of taking it is higher than the risk of not taking a medication that may result in beating dependency.  Some of the side effects include swelling of hands or feet, mood changes, appetite loss, drowsiness and flushing.  Some more serious effects are nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, fluid retention, difficulty urinating, vision problems, headache and weakness.  The potential for serious side effects increases when the drug is taken against doctor advice, which makes the possibility for overdose or death a very real possibility.

As with most drugs, if abuse occurs over a long period, it affects the body in numerous negative ways.  Drugs can remain in the system for years after use.  Drugs lodge in the fatty tissues of the body and can cause damage long after some stop taking it.  We also know that drug abuse can lead to decreased intellect, difficulty learning, and difficulty paying attention and may tamper with memory.  Methadone abuse is particularly dangerous because it can slow breathing down making breathing difficult or impossible.  This is a strong medication, and usually it is only taken once per day.  For those who take it more often, there is a serious chance for overdose, coma and death.

Detoxification is necessary, but it is not recommended for those who have used Methadone long-term to stop taking this medication suddenly.  This is because a slow and steady weaning is safer.  Sudden cessation could mean an onset of withdrawal symptoms like restlessness, sweating and chills, wide pupils and muscle pain.  These symptoms are decreased with a gradual weaning of this medication.

Detoxification is a scary concept for some.  The symptoms can range from mild to severe, but there is help for these symptoms.  There are medications that can help decrease these symptoms, and while some might be fearful of trading one addiction for another, if the medication is taken as prescribed this is usually not an issue.  It is important to take all medications according to physician and label instructions to reduce the risk for dependency and life-threatening side effects.  Detoxification is necessary to rid the body of drug residue, which can increase cravings and cause health related ailments.  Of course rapid detoxification is an option.  This is where all medications are stopped suddenly and completely.  This will of course result in ridding the body of drugs, but should not be attempted alone.  A physician can sit down with you and discuss the best options available for success.

Taking medications that reduce withdrawal symptoms may help to increase success rates.  This is because it helps control cravings, which helps to decrease activities like injecting drugs and obtaining infections like thrombophlebitis, HIV and hepatitis C.  Methadone is still very helpful in treating dependency to opiates and heroin, but for those who end up with an addiction to Methadone, help is available.  Through other medications and the detoxification process, a drug-free existence is possible.  Addiction does not just affect your life, but the lives of those around you as well.  Personal relationships deteriorate, and work relationships may also be negatively affected.  Beating dependency will improve not only the quality of your life, but it may help to save it as well.

Methadone As Treatment For Dependency

Ask anyone with a dependency problem and they will tell you how life-altering this ailment is.  For those addicted to opioid narcotics, health can suffer as well as work, family, and personal relationships.  Detoxification is the first step in recovery, and often the reason for failure or relapse.  Detoxification comes with many serious withdrawal symptoms, and those who attempt this process alone are often unable to complete it.  Detoxification can be aided with the help of medications designed to alleviate or eliminate withdrawal symptoms.  By making withdrawal symptoms tolerable, it erases the fear involved with this process and raises the chance for winning the battle against addiction.  Methadone is a medication that has been used since the 1960’s to help thousands overcome addiction.  It allows for a slow detox with minimal withdrawal.

When drug abuse is mentioned, we often think of street drugs like heroin and cocaine, but illegal drugs are not the only threat for dependency.  For those suffering from illnesses or chronic injury, pain can be long-term and require pain medication.  Doctors often prescribe pain medications like hydrocodone to alleviate pain.  This medication, depending on the severity and of pain, will likely be taken for an extended period.  Opioid prescription narcotics taken for lengthy periods can lead to addiction.  The effectiveness of pain medication can wane over time, so many will begin to take too much pain medication, or take it frequently against physician advice.  Some will end up with an addiction problem without recognizing the signs.

Methadone works by blocking euphoria from medications.  This makes getting “high” difficult or impossible.  It also decreases withdrawal symptoms and the need for the drug.  This is a potent medication and those taking it must be monitored closely by a doctor.  It can be taken in pill or liquid form and is long acting so it is typically a once a day medication.

Withdrawal symptoms can range from mild to severe and rapid detoxification usually means increased symptoms.  These symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, hallucinations, pain, tremors, shakes and itching.  This is not a complete list of symptoms and it is easy to see how detoxification can be a scary process.  Methadone is beneficial in many ways.  First, since it is only taken once a day, this eliminates the need carry the medication with you throughout your day.  It affords privacy by eliminating the need for several doses per day.  If you do not want to let friends or employers know about drug dependency, this medication makes following your normal routine possible.  Since withdrawal symptoms are controlled, working and socializing maintain a possibility.  Severe withdrawal means temporarily withdrawing from life, but Methadone makes this unnecessary.  Drug users are susceptible to HIV and hepatitis via needles or decreased inhibitions and unprotected sex.  Methadone controls the need for the drug, therefore decreasing potentially dangerous behaviors.

