Methadone is a synthetic narcotic that has been used for decades as a powerful analgesic (painkiller) to manage severe pain. Its potent analgesic effects are also associated with the management of opioid addiction – the treatment of heroin dependence. When methadone is prescribed for heroin addiction treatment, the abuser does not experience the cravings or euphoric rush associated with that drug.
Since it has a different chemical composition from natural opiates, Methadone has a longer duration of action (24-36 hours) compared to Morphine or Heroin, allowing it to be administered once a day in heroin detox and maintenance programs. However, it has the same features as any other opioid, which makes it a great substitute for Heroin in Opioid Replacement Therapy (ORT). It can also be used to substitute prescription opioid analgesics, such as OxyContin, Vicodin, and Percocet in the event of addiction.
Though Methadone has a longer-lasting effect, it has less initial euphoric effect compared to the other opioids in sufficient doses to suppress cravings for these drugs and associated withdrawal symptoms. But in higher doses, Methadone can have a noticeable euphoric effect, creating the feeling of well-being, but not to the same extent as heroin.
However, Methadone is just as physically and mentally addictive as any other opioid, plus its withdrawal symptoms are more severe than those of the opioid it replaces. In other words, a heroin addict may keep using methadone to avoid its withdrawal symptoms, much like they originally abused heroin.
Indeed, Methadone is a controversial opioid (heroin) addiction treatment option with a high risk of people changing from one type of addiction to another. It is unfortunate that a narcotic addict would turn to Methadone for help to stop abusing only to find himself/herself in a worse situation.
Because Methadone lacks the initial euphoric rush associated with other drugs, a person new to abusing it may easily overdose in an attempt to achieve the rush, resulting in death. In fact, thousands of people suffer accidental deaths from Methadone overdose.
Methadone overdose results in:
You can detect the abuse of Methadone by checking for the associated side effects, though most symptoms of dependence are common to many opiates, and could be an indication of the abuse of any one of the opiates, such as morphine, hydrocodone, or OxyContin. The typical symptoms of intoxication from opiates include: inner comfort, drowsiness, emotional detachment, body temperature drop, reduced respiration and heart rate, and low blood pressure.
Signs of Methadone abuse include:
Methadone abuse and dependence can be a life-or-death situation, and the only way to free yourself from this deadly drug is in a specialized facility where professionals help you cope with Methadone withdrawal.
Don’t try to stop using Methadone alone. Our professional team at Canadian Addiction Rehab can help ease the process to increase your chances of safe recovery.