statistics on recovery from drug addiction

The Opiate Addiction Recovery Statistics You Need to See

Everyone knows someone in or recovering from an addiction of some sort. Addiction has a wide range of types,  stretching from gambling, shopping, sex, opiates, to alcohol. If you don’t think you know anyone, take a harder look.

We will take a look at opiate addiction recovery statistics, what programs seem to work best, and even the amount of federal dollars involved. Keep reading for information on statistics and rates of opioid abuse.

The statistics on the addiction epidemic are almost unreal, very scary, and can be eye-opening. As previously mentioned, addiction doesn’t have to be completely illegal. The things used to get high actually be completely legal but how it affects the user becomes the detriment.

The wild thing about substance abuse is that it’s generally hidden from the untrained eye. Addicts go to crazy lengths to not get caught and hide their addiction.

Onset of Drug Abuse

Opioid addiction always starts somewhere. Most often, it begins with a prescription to painkillers and the brain’s need to continue on them. It can also be linked to mental illnesses such as depression.

To give you some idea of the magnitude of the problem, the United States only makes up about 5% of the world’s population. It is responsible for 80% of opioid consumption. Furthermore, 21% of people with a mental diagnosis are addicted to painkillers.

To round things out, it has been noted that about 2.1 million people in the U.S. have reported a full-blown opiate addiction. This number is probably higher due to the fact many don’t want to report their substance abuse out of fear or shame.

An opiate addiction can also begin with more socially accepted drugs like alcohol or marijuana, or come from another cross-addiction. This means it isn’t unheard of or uncommon for someone to stop using one drug in order to clean up their lives, only to pick up a different one.

Statistics are quick to point out that those addicted to prescription painkillers are 40 times more likely to become heroin-addicted. Also, it should be considered that 80 percent of heroin users started with opioid painkillers.

The Problem With Fixing It

As mentioned above, many opiate abusers and addicts are likely to become addicted to heroin. There are a couple of reasons for this.

The first reason one might progress from opiate painkillers to heroin is cost. Generally, the amount spent on painkillers is about $1 per milligram and the cost of heroin is about a tenth of that cost.

Science has also tried to help fix the problem with few results. Pharmaceutical companies made certain drugs harder to crush to snort or shoot up. This worked for a short time but people went to heroin to get their fix.

Another major issue is that it seems that doctors over-prescribe these medications, either giving too many pills at once or bypassing other lower-dose options. This gives way to addiction and obtaining medications illegally or moving to other substances.

Overall, addictions are expensive. They’re expensive for the user, for their families, and for the nation. According to The New York Times, people in power have allocated $45 billion to state spending on opioid treatment, and it still might not be enough!

Opiate Addiction Recovery Statistics

Recovery from opiate addiction isn’t an easy road. Without help, there is little success. Inpatient treatment can get expensive, and relapse becomes a common threat.

There is always a chance of relapse when trying to recover from drug abuse. The statistics show that 91% of people in recovery will experience at least one relapse. It can absolutely be devastating, but if used as a stepping stone and something to learn from, growth will be seen.

It is not recommended to quit opiates cold turkey. The withdrawal process is difficult and uncomfortable. It can also be dangerous without a doctor’s supervision.

If rehab has been a part of your story, you’re likely familiar with 12-step programs. These are fantastic programs that incorporate spirituality into your everyday life. Some users simply attend meetings to find the support and understanding they’re looking for.

In the same breath, 12-step meetings don’t work for everyone.

The statistics on 12-step programs are difficult to come by, as most are anonymous, but many attendees boast success. One program in particular claims that people stay drug-free on average of 8.3 years.

Again, 12-step programs don’t appeal or apply to everyone, and many people prefer treating their medical problem with a medical solution. Many turn to medication-assisted treatment and seek the benefits of methadone maintenance programs.