Methadone carries its own risk for addiction since it is also an opioid narcotic.  This is usually not a concern if the medication is used properly.  Methadone also has the potential for some side effects, as most medications do.  These side effects range from mild to severe and are usually not a problem.  The more severe side effects, like allergic reaction, require immediate attention.  The mild to moderate side effects include decreased appetite, insomnia, sweats, constipation, irregular periods and nausea.  Moderate signs include vomiting, rash, abdominal pain and water retention.  These symptoms become concerning if ongoing or increasing in severity.  Immediate medical attention should be sought for difficulty breathing, rash, wide pupils, muscle aches and pain, chronic severe headaches, itching or hives.  It is important for nursing mothers to know this drug or any drug can be passed through breast milk, so discuss with a doctor if nursing a child.  This should not stop anyone from taking Methadone, as side effects are rare.  The risk of remaining dependent on opioids is life-threatening and a higher risk than taking Methadone to defeat addiction.

Methadone can only be prescribed by a doctor and those taking it should be closely watched by a doctor.  This medication needs to be taken as prescribed as addiction is possible.  Even though this medication blocks the “high” felt by other medications, it can initially produce a mild euphoria.  This may cause some to increase the dose in an attempt to obtain this feeling more often.  This is potentially dangerous because it can slow breathing long after the medication is taken.  This medication will likely be taken for several months and up to a year, and cannot be stopped abruptly.  A gradual decrease of Methadone is best to avoid side effects.  This increases the likelihood of success and remaining drug-free.  A life without dependency means better health, increased life expectancy, increased work functionality and repaired relationships.  With the use of Methadone, beating addiction is not only possible but it can be done without withdrawal signs and symptoms.

Treating Teenage Opiate Use

One of the most controversial and effective opiate treatments for teenagers is Methadone. Rarely chosen as the treatment of choice for teenage drug addiction, yet it is the most effective counteractive drug on the market today.


Opiate painkillers have become a favorite among school-aged individuals. Even more alarming is the ease in which to obtain painkillers in school. Well-known brand names like OxyContin, Percocet, Demerol and Vicodin are just a few narcotic opiate drugs prescribed for treating pain. When snorted, swallowed or smoked, these prescription painkillers create a euphoric effect that has become an attractive illusion to teens.


Treating adolescents is not an easy task. The daily requirements for Methadone, including meetings for methadone maintenance, often conflict with school and parental schedules. Very few drug addiction programs offer Methadone treatment to adolescent substance abusers; however, with the number of teen drug users steadily increasing, the question becomes which treatment effectively stops drug abuse.


Why Teens Choose Opiates?


The most prevalent cause of teen opiate addiction is because the drug is often easy to obtain. Opiates are readily available; over-prescribed by dentist, doctors and therapists. Far too many family medicine cabinets offer an abundant supply of prescribed opiates, and when not in the home, teens are able to purchase individual pills in the school locker rooms.


Signs and Symptoms of Opiate Abuse


We often hear parents say they were unaware their teenager was experimenting with drugs. When parents are able to recognize instances of opiate abuse it will become easier to get expedient adolescent treatment.


  • Marked and uncharacteristic mood swings or apathetic behavior; opiate abuse usually brings about a positive change in a teens mood or activity. Regular use may quickly cause a tolerance to the substance to build up, requiring increasing amounts. As the effect fades, the user will probably begin to suffer some withdrawal symptoms. Keep in mind, marked mood swings in teenagers is not a guarantee they are misusing drugs. It could be a characteristic of hormones.
  • Covering up suspicious behavior by lying or being vague; opiate abusers will often adopt strategies of deception to cover their mistakes and odd behavior. There may be evidence of deteriorating relationships with family, teachers or close friends.
  • Frequent short visits from new or older friends, and short excursions away from home; parents usually notice telephone calls are followed up by a succession of brief visits by unfamiliar people. There may be times when the teen will have to go out suddenly after a phone call.
  • Selling one’s property, with little or nothing to show for it; an obvious telltale sign of drug abuse, especially among teenagers, is the selling of one’s own property. Even items of sentimental value will be disposed of. Items such as gaming consoles, computers, televisions, MP3 devices, stereo equipment and jewelry may be disposed of at a fraction of their true value. This kind of behavior can become extreme to support a long-term drug habit. Another issue is when teens begin to sell household items that parents have purchased, without any remorse.
  • Excessive borrowing of money; once teenagers establish a regular drug habit, funding it may become a real difficulty. This is particularly true if a tolerance level has been reached that necessitates the use of ever-increasing quantities of opiates. Regular users, and particularly young users may never have any spare money despite parental help. Their continuing habit may force them into patterns of excessive begging or borrowing from friends and family members, without the intention of repaying those funds.


Maybe one in twenty adolescents actually wants to go to treatment. Many will swear they can quit at anytime, but most do not want to quit because giving up that euphoric feeling is frightening.


