Understanding Methadone Treatment Programs

Addiction is a disease that impacts those of us affected on a physical and psychological level. It’s not a sign of weakness, or simply a matter of self-control.

For those of us who are genetically and socially predisposed to drug use, prolonged use of any substance creates serious changes within our brain chemistry. For this reason, it’s only logical to understand methadone treatment and how it works.

These changes cause some of us to become reliant on drugs in order to maintain normal chemical levels within our brains. Opioids like heroin and prescription narcotics are particularly addictive and use of these drugs has risen to epidemic proportions.

The opioid epidemic has led to an increase in the use of maintenance medications like methadone. Methadone has been used for years in the fight against opioid addiction. It’s narcotic, but unlike more addictive drugs it works on our brains in a slightly different way.

Methadone works by plugging into our opioid receptors, stopping withdrawals, and it’s helped me to fight my drug cravings. When used correctly and under the supervision of a licensed physician, methadone has the potential to help us achieve a level of sobriety that we couldn’t otherwise reach.

What is Maintenance Medication?

Maintenance medications are medications that we take at precise intervals in order to help us maintain a certain level of comfort or health. When dealing with addiction, maintenance medications include things like methadone that help those of us suffering from addiction to achieve long-term sobriety.

Many of us suffering from opioid addiction will end up taking opiate maintenance medications for a period of over 12 months. It takes the brain a long time to recover from that level chemical dependency.

During this time the dosage of methadone may be decreased or increased to help us maintain a certain level of comfort. This has helped me to avoid withdrawal symptoms, and to cope with my stress without using illicit drugs.

Drug addiction can become a lifestyle when we’re constantly in pursuit of illegal substances and people to use them with. This is why it’s important that any type of maintenance medication accompanies a dedicated treatment program.

Taking something like methadone is only one part of the entire process. We have to want to be sober and seek help prior to any of these treatment methods becoming effective.

Ultimately, there is no magic cure for drug addiction. The only way that we can overcome the disease and achieve sobriety is through hard work and personal dedication along with the help of treatment professionals.

Who Needs Methadone?

For those of us feeling the effects of the heroin epidemic and opioid addiction, regular treatment methods may not be as effective. This is because of the chemical changes that we’ve made to our brains, and the addictive nature of these drugs.

Opioids also have the highest relapse rate of any other substance. Almost 90 percent of people who are long-term heroin users will relapse at least one after they’ve completed some sort of treatment program.

Many of us report that this is because of the extreme withdrawal symptoms that we experience when going through the detox process. Some of us are also unprepared to deal with the stresses of everyday life without seeking some outside substance to cope.

The way to combat this is a mixture of treatments combined with maintenance medications. We need to have active and ongoing therapy when trying to stop using drugs. Methadone can help some of us to avoid withdrawal symptoms that often drive us back into the arms of our drug of choice.

Methadone isn’t for everyone, but for those of us dedicated to long-term sobriety it offers a viable option. Maintenance medications can be abused when taken in excess or when sought out illegally. It’s very important that we only take these medications under the direct care of a medication-assisted treatment program run by a licensed physician.

What are Methadone Treatment Programs?

When some of us who are addicted to opioids attempt to stop using the drugs we may experience withdrawal symptoms or severe drug cravings. Withdrawals only last until the brain is able to compensate for the chemical imbalance.

Unfortunately, this can take a prolonged period of time for those of us who have been longtime drug users. Drug cravings can continue to strike even years after the actual drug abuse is stopped.

These are often in response to a stressful situation. Some of us may turn to drugs as a coping mechanism when we’re unsure of how to deal with the situation in our lives.

Those of us who actively and appropriately taking maintenance medications will be able to stop these uncomfortable opiate withdrawals from occurring and be able to fight the drug cravings more effectively. This is because the methadone works by filling some of the opioid receptors within our brains.

As the medication is metabolized, it emulates our naturally occurring feel-good chemicals. At the same time, it’s filling the receptors that would naturally absorb these chemicals, returning the body to a feeling of normalcy.

This results in an elevated level of these chemicals in our brains that are present for a longer period of time. This allows us to feel normal without experiencing the euphoria of drug use.

Methadone provides a safer alternative than illicit drugs and does so at a controlled rate.

What is a Medication Assisted Treatment Program?

A medication-assisted treatment program is a regime that’s overseen by the government and a group of licensed physicians. These programs are dedicated to providing these types of maintenance medications to those of us who are fighting addiction.

These programs have to be carefully monitored in order to make sure that all of us are receiving only our required dose each day. It is possible to abuse maintenance medications, and this has led to a need for extended supervision.

After a certain period of time in which we’ve successfully taken these medications, a physician might give us a prescription to take home on a short-term basis. Most of us will not be given these medications to take in their home unless they are being administered by a trusted family member and kept under lock and key.

Is Methadone Right for You?

Methadone has been used with great success in the fight against the opioid epidemic. It’s important to remember that each and every one of us experiences addiction in a very different way. Not all of us will need the same combination of treatments and methods to achieve sobriety.

If you or a loved one are experiencing an addiction to opioids, contact (855) 976-2092. Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help. There are options out there that can help you to start living your life again.



NIDA. (2018, June 8). Medications to Treat Opioid Use Disorder. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/medications-to-treat-opioid-use-disorder on 2019, February 14

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2015, September 28). Methadone. Retrieved from samhsa.gov: https://www.samhsa.gov/medication-assisted-treatment/treatment/methadone

The New York Times. (2019). Opioid Epidemic. Retrieved from nytimes.com: https://www.nytimes.com/spotlight/opioid-epidemic


methadone beneficial effects

What are the Benefits of Methadone for Opioid Addiction?

What if you had a better way to treat an opioid addiction?

For many, this is a great struggle, and it’s hard to find their way through it. However, the benefits of methadone offer a way to recover from addiction and get your old life back again.

Keep reading to discover the different benefits of methadone when it comes to treating opioid addiction.

Better Alternative

One of the best reasons to try methadone is that it provides a safer alternative to many different treatments. For instance, your body may not respond well to morphine or to other treatments.

By contrast, methadone can function around the clock, providing your body with a number of benefits. And it is often part of medication-assisted treatment, allowing it to be safely implemented into any existing course of treatment.

Morphine and other substances, however, can be more harmful if they are used as often as you use might methadone. Therefore, one of the best benefits of methadone is getting the treatment you need in a safer and more controlled way.

Very Effective

When you have a specific problem, then it’s worth finding the right tool for the job. And when it comes to opioid addiction, the effectiveness of methadone treatment is absolutely the best tool.

Various studies have shown that methadone is the best way to help opioid addicts move away from harmful substances like heroin or even opioid medications. And you get complete and utter relief from the symptoms of withdrawal, helping your mind and body recover from harmful addiction.

Ultimately, methadone takes away your pain while also removing the desire to abuse opioids. That makes it a powerful first step on your road to recovery.

What Your Body Needs

In order to appreciate the benefits of methadone, you must understand how addiction works. Your body becomes chemically dependent on a particular substance. In short, you “need” that substance, and you suffer painful withdrawal when you don’t have it.

Methadone essentially tricks your body by making it think that you have that substance inside you. You get your need for opiates fulfilled but without the dangerous high that would threaten your recovery.

On top of this, methadone stays in your body between three and ten times longer than something like heroin does. This helps wean you off the practice of getting a regular fix.