Medication-assisted treatments can be seen as controversial by some, but in fact, they work similarly to any other medically supervised treatments. You’re prescribed an amount of methadone, take the dose given, and follow doctor’s orders.

Methadone treatment has a success rate ranging from 60-90%. It also maintains an addicts’ tolerance. While this may sound odd, it actually reduces the risk of overdose in the event of a relapse.


Life After Addiction

The statistics of opiate abuse may seem dark and even frightening. Luckily, emerging opiate addiction recovery statistics prove that there is life after addiction.

Every option can seem scary or like it will be life-long. The truth is, medical treatment with methadone isn’t. It might last a year or longer, but it’s not forever.

Treatment with methadone fosters a major link between opiate abuse and mental health. Often, clinics have resources and can refer clients to counselors or social workers that best fit their case.

Allowing patients to process and identify their triggers is a huge component of relapse prevention.

Once you’re finished with the treatment program, you have the option to go on with your life, build something great, and never look back.

No matter how you decide to handle addiction, help is within reach. If you or a loved one is in active addiction and ready to live life, consider your options. We offer many educational resources and information about methadone treatment centers for addiction and medication-assisted treatment.

If you or someone you love is struggling with heroin addiction and want to find options for methadone treatment near you, give us a call at (855) 976- 2092.


[1] National Institute on Drug Abuse. (n.d.). Prescription opioid use is a risk factor for heroin use. Retrieved from

[2] Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN Chief Medical Correspondent. (2016, June 2). Unintended consequences: Why painkiller addicts turn to heroin. Retrieved from

[3] $45 Billion to Fight Opioid Abuse? That’s Much Too Little, Experts Say. (2017, December 22). Retrieved from

Fundamentals of Methadone Maintenance

The Basic Principles of a Methadone Maintenance Program

With the number of people who fall prey to Opioid addiction rates still climbing, there’s a good chance that you know someone who has had their life turned upside-down by these dangerous drugs.

Perhaps it’s you yourself that is currently struggling with an Opioid addiction.

When you’re ready to take control of your life again, you need to make sure that you detox the right — and safe — way. Quitting cold turkey can have serious health risks, and may even cost you your life.

What’s the solution?

For many, it’s a methadone maintenance program.

But what is methadone maintenance, and how does the program work?

Read on to learn more about what you can expect out of a methadone maintenance program, and to decide whether or not it’s the right choice for you.

What is Methadone Maintenance?

Methadone maintenance, which is sometimes known as replacement therapy, is a form of drug therapy and rehabilitation for those with addictions to opioids.

Those who seek it out are given methadone in a pill or a liquid form over the course of their treatment.

Methadone works to stop the effects of opioids and prescription pain medication. This means that, over the course of your treatment, your body will begin to crave these opioids less and less.

You’ll also deal with far less severe symptoms of withdrawal than you would quitting cold turkey, or in some cases, even in a more traditional rehab center.

Usually, those who try methadone therapy are people who have not been successful with a more standard detox process in the past.

It’s also given to those who are about to enter into a rehab center and need help getting over the worst of their withdrawal. A maintenance program will help you to keep your sobriety, and also lower your chances of contracting HIV as a result.

It’s essential that you only try methadone maintenance at a licensed clinic. This is because it is possible to overdose on methadone if you’re not given the right amount, or if you’re given too high of a dosage within a certain time period.

So, how do you find the right dosage for you?

Usually, that depends on your height and weight, as well as the kind of opioid you’ve been taking. How much of the drugs you have been using is also a factor in the amount of methadone that you’ll need.

Fast Facts About Methadone Therapy

Now that you understand the more basic principles of methadone, let’s make sure you have all the information that you need.

One of the reasons why this treatment is so popular is because of the high methadone success rate. In fact, anywhere between 60-90% of those facing opioid addiction have been able to come off the drugs thanks to methadone.

Whether or not they’ve been able to keep their sobriety is up to the individual addict, of course. However, a methadone maintenance program has been proven to help addicts jump-start their overall rehabilitation process.