Non-Methadone Programs Fall Short


Most adolescent drug treatment programs are set up for the individual who is ready to give up substance abuse. These programs often operate under the assumption that the teenager has decided that drug-free is better, when in fact; most parents or the juvenile system are making that decision for them.

As it stands, teenagers refuse to enter treatment and for those who do, there is a high rate of relapse. Part of the reason is the coercion to get teenagers into a program. Teens rarely see the benefit of their participation in a drug addiction program.


During the last 10 years, the juvenile justice system referred more adolescents to treatment than by any other source. Courts have increasingly linked drug use and criminal behavior, thereby responding with drug addiction programs. The juvenile justice system now stands on the front line, advocating for more intervention, treatment and continuing care. Although these are all positive reinforcements, juvenile deception and irresponsibility tend to lead to failed opiate drug treatment, especially when parents choose a treatment other than Methadone.


Almost 50 percent of high school seniors have used opiates and with those statistics, parents should choose the most effective treatment option, which is Methadone.


To Suboxone From Methadone : Should You Change?

To Suboxone From Methadone: What If You Want To Switch?

To Suboxone from Methadone

To Suboxone from Methadone

You may be a person attending a Methadone Clinic and are considering changing you medication to suboxone from methadone. Maybe you are  interested in understanding the differences between methadone and that of suboxone treatment when used for narcotic addiction treatment. Methadone has been around for decades. Suboxone has only recently been used to treat opioid addiction.

There are several things to consider before making a change to Suboxone from Methadone. First, the switch can be complicated by severe opioid withdrawal. Methadone can be increased to a high doses to stop any cravings or discomfort. Suboxone does not work the same way. Many drug users benefit from the resources that are available at a Methadone Treatment Center that are not available with Suboxone treatment.

To Suboxone From Methadone: Medication Problems

During a change from to suboxone from methadone, one may have severe issues with opioid withdrawal. To switch to suboxone from methadone, your physician will have to first remove the methadone and this will cause opioid withdrawal. The way suboxone works, it can only be started once a person is in a certain degree of opioid withdrawal. This is referred to as Suboxone Induction. If a person on Methadone just starts Suboxone without getting off the Methadone, the Suboxone can cause opiate withdrawal on the spot.

Also, if the Induction phase of the change goes as planned, it could be several weeks before one feel comfortable on the new medication. You should be aware that some individuals may never show improvement on the Suboxone. They may just quit it and relapse. They sometimes will opt to go back to using Methadone. You need to weigh these considerations. Are you really willing to go through the chance of these issues occurring?

To Suboxone From Methadone : Methadone Is Stronger

Full mu opioid agonist such as methadone can be more dangerous than Suboxone. It can cause respiratory depression during overdose. However, one benefit of Methadone is a higher dose produces more of an effect for drug users. They usually can obtain relief at some level of Methadone. In fact, under the care of a physician, the level of Methadone can be pushed very high.

For those patients who may not want or need high amounts of Methadone in order to stop cravings or addictive behavior (seeking more medication, continued illegal opioid use, theft, etc.), the change to suboxone from methadone may be a good idea.  Changing to suboxone from methadone usually requires a person being able to reduce their Methadone use to 40mg per day or less. If they cannot get down to this level, they may not be a good candidate for Suboxone.

To Suboxone From Methadone : Other Issues

Although having to go to a Methadone Treatment Center daily is a major issue for many, it has its positive points. Patients having a lot of contact with Methadone Treatment staff are likely to get more of their problems addressed. Other psychiatric concerns such as major depression, schizophrenia, and manic depression will be treated at the center. Individual counseling is usually available for those in need. Even job training assistance may be present.

For those patients who are currently employed or have less severe family and social problems, switching to suboxone from methadone may be worth a try. Contact with a physician is usually once every four weeks when stable on Suboxone. Typically, if a client is needing counseling, they will need a referral to an outside therapist by their physician. Job training is not available in the doctor’s office. However, being on Suboxone has other positives. Not having frequent appointments with a doctor or clinic is a welcome relief for many. Patients feel they have more privacy being seen by their own physician. They don’t want to be seen attending a Methadone Clinic.

To Suboxone From Methadone : Summary

Switching to suboxone from methadone has helped the lives of many individuals who have an dependency to opiates. Suboxone treatment less complicated, appears to carry less embarrassment for patients, and it requires less total time. Not every individual will do well with Suboxone treatment and would be better served with Methadone. Those who don’t have adequate housing, have a high opioid dependency, and have other psychiatric illnesses may do better. Before making a switch to suboxone from methadone, be sure to discuss these issues with your physician.

Suboxone Treatment Directory And Methadone Treatment Directory

Dr. Rich is a Board Certified Psychiatrist with licenses in Texas and Hawaii. He specializes in the treatment of opioid addiction with buprenorphine and runs a FREE locator service to find Methadone Treatment.