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.

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.


Drug Addiction : Finding Help For Loved Ones

Finding Help For Drug Addiction

Drug Addiction

Drug Addiction

 Drug Addiction Quick Skip to:

Drug Addiction Treatment Center Directory
Methadone Clinic Treatment Center List
Suboxone Doctor in Your area


Getting help for a person you know with a drug addiction is a rough process. It is challenging to confront your family member and talk about the difficulty they are going through. Some may anticipate losing the relationship while others fear the friend will take even more drugs of abuse. There are two parts to this course. The first piece is getting together with the loved one and having a talk with them. The next part is finding the relief that is acceptable for them.

While you are getting prepared to talk with your loved one about their drug habit, make certain you are in a secluded situation. Try to talk to them when either of you are not under a lot of stress. Arrange something happy to do on the weekend with the friend. Try to start by expressing to them you care for them and that you are fearful at things that are going on in their life. Make clear the problems that you have witnessed happening with them and that you anticipate they want to get relief. You want to see how motivated the loved one is to get help.

Some people with a drug addiction may react well to being petitioned to get help by a person who has their best interest in mind. They may just required a little help with making the decision to look for treatment. Most probably, your friend will not be wanting to seek treatment. The process of determining to get help with a drug addiction can last many months or even years. Just reminding the family member at intervals the problems you see is the most constructive deed you can achieve. If you are seeing the family member doing things that place them or others in danger, you can go to any close drug treatment center. They will help in deciding whether there needs to be mandatory steps taken an if the friend needs immediate treatment against their will.

Forcing drug treatment on loved one is only to separate them from harm’s way. Although some persons do take steps with compelled treatment, plenty don’t. When they are let go, they may be disinclined to get any more help from others. Addiction treatment is a long process. A brief stay in an hospital will only get them on the way of recovery, but they are going to need ongoing help for many months or years. Securing them aid requires a lot of fortitude.

Acquiring Aid with Painkiller Drug Addiction

The treatment for drug addiction has gotten better over the preceding twenty years. There are several new medication treatments that may be beneficial. None of them is a panacea, and each has it’s problems, but countless numbers people have been aided.

Addiction to legal medications is a problem that is becoming confirmed as a major problem. May clients have been introduced on pain pills for a specialized problem such as back pain. We are not sure why, but a chunk of these persons will at the end of the day display addiction to the medication. In days gone by, drug addiction to opioids meant injecting drugs. This is no longer the fact. There are millions of people addicted to physician prescribed pain pills.

Some persons can stop their drug addiction to opioids by securing encouragement from their Family Doctor with getting removed from the opioid. Becoming clean from the painkillers works for almost all persons. Medications can be given by your doctor to assist lessening of the withdrawals from a cutback in the opioid medication. Others need longer treatment. They are rotated to a new drug such as methadone, and slowly reduced from the medication over a period of months or years.

Some clients are unable to get off the drug without backsliding to their old opioids , so they are kept on the methadone for as long as required. This is called maintenance treatment. There is an alternate method, Suboxone treatment, which is a newer medication that does the same thing. It is also safer than using methadone.

There is an additional choice for prescription drug addiction when sobriety is a problem. This is the treatment of an narcotic antagonist such as Vivitrol. This medication blocks any opioid drug in the brain so the person will not sense extreme happiness. This type of medication is now ready for use in a longer acting set preparation. It mainly helps coax an individual to not act on an impulse to use drugs because it won’t let them get high.

Summary of Getting Drug Addiction Help

Helping a family member with a drug addiction requires calmness and caring. Reminding the person you care for of the unmanageables in their life coming from from drugs,  that you care for them, and that you will help them seek help is the best way to help them. Many individuals take years to decide to accept drug treament. For some, forced treatment makes them face getting help. There are newer medications available for opioid drug addiction. Reviewing these medications with a doctor can help determine which is the most fitting for you or the person you are trying to help who has a drug addiction.

Drug Addiction Resources

If you are looking for more information on Suboxone, find a suboxone doctor and read artices on suboxone
Find oxycontin addiction treatment and information.

National Institute On Drug Abuse

What is Methadone Treatment ? Facts On This Opioid Addiction Treatment

Methadone Treatment Basic Facts

Information on the website of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) features the following information about methadone treatment for people who are having problems with opiate addiction:

  • Methadone Maintenance Treatment (MMT) began in the 1960’s. Medication along with vocational and social counseling is part of methadone treatment
  • Untreated Opioid Addiction costs 20 Billion dollars per year

    Methadone Treatment and Methadone Maintenance

    Methadone Treatment and Methadone Maintenance

  • Up to 10,000 people die per year from IV drug use
  • Methadone Treatment stops opioid cravings
  • Methadone Treatment stops opioid withdrawal
  • Methadone is taken once per day
  • 70-80% of Methadone Patients have Hepatitis B
  • Methadone Maintenance Treatment is very effective
  • Methadone Treatment is available in most cities

Problems with opioids have gone back hundred’s of years. Some treatment approaches need a very high level of motivation (abstinence, therapeutic communities, step programs) and are not helpful for many. Methadone treatment can help on it’s own, or help those where other addiction treatment has not helped. So what’s in it for you?

The Benefits of Methadone Treatment:

  • Patients stop or reduce injecting drugs
  • Reduction of the use of opioid drugs
  • Decrease of transmission of blood borne illnesses
  • Patients have healthier babies
  • Patients have more stable employment and a more stable family
  • 30% reduction in early death
  • Less criminal activity

Methadone Treatment : How Safe is It?