You should also be aware that methadone will be able to stay in your system for over 50 hours. This means that you won’t need to take methadone several times over the course of a day.

However, you need to be aware that a methadone maintenance program isn’t something you can complete in a week.

For many, you’ll get the methadone treatment that you need over the course of a few years. In general, you’ll check in about every 60-90 days to see how your body is responding.

Remember that methadone treatment doesn’t help you to “cure” your addiction. It’s not meant to be a replacement for traditional rehab and therapy. Instead, view it as a way to safely complete the detox part of your treatment program.

Are There Side Effects to Methadone Therapy?

While we hope that we’ve illustrated just a few of the many benefits of methadone, we also need to make you aware of the potential side effects.

Some users report that they have side effects that are a bit similar to those associated with standard withdrawal from drugs.

This means that you may have a little trouble falling and staying asleep. You may also experience a slight uptick in your anxiety levels, and notice that you’re a bit jittery throughout the day.

In some cases, those enrolled in methadone therapy have experienced a loss of appetite and a lowered sex drive.

You may also experience vomiting and diarrhea.

You should let the professionals at your treatment program know you if you begin to have trouble breathing, or if you experience fainting spells and general feelings of lightheadedness.

Remember that the intensity and types of side effects that you experience while in a methadone treatment program will vary from person to person.

In general, you can expect the majority of these side effects to begin to fade or lessen after about two weeks in treatment.

So, the benefits of methadone certainly outweigh these potential side effects.

Interested in Finding a Methadone Maintenance Program?

We hope that this post has helped to educate you about whether or not a methadone maintenance program is a right choice for you.

Remember, while methadone will help with the initial symptoms of withdrawal, a maintenance program is meant to be a long-term solution to help you keep your sobriety.

You should expect to enroll in a maintenance program for a minimum of one year.

Looking to learn more about methadone therapy? Want to find the treatment program that’s right for you?

We can help. Contact us for resources and guidance at (855) 976-2092. Or you can spend some time on our website and blog to further understand how to take control back over your life.



[1] Kounang, N. (2017, June 30). Opioid addiction rates continue to skyrocket. Retrieved from

[2] Quitting Opioids Cold Turkey Made Me Want to Die. (2017, November 28). Retrieved from


triggers in recovery

6 Opioid Addiction Triggers to Avoid During Rehab and Recovery

The current opioid crisis in the United States takes 115 lives every day from overdoses alone.

As scary as that statistic is, it doesn’t even touch on the thousands of people whose lives are threatened and mangled by addiction.

If you or a loved one is among them, here’s the good news: there’s hope for recovery. Now that the opioid crisis is well-known, it’s been studied and publicized to build support for those who are struggling with addiction.

If you’re in recovery, one of the most important ways to stay clean is to avoid or manage potential addiction triggers. Knowing what stumbling blocks you may encounter and having a plan can mean the difference between a win or a relapse. To help you manage your recovery, check out the most common triggers below.

Addiction Triggers to Avoid During Opioid Recovery

While you may not be able to avoid challenging situations forever, it’s a helpful way to stay clean in the earlier or more fragile parts of your recovery. Here are some of the most common ones to look for:


HALT is a common acronym used in recovery. It stands for hungry, angry, lonely, and tired. All of these situations can make you vulnerable to a relapse because your basic needs aren’t being met.

Obviously, you can’t avoid ever feeling any of these emotions. You can, however, get better about recognizing these risky points. If you’re feeling the need to use opiates, ask yourself if you’re actually hungry, angry, lonely, or tired. Instead of using, take action to fix the real problem.

It’s also a good idea to prepare yourself for these instances.

Start having snacks available when you need them. Learn some anger management techniques. Build a network of supportive friends (even if they’re just online), and indulge in a nap if you need one.

