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Methadone Abuse 101

Discussion in 'Opiate Withdrawal Treatment' started by Jen S., Oct 4, 2014.

  1. Jen S.

    Jen S. Guest

  2. Determined2014

    Determined2014 Senior Contributor

    I never knew that , if one mixes methadone with substances like alcohol that they can easily die if t hey overdose on it,thank you for the information, I just thought it was a prescribed drug that had no effects, but I now have a clue of how it can kill people.
  3. NikkiDesrosiers

    NikkiDesrosiers Senior Contributor

    Indeed methadone is a seriously dangerous substance to tamper with - so easy to overdose on - and the long term effects of abuse are unreal. Unfortunately, people who are addicted to something as hard as methadone are likely doing other drugs as well... which does hugely increase the risk of reaction and potential overdose.
    confused33 likes this.
  4. snlich

    snlich Member

    It is such a shame that people think that methadone can be a cure all.

    I can't count how many people I know that try to get on methadone and think "Oh, once I do this, everything will be fine". They almost ALWAYS end up just using again and trying to balance their methadone addiction with something else. I say almost because I've personally never met a person who has stayed sober on it, but that doesn't mean they aren't out there.
  5. Michelle

    Michelle Member

    I was first on methadone in the early 1970s, during a time that they truly had no clue what they were doing. At that time, in California, they offered a 21-day detox with methadone. It was available only in-patient in the mental ward of the County Hospital, and there were only two slots every 21 days.

    I was 17. They started me at 180 mg. As I said, it was still being used there experimentally.

    I think I got more loaded in the first week there than I'd ever been before or after. It may well have factored into why I remained a drug addict for the next 18 years.

    In any event, years later, in the 1980s, I was on maintenance, at a blockage dose. As a heroin addict, I had no comprehension of blockage. When I found that using more opiates only got me into the hospital, I switched to speed and cocaine. That didn't do anyone any good.

    But I stayed on the maintenance. Until I was arrested after two or three years. They would continue to dose people in jail for three weeks -- not wean, but maintain -- and then, if you weren't out at that time, you were on your own.

    And I was. It was literally 18 months before my digestive system got close to normal, and about that long before I could be in public without the worry that I would have "an accident."

    Although I was an opiate addict for a few years after that incident, I would never have considered trying THAT stuff again!

    It is notable that although there were "counselors" at the clinic, one would have to ask for help or guidance specifically in order to interact with them. It seemed to me -- even in my wobbly state -- that they were a bit invested in keeping in business.
  6. LitoLawless

    LitoLawless Senior Contributor

    Thank you so much or the information. Methadone is one of the most serious drugs I have encountered in my lifetime, and it has always scared me. I had a friend who was suffering from withdrawal one time and it was one of the scariest things I have ever seen. I hope that a lot more people can become aware of this situation, as well as learn how to identify the signs of abuse and overdosing.
    confused33 likes this.
  7. angel_lou

    angel_lou Active Contributor

    Its such a shame people have to abuse the one thing that can really help you get clean from Heroin. Done properly it 100 % works, I know from personal experience. I dont like to hear methadone getting a knocking as it is the person abusing the program thats the evil one, not the medication used to treat it.
  8. matt1rl

    matt1rl Member

    Heroin overdoses are far to common in my state. I have known quite a few people that have used the methadone treatment program. I have seen far to many people abuse it as well, or us other drugs on top of the methadone to achieve a high. It is sad that people abuse a program set in place to help them get better. I think perhaps the problem is is that there is not enough supportive counseling in some programs, but I could be wrong. It is smart to seek treatment either way if you have a drug problem, it can save a life.
  9. enice2377

    enice2377 Member

    Methadone is a full opiate antagonist, which puts it in the same category of all your hardcore opiates. This means that it fully saturates your opiate receptors and certainly causes a euphoric effect. Currently, it is prescribed for those hoping to detox from heroin. It also is prescribed to those who have chronic pain. The latter is the category I am in. I have had ten shoulder operations and as a result suffer from chronic pain. I wish there were alternatives out there, but honestly given the pain I endure on a daily basis, I really benefit from methadone. That said, I have had my battles with it taking sometimes too much and it is a slippery slope when dealing with a full antagonist. I would not recommend this drug unless you suffer from chronic pain that isn't easily solved by other time released opiates. For those struggling with heroin, I personally believe suboxone is a much better solution due to an almost zero euphoric effect. My life has been altered for ever due to the injuries sustained to my shoulders and the subsequent operations, and surgical scars. But I can honestly attest to an improved quality of life due to methadone; And for that I am grateful.
  10. nm1180

    nm1180 Member

    How many MGs of Methadone is the average dose per person these days? When I first started treatment, they started me on 40mg. I was getting off hardcore opiates. Pretty much everyone on the program would try their best to go up as many MG as they could, because they kept wanting to get high. That is the total opposite of what the program is for. I remember this one nice lady was on 250MG. I can't see how that wouldn't just make her sleep all day. I guess it all depends on how much heroin (or pills) you were using. I think about 8 out of 10 clients there were there because of heroin, and not pills. It was also a shame to see people stumbling in there to get their dose, when it was obvious they had just fixed right before. Standing there eyes closed trying to talk. Then they would get kicked out, and then couldn't get their dose. I assume that didn't really matter to them, since they could just go out and get a balloon of H anyway.
  11. angel_lou