Using an opioid that is prescribed and monitored by a physician for the treatment of opioid addiction has been used in the United States since the 1800’s.  In fact, around 1914 several thousand doctors went to prison for prescribing opioids to their addicted patients after the Harrison Act. It prohibited this type of drug treatment. Only until recently, have patients been getting steered by society toward treatment. Between 1914 and around 1970, addiction was basically criminalized and many simply ended up in jail.

Methadone treatment has been studied since the 1960’s.  The White House Drug Policy Fact Sheet on Methadone states the following “When methadone is taken under medical supervision, longterm maintenance causes no adverse effects to the heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, bones, blood, brain, or other vital body organs.”  When taken appropriately, methadone doesn’t have serious side effects.  The are some side effects of methadone (and a related medication suboxone).

When taken as directed, methadone will not cause a problem with your employment.  You will not suffer from a change in your intelligence from methadone treatment. You should be able to drive without problems with being sedated.  Although methadone is an opioid medication, at the correct dose, it will not cause a person to “get high” and it will prevent any opioid withdrawals from occurring.

Methadone treatment has been the standard for treating opioid addicted pregnant patients.  The substance abuse and mental health administration has a pamphlet that discusses this information in more detail. We now have 40 years of experience managing patients on methadone who are pregnant.

Finally, methadone treatment is highly monitored. In fact, it is one of the most monitored treatments in the United States.  The chain from the methadone manufacturer all the way down to the requirements of clinic are watched closely.  The Drug Enforcement Administration along with State Agencies keep close tabs on the clinics to ensure their safety.

Summary of Methadone Treatment Facts:

Methadone treatment is a highly monitored, safe treatment for opioid addicted individuals.  We have over 40 years of experience with the use of methadone and it has been well studied.  Methadone has helped hundreds of thousands of individuals break the cycle of addiction, get back their families, and maintain employment. It keep people out of prison and improves their lives. See the links below for more methadone treatment information including suboxone treatment.

Here are some other methadone treatment useful links:

Suboxone Treatment : This is another alternative for the treatment of Opioid Addiction. It is a medication based treatment and works well.  This site has a suboxone doctor directory and helpful articles on suboxone.

Centers for Disease Control : This link will bring you directly to the the source pdf for this article.

White House Drug Policy : This link brings you to more information on methadone and other sources. It is another pdf file.

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 including Suboxone treatment of oxycontin addiction. Find a Suboxone Treatment Clinic in your area.
Dr. Rich has written more articles on the cost of oxycontin, buprenorphine (Suboxone) including frequently asked questions and a recent post : How Do I Find A Suboxone Physician?

Opioid Addiction : 10 Questions For You

Opioid Addiction: The Problem

Opioid Addiction : 10 Questions If You Have It

Opioid Addiction : 10 Questions If You Have It

Opioid addiction is a major problem in the United States.  Statistics from the National Institute on Drug Abuse indicate that there were almost 10 million abusers of prescription drugs in 2009. The number of people overdosing on prescription narcotics (by accident or not) has tripled since 1999. Seniors in high school are using prescriptions (10%).  Most recreational use of these prescriptions comes from friends or family members. Oxycontin has become a real problem.

Many people began using opioids for a medical issue such as leg pain, only to have their use become an opioid addiction. Others began by partying in high school only to find they needed to keep using. Many people then wonder if they have an addiction. They want to stop the medication, but they are starting to have problems like withdrawals. They may have never had addictive problems before. Here are some signs of opioid addiction:

Top 10 Signs of an Opioid Addiction

1. You sell items in your house and use the money for opioids-another almost sure sign of addiction.
2. You keep using opioids despite problems such as money, family, legal, or medical problems.
3. You are involved with other drugs of abuse. Having an addiction to alcohol or other drugs of abuse makes you at a greater risk of developing one with narcotics.
4. You go to perilous places, have dealings with questionable people to obtain pills. Seeking opioids in dangerous situations is usually a good sign of a problem.
5. Family or friends say you use too much pain medication. There are arguments over your use.
6. Your day is spent thinking of the drug or trying to find it.
7. You go to more than one doctor for pain medication.
8. You take prescriptions from your spouse or others. Taking other’s prescriptions is a sign of a problem.
9.You are take more pain medication than prescribed by your physician .
10. You skip or are late to family and work responsibilities to use of obtain opioids.

Avoid Opioid Addiction

Opioid medications have been a savior for people with pain. However, there has been an increase in the number of people with addiction problems from these medications as they have become more widely available…and diverted.  The first way to avoid Opioid addiction is to only use prescription medication under the care of a single physician. Having different doctors prescribing narcotics to you will eventually cause problems. Always talk to your physician before changing the dose of your prescription.

The next way to avoid problems with opioids is to discuss with your physician  alternative chronic pain treatments such as massage or acupunture. There are other alternative treatments. We are finding that chronic pain does not get better with narcotics, so it is worthwhile to look into other treatments for the pain including weight loss, exercise, non-narcotic medications, surgery, stretching, and getting adequate sleep. All these should be discussed with your doctor.

Opioid Addiction Signs Recap

There are many signs of opioid addiction. Others easily see the problems caused by the opioid use and usually will tell you. Other signs are doctor shopping, escalating your dose to high levels over time, and having family, social, and employment problems from the opioid. Be sure to periodically talk with your doctor about getting off opioid medications and if this would be the right choice for you. Long-term opioid use can be more harmful than helpful.

Here is more help on Opioid Addiction Help and Treatment

  • All About Suboxone : A website that discusses the use of Suboxone for the treatment of opioid dependence.  It also contains a doctor and clinic directory to find help near you.
  • Oxycontin Treatment Directory: Site devoted to Oxycontin Addiction. It contains a database to find treatment help in your area
  • National Library of Medicine: This link specifically discusses opioid dependence.