It’s Very Versatile

One of the other main benefits of methadone is that it is so versatile. There are many different applications that have a variety of short-term and long-term benefits.

In the short-term, methadone is great for helping detox your body. By decreasing use as needed, you and your doctor can free your body from the drugs it relies on.

Methadone can also be used as pain relief, and this can be for a short- or a long-term that ranges from weeks to years. Finally, it can be used for regular maintenance of your health as directed by your doctor, meaning that you would typically take it for a minimum of one year.

Saves Money

When it comes to the benefits of methadone, you may be worried about how much it costs. Prepare to be surprised, though: it is surprisingly affordable!

Methadone treatment is typically far cheaper than other opioid treatment programs, offering twenty-four hours (or more) of relief for the cost of a few coffees. To be blunt, this treatment is far cheaper than the cost of illegal drugs, meaning that treatment can immediately start saving addicts money from week to week.

The Bridge to Better

Part of the struggle of overcoming opioid addiction is the struggle to make yourself better. It’s not just physical treatment: you want to emerge emotionally and psychologically stronger as well.

As we mentioned, methadone stays in your system for far, far longer than drugs such as heroin. And once you break the cycle of needing a regular fix, you may experience a number of psychological benefits.

You will be free of pain and stress, allowing you to concentrate on the things that are important to you. Once you begin methadone treatment, you build a bridge to a better you even as you start re-building bridges you may have burned with your closest family and friends.

Legal and Safe

While it may seem simple, one of the big benefits of methadone treatment is that it is legal and safe. This is important because many people try to break the cycle of opioid addiction by turning to other illegal substances.

This can put you in serious legal danger. And on top of that, there’s the very real risk of simply trading one addiction for another.

However, methadone is completely legal and can be taken at any time when you are enrolled in a maintenance treatment program. This allows you to recover without fear of bodily harm, addiction, or arrest!

Possible Dangers

Unfortunately, there is no opioid treatment that is perfect. There are some potential dangers to using methadone that you should be aware of before taking it.

First, it can be dangerous (and even fatal) when combined with alcohol. Second, it can slow your respiratory rate. There are also a number of small, potential side effects that range from dry mouth to trouble sleeping.

Additionally, some patients may become addicted to methadone. This is why it is important to only take it under the direction of a doctor’s orders or a treatment program.

Benefits of Methadone: The Bottom Line

If you’re reading this, then you’re interested in learning more about how methadone can help with opioid addiction. However, you may not know where to start when it comes to finding the information that you need.

That’s where we come in. Our guides to methadone can help you discover whether it is the right treatment that you are looking for. We can help you discover the benefits of methadone as well as the potential drawbacks.

Ultimately, we are standing in your corner and supporting you on your road to wellness. Tomorrow will be a brighter day, and if you ever doubt that, we’re here to help you find the light.

Call us today at 855-976-2092 for more information or help finding a methadone clinic near you.


[1] Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) | SAMHSA – Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2018, 7). Retrieved from https://www.samhsa.gov/medication-assisted-treatment

[2] National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2018, June 7). Prescription Opioids. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/prescription-opioids

[3] Premila Devi, J., Azriani, A. R., Zahiruddin, W. M., Mohd Ariff, M. N., & Noor Hashimah, A. (2012). The Effectiveness of Methadone Maintenance Therapy Among Opiate – Dependants Registered with Hospital Raja Perempuan Zainab II Kota Bharu, Kelantan. The Malaysian journal of medical sciences : MJMS19(4), 17-22. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3629676/

[4] Part B: 20 Questions and Answers Regarding Methadone Maintenance Treatment Research Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/sites/default/files/pdf/partb.pdf

relieve withdrawal symptoms during opiate detox

What Are the Symptoms of Opiate Withdrawal?

Did you know there’s a new $1 billion federal program to help opiate users overcome addiction?

It’s offering thousands of patients the chance to stop using this group of drugs. This group includes heroin, morphine, and the extremely potent synthetic opioid fentanyl, which you’ve likely heard about on the news recently.

However, in a sense, the amount of money thrown at the issue is irrelevant. The symptoms of opiate withdrawal will always act as a barrier to getting clean.

Meanwhile, compared with some other countries, rehabilitation options available to US opiate addicts are quite restrictive. The process of withdrawal itself does not pose a risk to life. However, some of the withdrawal symptoms can cause complications.

Why are the symptoms of withdrawal problematic? What happens when you withdraw from the regular use of an opiate? Read on to find out.

The Key Symptoms of Opiate Withdrawal

Opioid withdrawal can cause a number of different–and often unpleasant–symptoms.

Common key symptoms of opiate withdrawal are listed below. The actual symptoms experienced and the severity will vary from person to person.

It depends on how long they have been taking opiates and what doses they would take. Over time and following regular use, the body builds up a tolerance to these drugs. Larger doses must then used to get the same effect from the drug.

The more tolerance a person has built up, the more severe their symptoms are likely to be.


Nausea is characterized by feeling sick. Patients may feel very ill with flu-like symptoms or feel as if they’re on the brink of being sick.

Vomiting can occur, too, for patients recovering from heavy opiate use.


Patients are likely to feel very tired. This isn’t necessarily a pleasant thing, but it can be useful in one way. If the patient is sleeping a lot, then they aren’t awake to suffer through the other symptoms.

It’s not fantastic if they’re sleeping all day, but it can actually help them cope with their recovery.

Chills and Sweats

In another flu-like symptom, the recovering addict may feel alternately very hot and very cold. It becomes difficult for them to discern the real temperature.

They might open all the windows in the room and take their clothes off right before putting the heat on and curling up tight under the duvet.

Depression and Anxiety

It’s not just physical symptoms. Depression and anxiety can occur when heavy users withdraw from opiates.

They may feel a constant sense of nervousness like something bad is about to happen. Or they may feel down and find it hard to feel happy. Patients may even have suicidal thoughts.

This is why monitoring patients is crucial to ensure their safe recovery and well-being. They are often not in a sound state of mind during their withdrawal.


Twitches and shaking are not uncommon while people are going through withdrawal.

Muscle spasms can be uncomfortable, and fine motor skills may be impaired during this time.

Blood Pressure and Heart Rate

Increased blood pressure and rapid heartbeats can be experienced by some users.

If either blood pressure or heart rate increase to very high levels and don’t fall, urgent medical attention should be sought.


Perhaps the most difficult symptom to deal with is the cravings.

Addicts know that a dose of their drug of choice will wipe out the unpleasant withdrawal symptoms.

They also know the “high” all too well and will start to miss the short-term positive effects of opiate use. These are the reason they became addicted in the first place, and this physical dependency is hard to break.

To successfully detox, opiate addicts need medical and emotional support to prevent relapse.

I’m Trying to Help Someone Else

Standing on the perimeter, watching as someone you love battles with addiction, is hard.

Recovery can only begin when the addict is ready to stop. They need to seek the help they need themselves. You can’t force them into it.

As heartbreaking as that may be, the patient needs to be fully committed to fighting the symptoms of opiate withdrawal or they will almost certainly relapse.

When they’re ready to seek help, you can start to support them through it. Along with emotional encouragement, one of the key things you should talk to them about is methadone.

Using this through their recovery can improve their quality of life.

What Is Methadone Treatment?

Methadone is a drug in the opiate family which is often used to help people recover from addiction. It can help to control the symptoms of opiate withdrawal too.

