Methadone, a synthetic opioid, is a Schedule II narcotic that has legitimate medical use as a prescription painkiller, but it has a high potential for abuse. Working on the same receptors in the brain as morphine and other opiates, it is commonly known for treating addiction to heroin. Methadone causes one in four opioid-related deaths.
Available as a tablet or liquid, methadone is designed to block the euphoria that comes with other opioids while still treating moderate to severe pain. As a result, it is much more difficult to achieve a high while taking methadone. In fact, methadone serves to block the high of any other opiate or opioid, which is why many people substitute it for heroin.
Yes. In fact, those who use methadone to overcome a heroin addiction are at a higher risk of abusing it. By taking more than is prescribed (or using it without a prescription), methadone can cause sedation, which can feel mildly euphoric. Those effects can be amplified by taking the drug intravenously, rather than by mouth. Side effects include:
Despite the fact that it’s hard to get high off of methadone, it’s a very powerful opiate. Methadone overdose is possible. Symptoms include dizziness, nausea and vomiting, constricted pupils, high blood pressure, and trouble breathing. A methadone overdose can be fatal.
Many people who are prescribed methadone to treat heroin addiction also struggle with addiction to alcohol. Methadone is especially dangerous when paired with depressants, including alcohol and prescription medications like benzodiazepines. Together, they can cause the central nervous system to shut down, leading to low blood pressure and respiratory distress.
It is very important for people who are on a prescription for methadone — whether for pain or for heroin addiction — to take it exactly as prescribed, and to communicate with their health care providers any other substances they might use.
While methadone abuse does not occur as regularly as the abuse of other opiates like heroin and opioid prescriptions, it does happen — and can be a challenge to treat. However, at Harbor Village, our behavioral health specialists have extensive experience dealing with addictions of all kinds and can provide methadone treatment.
Our facility offers the full spectrum of care including medically monitored detoxification, residential rehabilitation, partial hospitalization programs, intensive outpatient programs, and outpatient treatment.
During the recovery process you’ll find peace and healing in our wellness program, featuring meditation and yoga for greater mindfulness. Our evidence-based therapy offerings — including cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, and motivational interviewing.