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Addiction: Substance Abuse Community
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Avatar universal

Can Somebody Explain Methadone to Me?

Ok...so Methadone is to get off of heroin, right?  But from reading this forum it sounds like it's addictive too.  I don't get it, people get put on it to get off one drug just to be addicted to another?  Why does somebody go on it that is addicted to heroin.  Do tell.  I am sure there is something I am missing.  Thanks....had to ask.
12 Responses
Avatar universal
Are you an addict or living with an addict? For someone that isn't an addict, no they wouldn't understand at all. I'm not for methadone at all. I went cold turkey off my meds. BUT a lot of people can't. It's also not just used to get off heroin,it's used to get off any kind of opioids. Normally the best way to use the methadone or suboxone is in a rehab clinic where they switch you to one of these then taper you off before you leave. Yes some people go on the methadone program to get off there drug of choice because it's killing them mentally and physically. So although I don't agree 100% with methadone, I know a lot of people out there would be dead without it.
Avatar universal
Oh sorry, I am 19 days off of Vicodins and Tramadols.  I was just browsing around the forum and didn't understand the concept of giving it a new addictive drug to a heroin addict.   Just curious.
Avatar universal
Oh no don't be sorry at all! I wasn't judging your question At all. No worries at all. :)) and YAY on your clean time!! This is a great place to stick around and keep posting. Really helps you feel not so alone. Were all going through the same thing here. Did you detox at home ct?
Avatar universal
Ok I said "at all" way to many times in my last post. But I think you got my point. Lol
Avatar universal
Hi...your question is a good one.

Methadone has an interesting history.  It was developed in Germany, under Hitler's rule.   The Nazi's put a lot of money into science and research.   One of Hitler's plan was the re-organization and re-structuring of the German trade and industry, so there was also a stepping up of efforts to become independent on the import of opium needed for the production of morphine.

And so...as the result of many, many experiments (during which other pre-methadone type drugs were developed) methadone was developed.  

It differs from heroin in that it is completely synthetic; man-made.

Is it addicting?  Yes, very.   Why then would it be prescribed?  Here is why:

If you are using street heroin, you don't know the quality, quantity or purity of the product you're injecting in your veins.   You could be getting rat poison.   Or something far more stronger than your body could handle.   Many famous people have died because of the latter.

Janis Joplin, my fav singer of all time (the picture under my username is of her) died on October 4, 1970, after shooting up just one time.  She was a regular user of smack, often shooting up ever 4 hours all day long.  BUT on this particular night, the $50 bag she had just bought from her dealer was very strong.    (The story goes that the chemist her dealer used to test his product was out of town or sick, so he just sold the H uncut.)    


One shot was all it took to kill her.  11 other people died that night in LA from the same batch of heroin.  

With methadone, the user has a product that is of a KNOWN quantity and purity. NO guessing, no hot shots, no AIDS, Help C, and all the other nasty stuff you can get from needles.

Does it produce another addiction? Yes.  But one that can be monitored, stepped down, and controlled.    You cannot do that with street drugs...no one ever told their dealer "put me on a taper."  

Hope this helps...
6726276 tn?1421126668
Congratulations on your 19 days.
And to never again. Thank you for a very informative post.
I was just going to add that Heroin is something you can go to jail for even trying to buy it. Methadone from a Dr is legal. I have the opinion that it's not good for people trying to get off Dr prescribed pain medication. I do think that some heroin users can get clean without it. But for those that can not, it's a safer alternative to heroin.
Avatar universal
Methadone is even more addictive than heroin and the detox is at least 4 times as long. Most addicts I have met say they wish they would have quit what they were on, even iv heroin addicts. I believe methadone is the single most difficult opioid to detox. So, why would an addict use methadone?

My opinion is if one is in a life threatening situation and/or breaking laws due to their addiction, theft, violence, etc... Methadone is better than death or a life in prison. Yes, one still has to detox the methadone, but the steady supply and long half life help keep a level blood serum of opioid in one's system. Most opiate addicts are not theives, so long as they have their drugs, it is the running out that make the desperate acts, so having regular supply gives one time to learn coping skills, rather than chase dope. I also think methadone should be used only when suboxone doesn't work due to allergy or bad reaction.