While withdrawal can be exhausting to fight through, methadone helps to control the intensity of physical symptoms.

The urge to go back to the drug of choice during these symptoms is high, as it will also “cure” the symptoms of withdrawal. Methadone helps to prevent relapses, as the symptoms of opiate withdrawal are not so unpleasant while the patient uses it.

By lowering the dosage slowly over time, their use can be “tapered off.” The result is that their body doesn’t crave opiates after the treatment is complete.

You’ll need to have a prescription to obtain methadone. It is often administered in a rehabilitation center, where the patient can be monitored and supported by a team of professionals.

This often involves complementary therapies, like group talking sessions or one-to-one sessions with a therapist.

Where to Turn for Help

If you or someone you love is looking for help, use our website to find out more about methadone treatment. It could be exactly what they need to make a full recovery.

We won’t pretend that fighting the symptoms of opiate withdrawal is easy.

But taking this step could change–or even save–a life.

Or you can give us a call at (855) 976- 2092.


[1] ‘Take All Their Excuses Away’: Hard Cases in Heroin Fight. (2017, December 4). Retrieved from https://www.nbcdfw.com/news/health/Hard-Cases-Overcoming-Opioids-Saint-Anthony-Hospital-461814413.html

[2] Why fentanyl is deadlier than heroin, in a single photo – STAT. (2018, March 8). Retrieved from https://www.statnews.com/2016/09/29/why-fentanyl-is-deadlier-than-heroin/

[3] Carl L. Hart. (2017, November 1). People Are Dying Because of Ignorance, not Because of Opioids. Retrieved from https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/people-are-dying-because-of-ignorance-not-because-of-opioids/

methadone detox

What You Need to Know About Methadone Detoxing

Have you noticed that the opioid addiction crisis is all over the news?

There’s a reason for that. In 2016, 2.5 million people had an addiction to painkillers or heroin. That same year, 52,000 people overdosed and died from illegal drug overdoses.

In addition to being some of the most dangerous drugs, heroin and painkillers are also highly addictive. Opioids like heroin are one of the hardest drugs to quit on your own, but you don’t have to do it alone.

There are treatments like methadone detoxing that make it an easier process and reduce your risk of relapse. This article will look at how methadone works and how it can help people with opioid addictions.

Effects of Opioids & Opioid Addiction

Before we look at how a methadone detox works, let’s look at how heroin and painkillers work in the body.

Common opioids include:

  • Heroin
  • Hydrocodone
  • Oxycodone (OxyContin, Percocet)
  • Oxymorphone (Opana)
  • Morphine (Kadian, Avinza)
  • Codeine
  • Fentanyl

People use opioids like these to get a sense of euphoria and pleasure and to reduce pain. This happens because they are releasing a chemical called dopamine into the brain.

If a person has a substance like heroin pumping dopamine into the brain, the brain figures, “Hey, we don’t need to make as much of that stuff.” The brain stops making dopamine on its own.

Of course, this means that when a person stops using opioids, the brain suddenly has no dopamine. This leads to and causes withdrawal symptoms until the brain realizes it has to produce its own dopamine again.

It can take a long time for the brain to begin producing its normal levels of dopamine again. This often leads to:

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Joint & muscle pain
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Intense Cravings
  • Depression

If a person stops using opioids suddenly, they can have severe health issues because withdrawal can affect their breathing. This is why it’s important for people to quit in a safe environment like detox.

Methadone Treatment

In 1937, methadone was developed in Germany because the country was running out of opium. People needed a way to detox safely, and methadone became the best option.

In 1947, methadone was approved for use in the US. Since then methadone detoxing has been a common way to stop using opioids.

Methadone itself is an opioid. This may make you wonder how an opioid addiction can be treated with an opioid. The main reason is that methadone is a slow-release medication.

Most opioids have a quick release time. Once a person takes it, they feel the effects almost instantly.

Methadone, on the other hand, is released throughout the body over time. This helps with physical withdrawal symptoms.

Methadone works for people detoxing from opioids because it releases dopamine in the brain without giving that instant high. This relieves people’s painful symptoms without giving them the euphoria that made them use drugs in the first place.

People who use methadone detoxing are less likely to relapse because they are not suffering from as many painful symptoms and are not as depressed.

Sometimes people get prescribed methadone for detoxification, but it can also be used long-term. Methadone itself can be addictive, so doctors have to closely watch anyone taking methadone especially over a long period of time.

Methadone Detoxing

In methadone detoxing, patients take between 10-20 mg of methadone. Doctors increase this by 10 mg at a time until the patient’s withdrawal symptoms are under control. 30 mg of methadone has about the same effect as 5 mg of heroin.

They continue using this full dose for about 2-3 days. Doctors then start reducing their dose by up to 20% a day until they’re down to nothing. Once patients are drug-free, they need therapy and long-term care to prevent a relapse.

Individual therapy and a 12-step program often help methadone detox patients to continue being drug-free.

Methadone Maintenance Therapy (MMT)

MMT is similar to methadone detoxing.

Patients are typically prescribed 10-20 mg of methadone in the beginning. Their dose is upped in increments of 10 until their painful symptoms of withdrawal are gone. The patient then continues to take the methadone as they go about their daily life and learn to live without drugs.

This type of treatment is controversial because people argue it just replaces one addiction with another. Other people think that if a person is taking a medication prescribed and monitored by a doctor for addiction, then it’s fine.

Benefits & Risks of Methadone Detoxing

While people can quit using opioids cold turkey, it can be extremely difficult and painful. By detoxing with methadone in a treatment center, patients are monitored by professionals.

This type of detox is also way less painful than quitting cold turkey. Remember all those symptoms of opioid withdrawal?

Methadone takes care of all of those. Doctors are on hand and able to provide a methadone dose increase if withdrawal symptoms increase or change.

People who don’t have to fight all the physical symptoms of withdrawal can focus on their emotional and mental needs to stay sober. Most people who detox with methadone also receive some kind of counseling.

One common type of counseling is cognitive-behavioral counseling (CBT). The goal of CBT is to identify negative and untrue thoughts that make people more likely to use drugs. Once thoughts are identified, patients work to change their thoughts and behavior.

By treating the psychological issues that cause people to use drugs in the first place, they are able to get better and not need drugs to feel good about themselves.

One last benefit is that relapse rates are much lower for people who use a methadone detox than those who don’t.

The biggest risk to methadone detox is that you can become dependent and addicted to methadone. This won’t happen, though, if you only take methadone for the few days during detox.

There are also some side effects of methadone to consider:

  • Agitation
  • Dilated pupils
  • Respiratory depression
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Itchy Skin
  • Sweating

When patients stop taking methadone, they may experience withdrawal symptoms from it too. Ideally, these will be less severe than the symptoms of the original withdrawal.

Doctors have to closely monitor to see if the withdrawal symptoms patients have are from their original addiction or from the methadone itself.

Is It Right For You?

Now that you know how methadone works and how it can benefit people with addictions, it’s time to decide if it can help you.

If you’re interested in learning more about how methadone detoxing could help you, check out this article on treatment to fight opioid addiction. Or, give us a call at (855) 976-2092.