    angel_lou Active Contributor

    I started on 90mg and am now down to 55mg. Im still using though not every day. Where im from the average starting dose is between 90-120 a day and you can stay on your dose as long as you like. There's no sense of urgency to lower the dose at all. Its better to be on a high dose and not using than a lower one and still using.
  12. nm1180

    nm1180 Member

    I went from 40 to 55mg. Went up 5mg at a time. That was only 15mg in about a 5 year period. How often did you dose down, and how much?
  13. angel_lou

    angel_lou Active Contributor

    I dosed down at 5mg each time but if you start to feel it, then the option to dose down just 1mg at a time is there. Once you feel ok on a dose, then its good to lower it. The key is to not use on top of your medication or you get nowhere fast.
  14. kana_marie

    kana_marie Community Champion

    It seems to me that using methadone to help with a heroine addiction is the equivalence of using cigarettes to help with a bubble gum addiction. I would love to know who originally thought this was a good idea.
  15. angel_lou

    angel_lou Active Contributor

    How did you come to that conclusion??
  16. kana_marie

    kana_marie Community Champion

    It's a metaphor.
    Methadone is worse than heroin in a number of ways. The withdrawals can last 4-6 weeks, as opposed to heroin withdrawals lasting around 7 days. They are both highly addictive, but only about 40% of heroin addicts are psychologically addicted, where as 90% of methadone users are psychologically addicted. Even the CDC will tell you that heroin addiction is easier to to get a grip on than a methadone addiction.

    So the bubble gum is representative of the heroin. It rots your teeth.

    Cigarettes are representative of methadone. You think it'll just rot your lungs and save your teeth. But you find out that it rots your teeth, too, afterall.
  17. angel_lou

    angel_lou Active Contributor

    I would think the percentage of addicts phycologically addicted (as well as physically) would be much higher than 40 %. You are correct in saying the cluck from methodone is much nastier than from Heroin. Do you speak from personal experience or is it just your opinion?
  18. kana_marie

    kana_marie Community Champion

    It's just opinion. I've never tried heroin. I knew I would get addicted as soon as I did. Everything I know about it is what I've read and heard.
  19. hunkydoire

    hunkydoire Member

    It is very unfortunate, but every single person that I have known that goes on methadone ends up developing a cross tolerance - and using heroin (or oxy, or their opiate of choice) during the day, and methadone in the morning. Then, when they get kicked out or quit going to the methadone clinic, they have to deal with withdrawals from hell the likes that most could not even imagine. Personally, I would rather see HAT programs in the states than methadone clinics...they are less harmful and users dont have to deal with weeks and weeks of prolonged agony if they want to kick the done.
  20. AleFirmani

    AleFirmani Member

    Goodness gracious, I always hate to see threads like this because methadone maintenance saved my life and I am one of the patients that was able to find recovery though methadone so I feel like people are not speaking from first hand experience when they denounce the use of methadone in recovery.
    Do you realize that your opinion is being read by many people and you could possibly cause somebody who could have been successful in Methadone Maintenance Treatment to shy away from a medically sound, historically effective, and comfortable detoxification?
    I battled heroin addiction for a long time and it was not until I moved to Italy and was referred to a wonderful methadone treatment center that assigned me the best psychiatrist I have ever encountered that I was able to get clean. So many people want to get 'high' on methadone. Usually its those people that suggest it is just a replacement for heroin. If you are following your induction and treatment plan correctly, you should never get 'high' on methadone. Methadone and heroin come from the same family of drug categorization but that is where the similarities stop. Methadone is a synthetic opioid that is long acting with an extremely long half life and is no good for intravenous use. Heroin is a full on opiate that is short acting with a very short half life and has 99% bioavailability when used intravenously. If you were following your MMT plan correctly, heroin would have had no effect on you as methadone blocks the effect of all other opiates by filling your opiate receptors completely. I will not go further into the science of it but the bottom line is Methadone, when used properly, works.
    I felt like I should comment because I have over two years clean and it would not have been possible with my methadone treatment and the services offered by my clinic. I tried EVERYTHING before methadone to get clean and it was my wonderful Pdoc and the clinic that assigned me to him that made me able to move forward and live a happy healthy life. I would never suggest other techniques but the fact of the matter is methadone is the most medically viable and historically physically safe detoxification program. Subutex and Suboxone's ceiling effect made it so they never were strong enough to cure my hefty habit's withdrawal and did NOTHING for my cravings,
    Those addicted to opiates and looking for a way out should definitely research their options. Like I said, I tried other routes. Rehabs, detox programs, cold turkey, NA, AA and even Suboxone. Methadone and the services made available to me through the methadone clinic finally helped me to get clean for the first time in my life and I am a little over two years clean.
    Tedsch and medievalmama like this.