I've noticed a lot in these forums, as well as in many others, that there is a big trend of people giving Methadone a bad rep lately... I see people coming on to boards and asking if this is the right thing for them and a majority of the time they are basically answered and reacted to by being compounded with horror stories an letters in all caps informing them to STAY AWAY FROM METHADONE.. IT IS THE DEVIL!!!
Now in many ways, I can see where these people are coming from. I have been on the Methadone program now for almost seven years and have been at 190mg/daily since about the second week. I can even admit that I myself have been known to curse methadone and say that it's obviously been given to us by the Devil; which is quite ironic, considering the fact that it was actually created by the Nazis during WWII at the direction of Hitler to create a synthetic substitute to opiates and morphine because his supply routes were being cut off and could not get opiates to Germany.
Amazingly, they actually wound up creating something better than most opiates with Methadone, being that it lasted much longer than Morphine and others. http://www.streetdrugs.org/html%20files/Methadone.html And in the past years, I do agree that there have definitely been ups and downs. Not as many ups as downs really, although in my opinion, the life and death importance of the ups greatly outweighs any downs that I might have to live through.
The worst and more troublesome negative effect from methadone; aside from the weight gain, the excessive sweating, the uncanny cravings for sugar products, and the fact that even though they claim that you don't build up a tollerance to methadone, I am convinced that you do.... Now aside from these fairly miniscule effects, the most serious effect I have found is that in the end, Methadone I believe is actually more addictive than the heroin and dilaudids that got me to this point. I fear going off of methadone and people I know who have gotten off have all told me that they can feel the effects of withdrawl from it even months to years after going off. This, I agree; *****!
So then, why do I stay on methadone and more importantly, why do I champion it, recommend it, and get a little infuriated when I see people blasting it as being so terrible. To be blunt; because it saved my ******* life. Before getting on methadone I had been to treatment 13 times. 8 of which were before I was even 19. My first time was when I was 16 when I was put in with a gram a day coke habit (shooting it) and a 20 pill a day Percocet habit; not to mention the pot and acid and pretty much anything else i could shove down my throat, up my nose or in my veins.
Since then I have as I said been in and out of treatments as well as out patients and even though I can obviously admit that I'm a frakin powerless addict and that every time I entered into a treatment (except for the first time really) I truly jumped in head first and tried and gave it my all and even became happy every time for as long as it lasted. But as is my nature, I always found myself back to my one and only true love of opiates. Aside from the one time I wound up in a nine month half-way house, at which I was sober for about three months at 19 but ended up taking off with a chick I met there and spent another six years of getting her hooked on my love and then feeding both of our addictions until i almost got thrown in prison by the DEA.
The point of all this is that every time I've gone into treatment, my addiction has gotten worse and worse, to the point where this last time before getting on the methadone program, I was only one step away from death or a mental institution if I was lucky. This being the case, I know from past experience and from my own psychological issues and from my own addictive nature, that if I was to go off; at least as of now; that I will not survive another walk in the dark. I will surely die and I thank god every day for this methadone that has so far kept me alive and clean from all the other side drugs that I also am in love/hate with.
Well on Methadone I discovered that I have Hepatitis C and I know for a fact that I would not have discovered that if I was still using. I never went to the doctor unless I was trying to score some Oxy's or something. I'd never had stuck around long enough to do the tests I had to take to diagnose my Hep C and all that is involved in the treatment that I eventually took on to try to cure it with interferon and riboviron. Unfortunately, my first test during treatment came back negative for hep C, but my second test at the end of treatment came up positive, though my Dr is convinced that it's just a false positive so we'll see.
As well as all that, I also would've never discovered that I have Type 2 diabetes, which I actually discovered as a result of blood tests from my Hep C treatment. Basically, had I not been on methadone (and I wasn't already dead or in the loony bin) I would still be on the streets scavenging money to support my heroin use for the day, no worry about food or anything involving keeping my health up to par, as my unknown Hep C and Diabetes wreaked havoc on my body, liver, and kidneys.
My point in all this is basically that people previously on Methadone should be more selective when giving out negative information regarding Methadone treatment because there are definitely many people out there whom methadone could actually save the lives of. Just because it might have not been the right thing for one person doesn't mean that it cant or won't completely turn another persons life around and pull them from the clutches of death. It will be up to them then how long they want to stay on and to weigh the positives and negatives as they affect them, just as I have to do every day. For now I chose to live and truly believe that this is the only way for now, though I definitely hope someday to feel comfortable enough and to find the courage to unbind myself from these chains, which they definitely are. I just think that they are much better chains than the ones that held me down prior to starting on a Methadone Program.
In closing, I think it is important to add that if one chooses to get onto a Methadone Program so to get off of whatever one is having trouble with, the best advice I can give to a new patient coming in is first to try to keep your dose at a low level. Most of the treatment centers I have seen or heard of will usually start you out at around a 30-40mg 'starting dose', and will then let you go up 5-10mg a day, usually, until you feel comfortable at whatever dose you deem fit, with caps varying from 100-300mg. Personally, I would advise that you stay around 40-60mg and don't go any higher. The truth is that you really don't need much more than this. I once knew a close friend and a severe heroin addict who'd been on one for almost thirty years and could shoot up more dope than I'd ever seen one person take in in my life and he was fine at 50mg a day. I think; or really know; that the problem is that addicts being addicts will go as high as they will let us no matter what we truly need. I am guilty of this also; when given the choice I went up to 190mg right away. I was throwing up at 70, yet I continued to go up. It didn't take long though to get used to the higher dose and then I was stuck with it. The reason I suggest any new patients to stay at a low dose that will keep you more than comfortable, is mainly because when or if you ever decide to get off of the Methadone, it will be much more easy at these lower doses. Do not make my mistake please.
Finally, the last advice I'd offer is that you keep completely free from all other drugs and don't cheat on your doses (such as taking extra from another day's bottle; leaving yourself short on a different day)... As soon as you start deviating from the program you will surely encounter problems and have a bad experience