[1] American Society of Addiction Medicine. (2016). Opioid Facts & Figures 2016. Retrieved from https://www.asam.org/docs/default-source/advocacy/opioid-addiction-disease-facts-figures.pdf

[2] NIDA. (2018, June 7). Prescription Opioids. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/prescription-opioids on 2019, February 14

[3] Wang SC , et al. (2018). GRK5 Is Associated with the Regulation of Methadone Dosage in Heroin Dependence. – PubMed – NCBI. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30060048

Should I detox with methadone

Methadone Detox – Is It Worth It?

Methadone has its origins in WW2, although it had been developed some 10 years prior to that. It was found to be as effective as morphine but with the advantage that its a less addictive alternative to morphine use.  It didn’t take long for the synthetic drug to make it to the mainland USA, where it is now a Schedule II drug. What this means is that it is classed as a drug with the potential for abuse and addiction, but that it has medicinal benefits. Therefore, there are specific methadone prescription requirements that must be met before one can get treatment. As with all drugs, methadone has some pros and cons and it is important to consider those to determine whether or not it is a suitable treatment.

What Is Methadone?

Before looking into the risks and benefits of methadone treatment, it is important to first gain some understanding of what the synthetic drug is.

“Methadone is a synthetic, narcotic analgesic (pain reliever). Often used by and associated with the treatment of heroin addicts it is also used for other medical purposes such as pain relief. The drug shares many of the same effects and characteristics of morphine and acts in similar ways to it and other narcotic medications. However, with methadone, the gradual and mild onset of action prevents the user from getting high and experiencing euphoric effects.”

The key, therefore, is that methadone does not make someone euphoric or high. The result was that physicians long believed that this would stop the drug from getting abused, as it does not have any pleasurable benefits. Unfortunately, perhaps simply because the substance is addictive, it quickly became a street drug as well. Additionally, it seems that although using methadone to get high is not possible when it’s used properly, it can create a rapid high when snorted or injected.

“Nasal administration of methadone results in rapid absorption and onset of effect and high bioavailability, which was greater than that reported for other nasal opioids, with a similar duration of effect.”

Methadone Overdose

Unfortunately, methadone is quite heavily abused in this country and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported on the extent of this problem.

“More than 30% of prescription painkiller deaths involve methadone, even though only 2% of painkiller prescriptions are for this drug. Six times as many people died of methadone overdoses in 2009 than a decade before.”

To be used properly, methadone will have to be prescribed by a physician who understands the risks and dangers and educates both patients and their loved ones on the potential risks of methadone. Education has been found to be very effective in minimizing the associated risks. Additionally, it is important to understand that there are tremendous benefits to methadone treatment as well.

The Benefits of Methadone

Methadone treatment has now been available in this country for around four decades and it continues to be the treatment of choice for heroin addiction. The main reason for this is that it works, particularly if patients are properly supported and educated, and take the drug as directed. The fact that it works has been seen across the world, which is why it is now used virtually everywhere. One study in Taiwan showcased the long-term methadone success statistics of the beneficial impact on health and quality of life, for instance.

“After controlling for demographic and clinical characteristics, there were statistically significant improvements in the psychological and environmental domains between baseline and 6 months. Significant improvements were found in psychological and social domains between baseline and 12 months.”

This demonstrates that the longer the patients continue with proper treatment, the better their outcomes will be. Indeed, some people have been able to come off drugs completely and regain control of their lives. It is also often these people who become volunteers or drug counselors themselves, as they have an in-depth understanding of addiction and because they truly understand the appropriate use of methadone. As such, it can be said that methadone treatment has a cumulative positive effect on the overall addiction spectrum.

This cumulative effect is also noticed in other areas of life and society, most notably health.

“This study compared the long-term effects of different psychosocial intervention models in participants at five MMT clinics in Xi’an of China, demonstrating that MMT supplemented with CP or CM can reduce heroin use and related risk behaviors, thereby reducing the incidence of HIV and HCV.”

Due to needle sharing, in particular, which is something that is done both with heroin and illicit use of methadone, various blood-borne diseases like HIV and hepatitis C are common among addicts. Ensuring that those addicted to heroin are provided with prescribed and supervised medication maintenance during methadone treatment reduces the risk of them abusing the drug and therefore also reduces the risk of them sharing needles and engaging in other risky behavior. This includes prostitution to sustain a habit, particularly if methadone is made available on prescription.

Is Methadone Treatment Really Acceptable?

Methadone is not a comfortable drug to take. It can lead to significant side effects both short term and long term. Short term side effects include sexual impotence, gastrointestinal problems, urinary retention, feeling lightheaded, dry mouth, and drowsiness. If abused, it can also lead to anaphylactic shock, seizures, fainting, loss of coordination and balance, depressed breathing, irregular heartbeat, and in the worst case scenario, death through an overdose.

On the other hand, those addicted to heroin also experience those side effects and have a far greater chance of experiencing more serious ones. The danger lies in the fact that methadone is often abused, rather than used as prescribed. If used properly, which is the medically and legally acceptable manner, methadone is a very viable treatment. However, users must recognize that, like opium and heroin, it is an opioid agonist, albeit milder. This means the side effects, as stated, have the potential to be lethal and that methadone itself is addictive.

So is methadone worth it? If used properly, on prescription, to combat heroin addiction, then absolutely yes. But anyone who is prescribed the substance must be realistic about what it actually is. Most of all, they must follow their physician’s instructions. To get help with opioid addiction, visit our about us page or contact us at (855) 976-2092.


[1] Guidelines for the Psychosocially Assisted Pharmacological Treatment of Opioid Dependence. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2009. Annex 2, Dispensing, dosing and prescriptions. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK143181/

[3]CDC VitalSigns – Prescription Painkiller Overdoses. (2019, February 12). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/methadoneoverdoses/index.html
[4] Improvement of quality of life in methadone treatment patients in northern Taiwan: a follow-up study. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://bmcpsychiatry.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1471-244X-13-190
[5] Bell, J. (2007, September). The Role of Supervision of Dosing in Opioid Maintenance Treatment. Retrieved from https://www.who.int/substance_abuse/activities/supervision_dosing.pdf
methadone treatment works

Methadone Treatment – Yes Or No?

Since methadone treatment was introduced, it has become one of the most popular forms of addiction care available. It is particularly good at helping people to manage opiate withdrawal symptoms, thereby allowing patients to avoid relapse.

How Methadone Treatment Works

On paper, methadone sounds like a wonder drug. However, there are some significant disadvantages to it as well. Some of these are so significant, in fact, that many people choose not to make use of this treatment.

It is important to take a fair and unbiased view and thereby be more empowered to make a decision in terms of which treatment is most appropriate for each individual. After all, one of the principles of effective treatment is that every person’s addiction needs to be considered and addressed as unique.

“No single treatment is right for everyone.”

Key Benefits of Methadone Replacement Therapy

Most people who suffer from an addiction to an opiate, particularly heroin, will be offered methadone as a form of treatment. While almost everybody has heard of the synthetic drug, few people truly understand how it works. Very simply put, it is capable of reducing heroin dependency, thereby decreasing usage of the drug, making patients more receptive to other elements of treatment.

“Methadone works by changing how the brain and nervous system respond to pain. It lessens the painful symptoms of opiate withdrawal and blocks the euphoric effects of opiate drugs.”

Heroin and methadone are both opioids, meaning they affect the same brain receptors. However, methadone does not lead to a euphoric high, which is what people are aiming for when they use heroin. Instead, it stabilizes them, returning them to a sense of “normalcy”.