Major Life Changes

Stress is one of the most common addiction triggers, both initiating original addictive behaviors and triggering relapses.

Major life changes, even those that seem positive, can be massive causes of stress. Avoid starting new romantic relationships in the early stages of your recovery. You should also try to avoid moves and stressful job changes if possible, too.

While there’s no hard and fast schedule for how long opiate addiction takes, new relationships and other major life changes should usually be avoided for your first year of sobriety.

People Who Use Drugs

By far, one of the most common tips for addiction recovery is to stop associating with the people who used to use drugs with you. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the hardest tips to follow because these are often people you genuinely love.

Remember that if these people truly love you and want you to recover, they’ll understand why you need some space. In fact, it may motivate them to get clean as well.

In this same vein, you should also avoid the places and situations in which you used to use opiates. Look for new places to hang out or new friends to surround yourself with who will support you in your recovery.

Non-Supportive Friends & Family

Addiction recovery isn’t something a person goes through on his/her own. It’s a journey for everyone who loves you, too, and some cope with it better than others.

Sometimes this takes the form of outright anger or contempt, perhaps because they’re struggling with addiction themselves or because they miss your attention. In other cases, the lack of support is trickier. The person truly loves you and cares for you, but is overly accepting of your behavior and becomes an enabler.

If you have friends or family members who aren’t fully supportive of your recovery, they may not be the best people to spend time with during your early sobriety.

Keep in mind that you can help your friends and family support your addiction recovery. There are support groups, books, and counseling options available specifically for their experience.

Mental or Physical Illness

Clearly, you can’t 100% prevent mental or physical illnesses during your opioid recovery. But for a large number of people who became addicted to opioids by misusing prescription pain pills, falling ill is one of their worst fears.

During your recovery, take steps to protect your health by eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise. This is also a helpful hobby to have to distract you from your cravings.

One of the most important ways to protect your mental and physical health, though, is to seek help if you start to notice a problem. If possible, see a psychologist or other mental health professional on a regular basis and stay open to his/her suggestions.

In the same way, get medical attention if you notice a physical health issue, too. Whether it’s an injury or a potential illness, letting it go without treatment often causes it to get worse. This can add up to a more serious health issue that’s difficult to treat without pain medication, or to a relapse simply from the discomfort and stress of it.


There’s a delicate balance you need to strike with your internal narrative while recovering from addiction. You have to believe in yourself and empower yourself to stay strong. But at the same time, you can’t become overly confident in your sobriety.

If you take your sobriety for granted, you’re likely to get into situations that leave you vulnerable to a relapse. At that point, the moment you let your guard down, you’re set up for a huge risk. Remind yourself that while its entirely within your power to stay clean, it’s never a given so you need to stay vigilant.

Getting Help for Your Opioid Addiction

Addiction recovery always has its ups and downs. Some days you’ll feel empowered and dedicated to a more fulfilling life. Other days you’ll doubt every choice you’ve made. It’s important to use those strong times to set up safeguards for the weaker times.

The tips above can help you avoid addiction triggers to lower your risk for relapse and get you on the road to a clean, sober, and meaningful life. If you need some additional help or you’re in the earlier stages of your recovery, learn more about methadone treatment here or call us at (855) 976-2092.


National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2019, January 22). Opioid Overdose Crisis. Retrieved from

Melemis S. M. (2015). Relapse Prevention and the Five Rules of Recovery. The Yale journal of biology and medicine, 88(3), 325–332. Retrieved from

symptoms of methadone withdrawal

5 Methadone Withdrawal Symptoms You Need to Know About

Did you know that methadone is commonly used to treat opioid addiction?

Methadone is a synthetic drug that is similar to morphine in terms of the effects but has proven to be longer lasting. Prescribed by a doctor, it is used as a substitute drug in the treatment of opioid addiction.

Using methadone to come down from an opioid addiction is a safe method of detoxing. It functions by replacing the opioids in an addict’s system with similar yet milder effects.

