Methadone is a long acting opioid that can relieve pain for 4-8 hours but remains in the system for over two days. It is commonly known as the opioid that helps reduce the symptoms of withdrawal in patients who are addicted to heroin or other narcotic drugs. Although Methadone reduces the withdrawal symptoms it does not cause the “high” that the patients are looking for, and methadone addiction and abuse can be the next step. It is not only used as a part of the process of detoxification from certain drugs but also as a pain reliever.
It was created in Germany during World War II because of the shortage of Morphine and was introduced to the United States in 1947 as an analgesic, which is a painkiller.
Common Street Names for Methadone
According to the Drug Enforcement Association, methadone is available as a tablet, a disc, oral solution or injectable liquid. They also state that some common street names for Methadone are:
- Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Street Methadone
Methadone is a synthetic man-made narcotic and according to the DEA it is a Schedule II drug under the Controlled Substances Act. This means that it may legally be used under a doctor’s supervision but its non-medical use is illegal.
History and Trends in Methadone Addiction and Abuse
According to the CDC, The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation of the U.S Department of Health and Human Services analyzed methadone distribution, reports of diversion and overdose deaths during 2002-2014. The findings in this study are encouraging, suggesting additional opportunities for intervention along with issuing recommendations on best practices for addressing prescription opioid overdose. It helps show the steps insurers can take to reduce harms associated with methadone use for pain. The reports also showed significant declines in methadone overdose deaths and diversion reports strongly correlate with reduced amounts of methadone used for pain.
Side Effects of Methadone
Generally, when someone is using methadone, he/she could experience symptoms such as sweating, itchy skin, or sleepiness. While there are many possible side effects of methadone, there are two different kinds that are listed in patient drug information – serious side effects and less serious side effects.
Serious Methadone side effects include:
- Shallow breathing
- Chest pain
- Fast or pounding heartbeat
- Trouble breathing
- Feeling light headed
Less serious Methadone side effects may include:
- Feeling anxious
- Feelings week or drowsy
- Dry mouth
- Loss of appetite
- Decreased sex drive
- Difficulty having an orgasm
Signs of Methadone Addiction and Abuse
Methadone abuse can lead to psychological dependence and be abused in various ways, commonly by swallowing or injection. Signs of Methadone addiction can begin when the patient attempts to obtain multiple prescriptions from various doctors. Other Signs of Methadone addiction and abuse are if the patient takes more or higher doses of the drug than advised along with purposely missing the scheduled doses to gather a larger amount of the drug to take them at one time. Methadone addiction and abuse can cause the patient to neglect other aspects of life such as work, family, relationships in order to obtain and continue the use of the Methadone ultimately impairing judgement.
Withdrawal Symptoms of Methadone
Depending on the dosage of Methadone and the person, the withdrawal symptoms, both physical and mental, can vary. The withdrawal symptoms of Methadone can be very severe due to the possible long-term use causing drug tolerance and these symptoms can last for weeks.
According to studies done by the Drug Enforcement Association, when the usage of Methadone is stopped, patients may experience withdrawal symptoms including:
- Muscle tremors
- Abdominal cramps
- Leg pain
- Cold-like symptoms
- Rapid heartbeat
- High blood pressure
- Thoughts of suicide
- Prolonged insomnia
- Increased sense of smell
Treatment for Methadone Addiction and Abuse
Methadone addiction treatment is a feat that most people don’t and won’t go alone due to the severity of the withdrawal symptoms and the length of time it can take the drug to get out of the system. The positive side of Methadone addiction treatment is that there is a center that can help and is designed to specifically mange the effects of opioid withdrawal symptoms.
Methadone addiction treatment begins with an evaluation and then the correct program will be selected for the patient. Detox is used when the patient chooses to end all forms of opioid use completely. Rehabilitation programs can provide treatment by changing your medication and allowing the patient to focus on recovery goals.
If you or someone that you love is experiencing a Methadone addition please call White Sands Tampa at 1-877-640-7820.