Methadone is usually administered orally in a drink that does not work if injected intravenously. Those who have used heroin for long periods of time are believed to have a metabolic deficiency, which can be corrected through continued use of synthetic opioids, such as methadone.

If methadone is administered properly, and that is the key, it can be effective for 24 hours, meaning those who are addicted to opioids will not experience the need to seek more heroin, so that they can engage instead in rehabilitation.

The Functions of Methadone

It is undeniable that methadone can be hugely beneficial in terms of getting people into therapy. Indeed, it has three key functions:

1. It replaces heroin and its actions, thereby avoiding heroin’s withdrawal effects. This can be done in a controlled environment, during which time patients can be encouraged to seek further help.

2. It stabilizes those who want help. Because they no longer need to seek out heroin or face intense cravings, they can focus instead on learning new coping strategies, allowing them to enter the road to recovery. Indeed, various studies have shown a link between methadone treatment and successful outcomes.

“With regard to methadone, research has shown that it is useful in increasing retention in treatment, physical and mental health levels, functioning and quality of life, and in decreasing the use of illicit drugs and HIV risk behaviors. In fact, in 2009, the World Health Organization Guidelines recommended methadone and buprenorphine as first line agents for agonist maintenance treatment.”

3. It reduces drug use. There are two schools of thought when it comes to methadone. One advocates it for short term detox, meaning it is used for no longer than a week. Others prefer maintenance programs, in which people can continue to use methadone for years. As it is a legally available drug on prescription, it is possible to continue this type of treatment safely for a long time as long as the patient is properly monitored.

Methadone Treatment Has a Potential Drawback

Nothing in the world is perfect and everything has its pros and cons. The same is true for methadone treatment. Methadone is an opiate, albeit a synthetic one, and that means it can be addictive. Anything that is addictive can lead to withdrawal symptoms.

Most patients who are addicted to opiates use drugs because they want to experience a “high”, and they want to avoid the withdrawal symptoms and this is what has led to them having a full dependency in the first place.

There are other significant drawbacks to consider in relation to methadone treatment, including the fact that:

• It does not give the patients control over their treatment and recovery.
• It means patients must attend methadone clinics on a daily basis, which can prevent them from being productive members of society.
• It does not stop patients from using other opioids and drugs.
• It can lead to a drug overdose, particularly when abused.

“Overdose from methadone is a major concern and continues to be problematic. Mixing methadone with other substances that slow the body like alcohol and benzodiazepines increases the risk of breathing problems and death.”

• It shows up during drug tests, thereby potentially preventing patients from accessing education or employment.
• Many patients feel ashamed about using it, something that is often not properly addressed in treatment. Indeed, many users try to keep their methadone treatment a secret.
• Patients receiving methadone treatment are still addicted, which can be noticed when a dosage is missed, for instance.

The reality is that there are downsides associated with methadone treatment. These can affect the psychological, emotional, and physical well-being of patients. It is also for this reason that methadone must be dispensed under strict controls and only while a patient is monitored by a physician.

Replacing Replacement Therapy

If you are currently in the grips of opiate addiction, it is likely that methadone replacement therapy will be offered to you. It is very important that you consider the pros and cons as described above before deciding whether or not it is right for you. There are other options available as well.

One of them is short term methadone detox, as described earlier. Other options include going cold turkey, which is rarely recommended; medically assisted detox; long term inpatient rehabilitation; intensive outpatient rehabilitation; and more.

It is vital to see addiction for what it is, which is a multi-faceted disease that requires a multi-faceted treatment approach rather than a one size fits all solution. To get more information or find help near you contact (855) 976-2092.



NIDA. (2019, January 17). Treatment Approaches for Drug Addiction. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/treatment-approaches-drug-addiction on 2019, February 14

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2015, September 28). Methadone. Retrieved from samhsa.gov: https://www.samhsa.gov/medication-assisted-treatment/treatment/methadone

Garcia-Portilla, M. P., Bobes-Bascaran, M. T., Bascaran, M. T., Saiz, P. A., & Bobes, J. (2014). Long term outcomes of pharmacological treatments for opioid dependence: does methadone still lead the pack?. British journal of clinical pharmacology77(2), 272-84. Retrieved From: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4014027/

short term methadone

How Methadone Can Be Used For Detox But Only For A Short Period

Methadone offers one of the best-known treatments for heroin addiction across the world. Yet, because it is a drug with a high potential for abuse and addiction, the treatment is controversial. On the one hand, it is a drug that is involved in many overdoses every year and it has become a popular street drug. On the other hand, it is a very effective treatment for heroin addiction that has been demonstrated to significantly increase quality of life. Today, it is the most popular form of short term detox for heroin addiction available, but it is important to understand its risks and benefits.

Methadone Short Term for Heroin Detox

Heroin is a short-acting opioid. This means it rapidly creates a high, which doesn’t last long. In contrast, methadone is a long-acting opioid, meaning it is slow to take effect and doesn’t lead to a euphoric high.

“There is cross-tolerance and cross-dependence among the various opiates. This is the premise for using methadone in the detoxification and maintenance of heroin people addicted to heroin. Due to the long half-life and duration of action of methadone, the abstinence syndrome is delayed and prolonged but less severe than that from a shorter-acting opiate such as heroin.”

Methadone is still an opioid drug, however, albeit a synthetic one. This means that, like other opioids, it has painkilling effects, lowers blood pressure, leads to sedation, slows bowel activity, and depresses breathing. Detoxing from heroin is a painful and frightening process, and methadone can make this easier through its painkilling and relaxing effects.

The danger, however, is that methadone is habit-forming in and of itself. In addition, some people develop a tolerance to it. It is vital, therefore, that it is used for short term detox only, with a clear end date in mind. Using methadone properly for the treatment of heroin addiction has a number of very important benefits. So much so, in fact, that most physicians feel they outweigh the potential risks associated with the drug.

The Benefits of Methadone Detox

The biggest benefit of this treatment, naturally, is that it can help someone beat a heroin addiction. But it also has many associated and cumulative benefits, including a reduction in the prevalence of blood-borne diseases such as HIV and Hep C, a reduction in criminal behavior, a reduction in mortality, and even improving family relationships.

“Children whose parents abuse drugs are exposed to numerous factors that increase the likelihood of future drug abuse. The experimental intervention supplemented methadone treatment with 33 sessions of family training combined with 9 months of home-based case management. One year after the family skills training, results indicate significant positive changes among parents, especially in the areas of parent skills, parent drug use, deviant peers and family management. Programs such as this may be an important adjunct to treatment programs, helping to strengthen family bonding and to reduce parents’ drug use.”

How to Use Methadone Short Term  to Detox

Methadone is a Schedule II drug, which means that it has a high potential for abuse and addiction, but that it also has important medical uses. Legally, therefore, it is only available on prescription and those who are prescribed it must remain under consultation with their physician to ensure that the treatment is effective. Generally speaking, this means a certain dosage is prescribed to the patient and this is then slowly reduced. The starting dosage and how quickly and by how much it is reduced varies for each patient.

“Methadone is dispensed primarily in oral forms, including tablets, powder, and liquid for the treatment of narcotics addiction. Single doses, which should not exceed 80 – 100 milligrams daily, can last anywhere from 24 to 36 hours depending on user characteristics (e.g., age, weight, level of addiction, and tolerance); the long-acting nature of the drug is a distinct advantage since it requires less frequent administration, limiting potential harmful effects.”