While methadone has proven effective for addicts, coming off of methadone has its own set of symptoms. If you or someone you love is suffering from opioid addiction, you’re going to want to learn about methadone.

Here is our guide to methadone and the five most common withdrawal symptoms.

1. Opioid Cravings

The most common and anticipated withdrawal symptom from methadone is the craving to continue using. As with any addiction, the body and brain’s functionality begins to rely on the drug. Once the body is no longer receiving the drug, it becomes disoriented and craves the drug.

This is why treatment programs slowly wean users off of methadone rather than quitting cold turkey.

If an addict decides to quit methadone without slowly easing the dosage, the withdrawal symptoms will be more intense. This is often the case when users consider deciding to detox at home rather than at a treatment center.

Because the body is no longer receiving the methadone it was used to, the cravings are more extreme and difficult to resist.

When slowly reducing the methadone intake (often with the help of a program) the cravings are less sudden and less intense. With this method, the doctor will track your body’s response to the methadone and slowly adjust the intake.

As with most drugs, cravings can recur months and even years after finally getting clean. Learn more here to help survive going through withdrawal and overcome cravings.

2. Flu-Like Symptoms

Those suffering from methadone withdrawal will often compare the symptoms to flu-like symptoms. This is usually characterized by feeling on the brink of the flu or stomach virus and becomes more intense as the days go on. This can be characterized by symptoms such as:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Chills

Of course, the extremity of these symptoms is dependent on the usage levels of the addict and their methods of quitting. If the addict was suffering from heavy opioid use and suddenly quits cold turkey, the symptoms will be more sudden an intense.

3. Muscle Aches and Pains

After the last dosage of methadone, one of the most prevalent symptoms includes muscle aches and pain. Because the muscles are so used to feeling numb, they forget what it’s like to suddenly experience feeling.

Similar to flu-like symptoms, the user is likely to experience various physical aches and pains. The body may feel continuously exhausted, weak and incapable of daily activities.

The user may also find they experience sudden and very intense body temperature changes. One minute the may be sweating while the next minute their body is overcome by coldness and chill.

This can be characterized by the sudden need to be free of any clothing and next feel the need to have a hot shower.

4. Shakes

Tremors are one of the most common early symptoms of withdrawal for any drug.

While shakes and tremors may be immediate symptoms, they become most prevalent after the first few days of withdrawal. This is usually after nausea and physical pains begin to diminish.

This can be characterized by a decrease in fine motor skills and noticeable shaking in the body. most notably, the tremors occur in the hands and fingers which can make it difficult to hold objects and perform small tasks. The body may also experience sudden muscle spasms.

For physical symptoms such as tremors, the expected length of methadone withdrawal symptoms is up to a few weeks. As time goes on, the physical symptoms will become less intense and less noticeable.

5. Anxiety and Irritability

Unfortunately for users, the symptoms of withdrawal are not limited to physical vulnerabilities. The most challenging and emotionally exhausting toll withdrawal takes on a user is on one’s mental health and well-being.

Withdrawal occurs when the body has to learn how to function without the drug. When this occurs, the body is undergoing a significant change that has an extreme influence on one’s mental health.

This can be characterized by extremely low moods and irritability as well as paranoia and unease. With extreme instances, this can even lead to panic attacks.

For these reasons, treatment programs are always recommended. This help users cope with their mental state and receive support and medical treatment.

For those that are suffering from extreme cases of anxiety, doctors may prescribe additional medication to elevate mood and ease anxiety. This allows the addict to transition more easily through the withdrawal process and increase their chances of overcoming the addiction.

Combatting Methadone Withdrawal Symptoms

If you have been using opioids, you should expect to begin experiencing methadone withdrawal symptoms 12 hours after your last dosage.