Suboxone doesn't have an OD potential and gets you less high, while methadone has killed more people in my town than cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine combined. When methadone was legalized to prescribe by doctors, rather than having to go to a clinic, the death toll started rising. Suboxone was released by the FDA around the same time methadone was allowed to be prescribed in pill form for pain patients. Both drugs took off in the market in the early 2000's. Both drugs have a longer detox than other opiates, Fentanyl running neck and neck with methadone, and sub being as long, but not as severe.  

Why do I think doctors put so many people on opiates to cure them of opiates, job security and profit, there really is no logic in it. It is like the doctors want immediate gratification of patients acting better, much like an addict wants immediate gratification of feeling better. I think the problem is cultural and philosophic, there is no such thing as a free lunch. There are good doctors who prescribe these drugs, I am sure of it, I just have not met one yet, but have heard others say they met one. For example, to put a norco addict on methadone secures more sales, in most cases, many years of sales. Once one is on methadone 5 years, I have heard many doctors say that you are a lifer, you will never be able to quit methadone. clinics say that too. My doctor and therapist were amazed I quit methadone on my own, with bipolar, apparently I am an anomaly they had never seen before.

My opinion, methadone is a very last act of desperation, when everything else has been tried. That drug almost killed me many times, so maybe I am biased or just have life experience that proves it's dangerous, but it is extremely rare that I would suggest methadone. I think I have agreed it was a good idea once, when the person had a bad reaction to sub, was gonna die from heroin, and was desperate enough to do ANYTHING to get their heroin, prostitution, theft, anything. I have talked with at least 1000 addicts detoxing, since I quit, methadone almost always does more harm than good, but there are exceptions, just not that many.

To add to Never's post, Hitler's troops were being experimented on with these new drugs, without knowing it. I read some research on how methadone was put in their water at dinner, to calm down the soldiers, the way the U.S. did experiments on our troops with LSD and amphetamines in the early 60's. Then at breakfast, Hitler's troops would be given amphetamine to start the day of fighting. The methadone would keep anyone from going awol, one day or two without, and the troops would come crawling back. The amphetamine gave the adrenaline needed to be a killing machine with no emotions around it. I am not sure this is true, I have not been able to find more evidence to back it, but our experiments on our troops makes me believe that was a world practice from the 40's-1970's, when most drug laws were invented.

Anyway, methadone has a bad history, bad side affects, and bad modern distribution, it is one industry I would gladly boycott.
Avatar universal
I detoxed at home, warm turkey :-)
I took months to wean down and had a supply of Xanax for sleep.  I started weaning around before thanksgiving last year.  I was on a very consistent dose for a really long time...like 8 or 9 years.  I took vicodins and tramadols.  about 4 pills a day....sometimes more, like on weekends.  Anyway, yeah, so I weaned down slowly and made to a 1/2 pill dose where I stayed for a good 2 or 3 weeks (this was key).
I found that having a plan made it easier...not that it was easy at all.  I forced myself to exercise, take hot showers and just knew it would suck for a good week or 2.  I am freelance so I wasn't working, thank god.  I feel normal and pretty good now.  I still have a couple random sneezing attacks during the day and yesterday i had that tingly skin thing.  I have no cravings at all and have real energy.
Avatar universal
Thanks!  So it's about keeping people off the streets and street drugs and being able to monitor the usage!
Avatar universal
Thanks for the response.  I was just thinking "BIG PHARMA" when I read this...."Why do I think doctors put so many people on opiates to cure them of opiates, job security and profit..."

Shame on our for profit medical industry.

Avatar universal
Thanks!  Morning of the 20th now!
Avatar universal
It started out as a synthetic opiod.  No need to rely on poppy seeds from countries in the Middle East; methadone can be created in a lab.

Then when the country was hit hard with a heroin epidemic around the time of the Vietnam War, methadone clinics began popping up everywhere.    

They have become money making machines, and methadone has proven to be a BAD choice to get people off heroin.  Weaver is correct; "done kills a lot of folks.   The combination of methadone and certain drugs (some SSRI's) can be fatal.  This is what happened to Anna Nicole Smith's young son, Daniel.  He combined Methadone with Prozac and died quickly.

Suboxone is saving lives, according to the stats.   This is a complex problem that won't be solved easily.   Right now our country is in the grips of an opiate addiction EPIDEMIC.  

But I digress.  
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