Methadone Withdrawal

One of the key reasons why methadone should only be prescribed while monitored by a physician, at the right dosage, and for short periods of time only, is because it is a habit-forming drug. What this means is that, once patients stop taking methadone, they will experience withdrawal symptoms. It is of the utmost importance that a treatment facility will determine whether the withdrawal symptoms the patients’ experience are due to heroin withdrawal, which could mean they require longer methadone treatment, or due to methadone withdrawal, which can be supported in different ways. Additionally, once the withdrawal phase is over, patients should continue to be supported and monitored as there is a high risk of relapse to heroin. Methadone treatment must be seen as an element of the overall recovery journey of the individual, therefore, and not as the sole treatment that will eventually “cure” them.

Danger of Improper Use of Methadone

Finally, it must be recognized that methadone is sometimes used improperly both by drug addicts and by prescribing physicians. Methadone is used illicitly more and more often, leading to numerous overdose deaths.

“A synthetic form of opium, it is cheap and long lasting, a powerful pain reliever that has helped millions. But because it is also abused by thrill seekers and badly prescribed by doctors unfamiliar with its risks, methadone is now the fastest growing cause of narcotic deaths.”

Unfortunately, as previously mentioned, it is also often prescribed improperly. Physicians, nurse practitioners, and other prescribing authorities now often recommend it for its strong painkilling effects, which is what the drug was originally designed for. As a synthetic drug, it is also cheap to manufacture, which is another reason why it is popular as a prescription drug.

Unfortunately, as with all opioids, it is an addictive substance and one with a lot of very dangerous risks, including death. It is for this reason that it is also controversial, not in the least because there has been a significant increase in the number of people who have died as a result of a methadone overdose. In fact, twice as many people now die of methadone overdose than they do with heroin.

When methadone is used for detox over a short period of time, treatment clinics help to manage dosages and a persons safety. If you are looking for a methadone clinic near you for a short-term detox method, contact us at (855) 976-2092.



Catalano, R., Gainey, R., Fleming, C., Haggerty, K., & Johnson, N. (1999, February). An experimental intervention with families of substance abusers: one-year follow-up of the focus on families project. Retrieved from PUBMED.GOV: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10396792

Eckholm, E. (2008, August 16). Methadone Rises as a Painkiller With Big Risks. Retrieved from nytimes.com: https://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/17/us/17methadone.html?oref=slogin&_r=0



methadone addiction treatment

Methadone Maintenance – Treatment For Addiction to Opioids

MMT – methadone maintenance treatment for addiction is a comprehensive program in which patients are prescribed methadone for a long period of time in order to help them avoid other opioids, often heroin. Key to MMT is that methadone is not the sole treatment included in it. Rather, it also requires psychosocial and medical services, counseling, and proper case management. Exactly how long methadone maintenance will take will depend on the individual.

What Is Methadone and How Does It Work?

Methadone is a synthetic opioid that was popularized during WW2 as an alternative to morphine. It is long-acting, which means it does not lead to a euphoric high or rush. That said, it is still an opioid, which means developing a dependence on it is possible. While developed as a painkiller, it has been found to be very effective in the treatment of opioid addictions.

“Methadone works by changing how the brain and nervous system respond to pain. It lessens the painful symptoms of opiate withdrawal and blocks the euphoric effects of opiate drugs such as heroin, morphine, and codeine, as well as semi-synthetic opioids like oxycodone and hydrocodone.”

How methadone is administered and at what dosage will vary. However, one of the most popular dosages for MMT is around 100ml of liquid. This liquid has been formulated so that it is not as effective as an injection. At the start of an MMT program, physicians will monitor patients and adjust the dosage until they are able to suppress the withdrawal symptoms from their chosen opioid, reduce cravings, and stop the euphoric effects of other opioids, all the while preventing intoxication.

The Benefits of MMT

One of the biggest benefits of methadone maintenance is that it helps fight the physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms associated with opioid withdrawal.

“Withdrawal symptoms vary according to the drug of dependence and severity of dependence, but often include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, anxiety, and insomnia. During withdrawal, some patients may become disruptive and difficult to manage.”

Once the methadone is absorbed into the body and reaches the appropriate level, cravings will decline. Further, because methadone is a long-acting (24/36 hours) opioid antagonist, it only has to be used once daily. Heroin, on the other hand, is short-acting and lasts only three to six hours, meaning patients administer the drug several times each day, with each time bringing with it more chances of infections, diseases, overdose, and even death.

Methadone is an opioid, however, and the body will tend to develop a tolerance to it. However, such tolerance is generally slow to develop, which means patients can continue with an MMT program almost indefinitely so long as they are properly monitored and use the drug as prescribed. Unfortunately, in that also lies the problem, as many people do not use it as prescribed.

“Unless planning to detoxify, patients with high tolerance need high doses of methadone. If the substituted amount of methadone is less than their opiate habit, addicts will usually top up with illicit heroin, methadone, or benzodiazepines until they have reached adequate maintenance doses.”

Meanwhile, there has been a lot of research into the effectiveness of methadone and this is one of the reasons why it is described by many as a “wonder drug”. Studies have shown that properly administered MMT reduces how much opioids are used overall, mortality, participation in risky behaviors such as needle sharing and promiscuity, transmitted diseases, and criminal activity. Furthermore, MMT leads to a direct increase in treatment program retention, quality of life, social functioning, mental and physical health, and family relationships.

The Future of MMT

Because MMT has so many benefits, but only if managed properly, it is now a priority to increase access to MMT maintenance programs. Unfortunately, there remain many barriers in place to accessing treatment, something that is seen globally.

“Methadone maintenance therapy (MMT) has been proven to be effective and cost-effective in treating dependence on opioids. However, concerns remain that geographical, financial and other hidden barriers may hinder access to MMT, especially in rural areas where health services are limited.”

Thankfully, in this country at least, there is a lot of awareness of the barriers and the importance of increasing access. Hence, health professionals are now trained on MMT’s benefits and services have been designed to be more flexible, so that they meet the needs of the client.

The Need for an MMT Treatment Team

It is also very important for patients to be supported by the right treatment team. This means that they are under the supervision of a physician, but also work together with nurses, pharmacists, and counselors. The treatment team must be fully cohesive and focused on working with the patient and the community. No two addiction stories are the same, which means that no two therapeutic strategies will be the same either. It is therefore also vital that all members of the treatment team have excellent communication and are focused on working together.

MMT Regulation

Methadone is a Schedule II drug. This means that it is an opioid with high potential for abuse and dependency, although it has significant medicinal benefits. Those with the right training, license, and clearance, therefore, are able to prescribe it where appropriate. Naturally, stringent federal regulations are in place and must be adhered to, although some feel that they are insufficient.

“The Bradford memorandum opens a window onto state regulation of the use of narcotics for narcotic addiction that shows that it is very extensive and considerably more variable than federal regulation. Viewed historically, state regulation is far more developed today than it was when methadone was initially approved by FDA.”

A lot remains to be done about increasing access and ensuring that methadone maintenance is offered properly and in the right way. MMT is not for everybody, as it often means people continue to use methadone for years. Some prefer to opt for short term methadone detox, which usually means they enter a 21-day detox treatment program and use methadone for between three and seven days only, solely to stave off the withdrawal symptoms associated with the opioid they were addicted to.