A type of opiate substitution therapy, methadone helps to treat addiction by the use of medication-assisted treatment. The methadone allows the body to achieve a similar stimulation as opioids but with more mild effects. At the same time, it helps to curb opioid withdrawal and eliminate the pain of coming off of opioids.

It is important to note that withdrawal symptoms also occur in using methadone. Understanding these symptoms and being prepared to fight them is the best way to overcome your addiction.

There’s no denying that overcoming an addiction has its challenges. But with the right treatment and medication, it’s always possible.

If you’re interested in learning more about the significance of methadone and fighting addition, be sure to explore our website or give us a call at (855) 976- 2092!


[1] Opiate and opioid withdrawal. (2019, March 22). Retrieved from

[2] The methadone fix. (2008, March). Retrieved from

effectiveness of methadone

How Effective is a Methadone Maintenance Program?

If you have done research on the current state of our country’s nationwide opioid epidemic, you have very likely heard about methadone maintenance. Methadone maintenance treatment usually brings about a wide range of opinions, but these are very rarely rooted in fact.

If you aren’t sure how you feel about methadone maintenance treatment programs or if you would just like to do a little more research, you’ve come to the right place. Read on to learn more about the effectiveness of methadone maintenance and what it can do for opiate addiction.

How Does it Work?

Methadone is a medicine that doctors use to treat opiate addiction and to relieve pain. It works to block the receptors in the brain that opioids affect.

Methadone maintenance treatments reduce or completely eliminate the drug cravings and the harsh withdrawal symptoms of withdrawal, which are usually triggers for a relapse. However, they do not create the same euphoria that opiate abuse does.

Methadone lasts between 24 and 36 hours and most patients benefit from a daily dose.

Medical professionals offer methadone in pill, liquid, and wafer forms. And as with medical treatments for virtually all disorders, methadone is to be prescribed as one part of a while treatment plan that includes counseling and social support programs.

Fact vs. Falsehood

First things first, methadone isn’t good and it isn’t evil. It is simply a proven method for treating opiate addiction. It’s not going to solve an addict’s problems overnight, but it could provide them with the peace and stability that they need to put their life back together.

It’s common to hear people say that methadone maintenance is just trading one addiction for another. However, nothing could be further from the truth.

Methadone allows an addict to become stable. They are trading their addiction to a dangerous opiate for a medical dependence on a supervised and safe drug. Do we call diabetics addicted to insulin? Are asthmatics addicted to their inhaler?

Absolutely not.

While an addict is in methadone maintenance treatment, they need to take methadone at regular intervals in order to avoid withdrawal symptoms, the same way diabetics need their insulin. However, they don’t have the compulsive thoughts and behaviors associated with addiction.

When a person is addicted to heroin, that drug defined their lives and virtually ended their ability to make positive decisions. Methadone puts them back in control.

Is Methadone Maintenance Effective?

People who use long-term methadone maintenance have better outcomes than people who only use it for short periods of time. The recommended minimum for the best outcome is at least one year.

People who take higher doses of methadone actually tend to stay in treatment for longer periods of time than those who only take the minimum. They also tend to have better outcomes.

A recent study compared the treatment outcomes of people on 40 mg of methadone per day to those who took 75 mg per day. This study found that the people on high doses of methadone had significantly higher treatment retention, double that of what those who took 40 mg a day.

That said, every addict has a unique dosing need. Everyone metabolizes methadone differently, and every dosage should be decided by a medical professional.

If someone stays on methadone for more than two weeks, they have an 80% chance of staying on that treatment program for longer than six months. Also, studies show that methadone treatment has a massive impact on illicit opiate use, dangerous behavior, HIV transmission, and criminal activity.

With Suboxone and Subutex, an addict will experience a cap to their relief. However, on methadone, even heavy heroin addicts can get complete relief from their withdrawal symptoms.

Also, methadone won’t cause harm to major organs even with prolonged use.

And perhaps the most stunning statistic of all, people who are in a methadone maintenance treatment program have 30% of the mortality rate as those who use opiates without methadone.

