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Addiction: Substance Abuse Community
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1416679 tn?1282083382

Methadone's Reputation

  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  
11 Responses
Avatar universal
HI and welcome to the forum....first of all let me say all opinions are welcome on our forum
and I do appreciate the time you took to give your honest of God opinion and first hand experience of how methadone is for you.....I agree it dose save lives..and in certain situations its use is justified for that reason...if your slamming a needle in your arm everyday or your eating upwards of 40 pills a day and you liver is ready to explode for the acetaminophen I agree methadone is better then that...my only beef with it is it is over prescribed for habits that dont justifie going from the frying pan into the fire...there are many that I have helped get clean that only had a small or moderate pill habit that where merely scared off by the idea of having to go threw withdrawals that try and use it as a "get out of jail free card'' only to get consumed by it and have to now face a withdrawal that is far worst then what they would have if they just tried in the beginning
I lived on methadone for 6 1/2 yrs I was originally prescribed it for pain management after all the pills quit working...I also abused the pills prior to methadone so at first it seamed God sent to me...I had all day releaf from pain and no euphoria to mess up my work day...it wasn't till I had a falling out with my pain management doctor over taking some spinal shots that where leaving scare tissue in my spine that I had no choice but to go to a clinic....I will also assure you ....you do build up a tolerance to the stuff I went form 30mg working for pain to 150ml and then it quit working for pain and I was left with a huge addiction to break and no idea how to do it...if I strictly lissend to the clinic I would have been tapering off for 2 1/2 yrs..I took it apon myself and did it in 8 1/2 mo with the help of a good taper plan given to me by a neo/natal nurse...it was a grueling 8 1/2 months in and out of withdrawals constantly hitting road blocks and having to halt my taper to deal with the withdrawals the last 6 weeks was agonizing sorta being in a constant state of withdrawal... once I made it down to 1ml and jumped it wasn't over it just began the post withdrawal is just as agonizing as the withdrawal itself I went threw physical withdrawals for 2 weeks and then was still sick for another 2 weeks the second month wasn't much better you  get hit with an energy crash that in itself is debilitating it took a good 90 days to even start to come out from under its spell...I have helped many come off this stuff and my withdrawal was typical its what you get to expect when you try to get off the stuff...I dont candy coat it...it shouldn't be and I truly believe it shouldn't be tryed untill many attempts have been made to get clean unsuccessfully and if it is chosen it should be use in conjunction with a good aftercare program with the eventual goal of getting off of it some day...not as a type of permanent drug insulin where your just switching one addiction for another... with aftercare you can eventually beet back the demons that keep you running to narcotics in the first place...now there is 2 true statements posted about methadone people reading here can make an intelligent choice if there a true canadent for methadone or are they getting in deeper then they want to knowing all the facts....I hope someday to help you break free of the liquid handcuffs also I devote a lot of time helping others break free of this drug...it is possible to live methadone free and life is so so much better free from its fog ...a fog that so many don't even realize there under till they finely break free from the stuff...good luck to you im glad the program saved your life...when your ready I will help you take your life back from methadone good luck and God bless.....Gnarly                        
1374653 tn?1289239473
I hope any considering methadone treatment can read these posts. I really think they both speak for themselves, especially RokyRakoon's.   I can respect the right to Roky's opinion and in some ways, it is the only path for many.  But it is not a simple matter of black and white, there are several shades of gray to this matter and it ultimately boils down to each personal situation.  

All we can do is put the information and experiences out there and allow people to make their own choices.  In my situation, I was not given the opportunity to know the real deal behind methadone and went into blindly, that is what I think people like Gnarly and myself try and warn people about.   I never tell them it is of the devil and they should not do it, I just state my case for how it really was overkill for my pill habit and ultimately made me pay a better price.