[1] How Long is Methadone Maintenance. (2019, February 15). Retrieved from https://methadonenearme.com/methadone-maintenance/how-long-is-methadone-maintenance

[2] Institute of Medicine. (1995). Federal Regulation of Methadone Treatment – Federal Regulation of Methadone Treatment – NCBI Bookshelf. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK232105/

[3] Khampang, R. (2015). Perceived barriers to utilise methadone maintenance therapy among male injection drug users in rural areas of southern Thailand – Khampang – 2015 – Drug and Alcohol Review – Wiley Online Library. Retrieved from https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1111/dar.12268

[4] Methadone tolerance testing in drug misusers. (2006, November 16). Retrieved from https://www.bmj.com/content/333/7577/1056

[5] Methadone | SAMHSA – Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2015, 28). Retrieved from https://www.samhsa.gov/medication-assisted-treatment/treatment/methadone

[6] World Health Organization. (2009). Withdrawal Management – Clinical Guidelines for Withdrawal Management and Treatment of Drug Dependence in Closed Settings – NCBI Bookshelf. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK310652/


methadone maintenance for narcotic addiction

How Methadone Maintenance Became The First Pharmacological Treatment For Narcotic Addiction

During the 1960s, there was a surge of heroin abuse in this country. So much so, in fact, that it became a public health problem. During those days, addiction was seen as a lifestyle choice associated with criminal and antisocial behavior. In 1962, however, Vincent P. Dole, a Rockefeller researcher, started to look at it as an unresolved health problem as part of his role as New York City’s Health Research Council’s chairman. He was the first to propose that addiction is a disease, and particularly a metabolic disease that manifested in behavior.

“The most important principle to recognize is that addiction is a medical disease. And, as a medical disease, it’s the responsibility of the medical profession.”

So committed was Dole to understanding the problem that he made it the sole focus of his laboratory research. Prior to this, his focus was on metabolism and obesity. However, he felt he needed to devise a pharmacological approach to treating the chronic illness of heroin addiction. This eventually resulted into the development of the Methadone Maintenance Treatment, or MMT.

The Development of MMT

By the end of 1963, Dole attracted clinical investigator Mary Jeanne Kreek and psychiatrist Marie Nyswander to his research project. Together, they conducted a study of heroin addiction at the Rockefeller University Hospital. Within six months, they understood the potential of MMT, moving away from the concept of using methadone for short term detox option only.

What the team’s study showed was that there are a number of key benefits of methadone maintenance treatment. “It’s not a perfect medication, it’s not without side effects, and it’s not for everyone – but methadone maintenance treatment (MMT) offers significant advantages over the use of heroin or the illicit abuse of prescription opiates. If you or someone you love needs help for an opiate addiction, methadone maintenance treatment deserves consideration.”

Specifically, the study found that:

• Methadone reduces heroin cravings.
• Methadone stops withdrawal symptoms.
• Methadone is non-euphoric, meaning people do not get high from it. This effect is known as “narcotic blockade”.
• Methadone only needs to be taken once per day.

The study conducted by Dole and his team was repeated by others with similar results. Long term studies were also conducted, and those were pivotal in the FDA approval of the drug in 1972, which was when methadone started to become an official treatment option.

“For nearly three decades, methadone hydrochloride (6-dimethylamino-4, 4-diphenyl-3-heptanone hydrochloride) has been the primary means of treating opiate addiction. Approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1947 for analgesic and antitussive uses, methadone was shown to be effective in treating opiate addiction in the mid-1960s and was approved by FDA for this use in late 1972.”

Of interest is also the fact that Mary Jeanne Kreek developed a method to analyze and measure levels of opioids and methadone in the blood and tissue. It was this that enabled researchers to understand the long-acting properties of the drug. The team truly changed the way addiction is treated.

Did They Do Enough?

Today, MMT continues to be controversial. That said, it is also accepted as the most effective form of addiction treatment. Additionally, the trend and use of Methadone is increasing.

“While the number of facilities with OTPs has remained constant at around 1,100 to 1,200 since 2003 (8 to 9 percent of all substance abuse treatment facilities), the number of clients receiving methadone on the survey reference date increased from about 227,000 in 2003 to over 306,000 in 2011.”

It is believed that around one million people around the world now use MMT to help combat their opiate addiction. While this is just a fraction of the number of people who suffer from an opiate addiction, this is mainly due to barriers to access the treatment, rather than due to the ineffectiveness of MMT.

For their work, Dole and Nyswander received the first ever National Drug Abuse Conference annual award in 1978. By 1982, the New York Urban Coalition, the Committee of Methadone Program Administrators, and the New York State Division of Substance Abuse Services started the Nyswander-Dole Award, which continues to be hosted by the American Association for the Treatment of Opioid Dependence (AATOD), Inc.

Medication-Assisted Treatment

“AATOD has been the number one advocate, resource, and trainer for the field of medication-assisted treatment for opioid addiction since its inception. Given today’s challenges, that role is more important than ever and AATOD continues to enthusiastically accept those challenges for all of us in the field; patients, medical staff, clinicians, researchers, manufacturers, and regulators.”

Thanks to the work of Dr. Dole and his team, there has been a tremendous increase in the understanding of addiction. While MMT is still controversial and certainly not accepted by all, it is undeniable that it has helped hundreds of thousands of people the world over. What is perhaps even more vital is Dr. Dole’s overall legacy.

“The underlying theme in Dr. Vincent P. Dole’s work is the effect of metabolism on behavior. This led to groundbreaking investigations at The Rockefeller University in electrophoresis, lipids, obesity, addiction, and the development of methadone maintenance in 1964 with his late wife, Dr. Marie E. Nyswander. Dr. Mary Jeanne Kreek, a research resident in his laboratory in 1964, is now continuing addiction research as a professor at Rockefeller. Dole developed methadone detoxification in the New York City jail system and office-based methadone medical maintenance with Nyswander. His major concern was to resolve the stigma that methadone patients encounter.”

Methadone Success Rates

Unfortunately, the stigma of addiction still exists. Nevertheless, there is now greater acceptance of the concept that addiction is not a lifestyle choice nor a sign of weakness. People with addiction are victims of circumstances and develop a disease for which the medical community must provide treatment.

There continue to be significant failings that perpetuate the stigmatization of addicts, particularly through the criminal justice system. The focus is on incarceration, hoping that people will magically come out of the system “cured” and free from substances.

In reality, most addicts who enter the system come out just as addicted as before. Fortunately, it’s possible to beat your addiction and start living free from the chains of the disease, contact (855) 976-2092 to learn more.