Methadone Isn’t an Overnight Solution

Methadone is sometimes used as a short-term detox method, it’s actually best used when treated as a long-term maintenance medication for opiate addiction.

Methadone withdrawal is unspeakably hard, only people who have dealt with it can really understand the scope. But methadone works to keep a recovering addict stable and free from pain and cravings as they try to get their life back together.

Most people do start to feel stronger and ready to wean off of the medication, however, some people continue to use it as a long-term solution, even for life. It’s not a quick fix, but it does work.

Methadone Safety

Methadone can be addictive, so the addict must use it as prescribed. Methadone is specifically designed for each individual person and shouldn’t ever be shared with anyone else. An addict should share their total health history with their doctors to make sure they are receiving a healthy dose of the medication.

There are some medications that interact with methadone and can cause heart conditions. Even after methadone wears off, the active ingredient will remain in the body for a long time. Taking more methadone will result in an overdose.

A patient shouldn’t ever use more than prescribed and never consume any alcohol while taking the medication.

Is a Methadone Maintenance Program Effective?

Every addict and addiction is unique. A methadone maintenance program might not be the right answer for you or your loved one at this time.

But when an opiate addict is ready, it is a beneficial tool that can keep them clean. It isn’t a solution that is designed the work overnight and it isn’t without its flaws. But it is our best tool for fighting back against the opiate epidemic.

If you or a loved one is dealing with addiction, don’t wait to get help. Contact us at (855) 976-2092 or check out our blog for resources on methadone treatment and opiate addiction.


[1] SAMHSA. (2018, 1). Medication Assisted Treatment of Opioid Use Disorder. Retrieved from

[2] Moderate- vs High-Dose Methadone in the Treatment of Opioid Dependence. (1999, March 17). Retrieved from

[3] Methadone maintenance treatment – Clinical Guidelines for Withdrawal Management and Treatment of Drug Dependence in Closed Settings – NCBI Bookshelf. (n.d.). Retrieved from

[4] Opiate-addicted Parents in Methadone Treatment: Long-term Recovery, Health and Family Relationships. (n.d.). Retrieved from


effects of heroin

The Long-Term Effects of Heroin Abuse

Do you know how to recognize the long-term symptoms of heroin abuse?

Heroin addiction may not look like what you would expect. When you understand the signs of heroin use, you can take action to help a friend, family member, or another loved one who may be in trouble. But if you don’t know what to look for, you might find out too late.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about what heroin abuse looks like, so you can take action when you need to. Keep reading to learn more.

How Heroin Abuse Starts

Heroin is an incredibly strong opiate narcotic that provides a fast, intense high, making it one of the most abused drugs in the world.

Morphine an opiate that occurs naturally, is used to make heroin. When heroin is used, it creates a sense of rushing pleasure and well-being in the user. The high wears off in just a few hours, but the user will actively desire the feeling again and again. This desire quickly becomes an addiction.

Heroin is often bought as a street drug, making it even more dangerous, as sellers often mix it with other things to cut costs. The heroin might be “cut” with nontoxic things like baby powder or cornstarch. Other times, it’s cut with more dangerous materials like quinine or arsenic.

Buyers have no way of knowing what the heroin they get off the street has in it, which makes it dangerous every time they use it. There are quite a few ways to use heroin. Although injection might be the most well-known form of consumption, people can also smoke heroin or snort it.

The drug hits the brain at a different speed, depending on how it’s taken. Injecting puts the heroin directly into the bloodstream, creating a faster, harder-hitting high, which is why it’s such a popular method of consumption.

Heroin Tolerance

With regular use, heroin addicts develop a tolerance to the drug. They’ll start to need more and more of it to feel the same high as they felt before. This can quickly lead to an addict turning their life upside down just to get more heroin. They’ll devote all their energy, time, and money to chasing the next high.