Avatar universal
There will always be 2 sides rather its about methadone,sub,tapering or ct,12 step or private counsling,religion,etc. Thats why we depend on people to be honest and tell THEIR stories and experiances. No need to embelish or sugarcoat,there"s usually plenty of experiances from both sides just like being able to find sites pro sub and sites anti sub. So,,100s of opinions for  or against but its always going to boil down to 1 person and 1 decision and after the decisions been made then there should be nothing but support from all,,regardless if you were for or against
1406964 tn?1283203866
OK guys, Feelings run high on this one obviously.....

I can only tell you how we use methadone in Scotland.

It is used as a harm-reduction tool, and is generally only prescribed to injecting heroin users.
For that reason it has indeed saved many lives. Its main function is to halt the spread of HIV, Hep B and Hep C, but also to reduce the risk of overdose. In some Edinburgh housing estates, there was an 'AIDS epidemic' in the 1980's and 90's. Since widespread introduction of methadone to those areas, AIDS is almost unheard of. Hep B and Hep C are still with us but they are greatly reduced, as is the number of overdoses.

There have been other effects too. Petty crime rates have fallen, and users with chaotic lifestyles have been stabilised, sometimes to the extent that they have managed to get and hold down jobs and relationships.

We have two schemes- methadone reduction and methadone maintenance. In both cases the user signs a contract with the prescribing doctor (to attend rehab, clinic appointments, counselling, not to use heroin and not to inject). The user gets regular urine tests and if they break the terms of their contract, their methadone supply can be stopped (in reality they usually get a second or third chance).

We have no laws about minimum or maximum doses.

Methadone reduction works in the short term but has a high relapse rate.

Methadone maintenance does save lives. Users stay on the dose they are maintained at (which may be increased or reduced by agreement with doctor) until they decide they want to come off.  We accept that some will stay on it for life, have no teeth etc, but at least they live a lot longer than those who continue to inject heroin.

Do I like methadone? No! of course not- it's far more difficult to come off than heroin is, but in the specific cases outlined above, it may be all we can do for hard-core heroin addicts that cannot or will not stop using, and would otherwise die.

I can see no justification for using it in any other circumstances. It is (very very rarely) used in the management of chronic pain, if nothing else provides relief for the patient.

Hope that's of some interest to you all.
954005 tn?1304626605
I agree with [email protected]
There is nothing productive or helpful that can come out of a reply like the hostile one that was submitted.  Using profanity and name-calling creates a hostile environment where not only the person being insulted can feel uneasy or "attacked"....anyone looking for help on this forum may just walk away feeling uneasy.  Whether someone agrees or disagrees with a post, there should never be any personal attacks like the one presented above.  
I hope that Roky still feels comfortable posting, and I hope that anyone in crisis who may have happened across this post, will still feel comfortable asking for help.  One of those people may be one of the minority who actually NEED methadone....
Avatar universal
[email protected]~

If you were more familiar with Stupid954,you would know he is not an arrogant man;hence his screen name...

He's extremely passionate on this subject and is colorful at times but never arrogant.
1374653 tn?1289239473
Either I missed some posts or some have been deleted, because I do not see any post that are disrespectful or out of line.
1406964 tn?1283203866
Some posts have been deleted.
617347 tn?1331293081
i agree with you, vicki. he is not arrogant......and i will add, a man of integrity and yeah, colourful at times . :)
1374653 tn?1289239473
One thing I have learned in my short term on the site is that when people go past the boundaries of personal choice and circumstance that is usually an indication of something not right in their own recovery atmosphere or personal life.  As much as I regret my methadone experience and withdrawal and as much as I disagree with some of the views or thought processes of posters, in the end, it all boils down to every having their own path to walk....I think we all should just try and make the scene on that walk more informative and encouraging.

1406964 tn?1283203866
It helps to put the information out there, from all points of view.
After that each individual makes their own choice. Personally I see methadone as a last resort when all else has failed, and where the alternative could be worse.

I don't think there is often a 'right' answer or a 'wrong' answer.

Best wishes
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