[1] Bierer MD, M. (2017, January 25). Is Addiction a “Brain DIsease”? Retrieved from Harvard Health Publishing – Harvard Medical School: https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/is-addiction-a-brain-disease-201603119260

[2] Bell, J., & Zador, D. (n.d.). A risk-benefit analysis of methadone maintenance treatment. – PubMed – NCBI. Retrieved February 14, 2019, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10738842

[3] Rettig, R., & Yarmolinsky, A. (n.d.). Read “Federal Regulation of Methadone Treatment” at NAP.edu. Retrieved February 14, 2019, from https://www.nap.edu/read/4899/chapter/2

[4] Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. (April 23, 2013). The N-SSATS Report: Trends in the Use of Methadone and Buprenorphine at Substance Abuse Treatment Facilities: 2003 to 2011. Rockville, MD. Retrieved From: https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/N-SSATS%20Rprt%20Trnds%20Use%20Methadone%20&%20Buprenorphine%20at%20SA%20Trmt%20Facs%20%2003-11/N-SSATS%20Rprt%20Trnds%20Use%20Methadone%20&%20Buprenorphine%20at%20SA%20Trmt%20Facs%20%2003-11/sr107-NSSATS-Buprenorph.htm

[5] American Association for The Treatment of Opioid Dependency. (n.d.). AATOD | About Us. Retrieved February 14, 2019, from http://www.aatod.org/about-us/

naloxone overdose prevention drug

Opioid Addiction And The Overdose Crisis

Opioids are made up of a wide range of drugs. They include heroin, an illegal street drug; fentanyl and methadone, which are synthetic opioids; and prescription pain relievers, such as morphine, codeine, hydrocodone, and oxycodone. All of these drugs are chemically related. They interact with the brain and the nerve cells, which all have opioid pain receptors.

Opioids Are Addictive Drugs

When used therapeutically, opioid drugs have tremendous benefits. They act mainly as a painkiller, thereby significantly increasing the quality of life, particularly if patients suffer from chronic pain. However, they are also addictive and habit-forming, even when used on prescription, and the addiction can be both physical and psychological.

“Opioid addiction involves more than just physical dependence. Aside from physical dependence, opioid addiction also involves psychological dependence. This means that the drug is so central to the person’s life that the need to keep using becomes a craving or compulsion, even if the person knows continued use is harmful.”

Unfortunately, once a person is in the grips of opioid addiction, a range of negative consequences are likely to occur. These include engaging in risky behavior, an increased chance of infection with blood-borne diseases, criminal behavior, and loss of social life. Perhaps the greatest risk of opioid abuse is that there is a chance of having an overdose, which can be fatal.

In case of an overdose, it is possible for the symptoms to be reversed if someone is provided naloxone immediately.

“The drug naloxone is sometimes called a “save shot” or a “rescue shot” because of its ability to bring someone back from an overdose.”

In this country, there is an epidemic of addiction to opioids, particularly prescription painkillers. It should be noted that some improvements have been made, mainly by making it more difficult to obtain these drugs. It is in teen groups that improvements have been made, which is a positive development. However, deaths related to heroin have been rising since 2007. Thankfully, drugs such as methadone, naltrexone, and buprenorphine are available to help in the treatment of opioid addiction.

The Effectiveness of Treatment

A study completed by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) found that opioid addiction can be effectively treated with the right medication.

“A study comparing the effectiveness of two pharmacologically distinct medications used to treat opioid use disorder – a buprenorphine/naloxone combination and an extended release naltrexone formulation – shows similar outcomes once medication treatment is initiated. Among active opioid users, however, it was more difficult to initiate treatment with the naltrexone.”

The Overdose Crisis

In this country, around 115 people die every day as a result of an opioid overdose. Indeed, this is a national crisis that affects every element of society, including economic welfare, the legal justice system, and public health. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the economic burden of this alone is staggering.

“The total economic burden is estimated to be $78.5 billion. Over one-third of this amount is due to increased health care and substance abuse treatment costs ($28.9 billion). Approximately one-quarter of the cost is borne by the public sector in health care, substance abuse treatment, and criminal justice costs.”

The overdose crisis didn’t happen overnight. Towards the end of the 20th century, pharmaceutical companies claimed that opioid pain relievers were non-addictive, leading to an increase in prescription rate. Unfortunately, it was soon realized that these drugs were in fact highly addictive and that there was widespread abuse. By 2015, some 33,000 died of an opioid overdose in that year alone, and that included overdoses on legally obtained prescription drugs. Furthermore, some 2 million people were addicted to prescription painkillers, compared to 591,000 people with heroin addiction (some people were addicted to both).

It is now known that:

• Between 21% and 29% of people who take prescription painkillers misuse their drug.
• Between 8% and 12% of people who take prescription painkillers develop a use disorder.
• Between 4% and 6% of those who have a use disorder transition to heroin.
• Around 80% of heroin users used prescription painkillers first.
• There was a 30% increase in incidences of opioid overdose between July 2016 and September 2017 in 45 states.
• There was a 70% increase in the incidences of opioid overdose between July 2016 and September 2017 in the Midwestern region.
• There was a 54% increase in the incidences of opioid overdose in large cities in 16 states.

Clearly, this is a public health crisis that affects everybody in this country.

“With continued increases in opioid overdoses, availability of timely data are important to inform actions taken by EDs and public health practitioners. Increases in opioid overdoses varied by region and urbanization level, indicating a need for localized responses. Educating ED physicians and staff members about appropriate services for immediate care and treatment and implementing a post-overdose protocol that includes naloxone provision and linking persons into treatment could assist EDs with preventing overdose.”

The impact of the overdose crisis is significant. There has been a marked increase, for instance, in the number of babies born with neonatal abstinence syndrome due to maternal opioid abuse during pregnancy. Additionally, there has been a marked increase in the number of diagnoses of both hepatitis C and HIV.

What Is Being Done

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has announced five key priorities to address this crisis.

“At HHS, we’re ready to fight alongside… the millions of Americans who are trying to find recovery or help their loved ones do so… The Trump Administration is committed to bringing everything the federal government has to bear on this health emergency.”

These five priorities are:

1. To improve access to treatment
2. To promote the use of drugs like naloxone
3. To focus on better public health surveillance to increase understanding of the epidemic
4. To provide support for addiction and pain research
5. To advance pain management best practice

One the latest initiatives was launched in April 2018, which is the Helping to End Addiction Long-Term (HEAL) Initiative, in which various agencies have come together to find a scientific solution to the national opioid crisis, with a focus on both treatment and prevention.

Want to Learn More?

Do you want more information on methadone clinics and methadone treatment? Are you still on the fence about whether or not this is the right approach for you?

If so, check out our methadone treatment blog posts today or call us at (855) 976-2092 for more resources to help you make an informed decision about how to navigate the recovery process.

At Methadone Near Me, we only post information that comes from trusted sources. Please see the list of sources below to do your own studying on this topic. We encourage you to dive deeper and learn all you can.


[1] Mental Illness & Addiction Index. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.camh.ca/en/health-info/mental-illness-and-addiction-index

[2] Nadia Kounang, CNN. (2016, April 28). What is naloxone? Retrieved from https://edition.cnn.com/2016/04/28/health/what-is-naloxone-narcan-opioid-overdose/index.html

[3] Opioid treatment drugs have similar outcomes once patients initiate treatment. (2017, November 14). Retrieved from https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/opioid-treatment-drugs-have-similar-outcomes-once-patients-initiate-treatment

[4] Florence CS , et al. (n.d.). The Economic Burden of Prescription Opioid Overdose, Abuse, and Dependence in the United States, 2013. – PubMed – NCBI. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27623005

[5] Vital Signs: Trends in Emergency Department Visits for Suspected … (2018, March 8). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/67/wr/mm6709e1.htm

[6] Secretary Price Announces HHS Strategy for Fighting Opioid Crisis. (2018, March 7). Retrieved from https://www.hhs.gov/about/leadership/secretary/speeches/2017-speeches/secretary-price-announces-hhs-strategy-for-fighting-opioid-crisis/index.html