That’s why heroin addiction is so devastating. It can ruin careers, families, and futures. Addiction to heroin is a disease with many serious long-term effects, but it often starts out with small steps. However, no matter what stage of addiction an addict is in, professional treatment can help them overcome it.

Let’s take a closer look at the effects of heroin abuse over time, so you can learn to recognize the danger every step of the way.

Heroin’s Short-Term Effects

Heroin makes users feel a rush of pleasurable feeling by connecting with the body’s natural opioid receptors. This creates a chemical reaction that leads to the release of dopamine, one type of the many neurotransmitters in the brain and addiction is in fact linked.

Dopamine is a molecule that controls pleasurable feelings or the sense of reward in the brain. This reward system is what sparks the addiction since the brain is hardwired to seek out these rewards again and again. The user will continue to repeat the behavior that releases the dopamine, even when that behavior is self-destructive.

The short-term effects of heroin vary somewhat depending on how the user takes it. The most common short-term effects include:

  • The euphoric feeling of a “rush”
  • A flushed, warm feeling during this rush
  • A heavy, sinking feeling of the extremities
  • Pain reduction
  • Sleepiness and sedation
  • Lethargy

The most pleasurable part of the rush only lasts for a few minutes, but the sense of sedation lasts for a couple of hours. Every effect lasts longer or shorter depending on how pure the drug was, how much was taken, and how it was consumed.

While high on heroin, users often cycle between wakefulness and sleep, which is called “the nod.” As mentioned above, the more a user takes heroin, the less “high” they get, so they have to keep upping the dose to get the same sensations. As the tolerance builds, this can eventually lead to an overdose.

Heroin Side Effects

Many negative side effects begin to occur with regular heroin use. Most of these effects are due to the body’s natural adaptation methods. When a user takes heroin on a regular basis, their body has to cope by getting used to being high.

Common heroin side effects may include:

  • Nausea
  • Confusion
  • Grogginess
  • Itchiness
  • Dry mouth
  • Lowered body temperature
  • Slowed heart rate

No matter where a user is on their path towards addiction, overdose and death are also side effects that always pose a risk. Because heroin is a street drug, its purity levels vary, and it’s impossible to tell what an appropriate dose will be.

The side effects can also be worsened by combined heroin with other drugs. Depressants like sedatives and alcohol compound effects like the slowed heart rate and lowered body temperature. This combination of effects can also be dangerous. The breathing may become dangerously slow, cutting off the oxygen supply to the brain.

Heroin Long-Term Effects

Over time, the damage that heroin does to the body builds up.

A few long-term effects of heroin abuse include:

  • Damaged teeth and swollen gums
  • Damaged skin from scratching
  • Lowered immune system response
  • Malnutrition and appetite loss
  • A decrease in sexual function

In addition to these effects, heroin also leads to irreversible kidney and liver damage, and brain damage from the lack of oxygen. Regular users may develop complications like abscesses, heart valve infections, and bacterial infections.

When people use heroin during pregnancy, the baby may be born with an addiction, too. The effects of heroin are long-lasting, far-reaching, and can severely damage a person’s quality of life.

Stopping Heroin Abuse in Its Tracks

When heroin abuse begins, professional intervention is the only certain way to stop it before it destroys your life. With treatment, many addicts are able to make full recoveries and go on to lead healthy, positive lives.

To learn more about whether methadone treatment is right for you or someone you know, check out this post to see the facts about methadone.

If you or someone you love is struggling with heroin addiction and want to find options for methadone treatment near you, give us a call at (855) 976- 2092.


[1] Morphine: MedlinePlus Drug Information. (2019, January 29). Retrieved from

[2] DrugAbuse.Gov. (2018). Neurotransmitter Fact Sheet. Retrieved from


someone you love is addicted

How to Help an Addict Recover

When someone you love deals with drug or alcohol abuse, you watch them struggle with mental health issues and physical problems, both short- and long-term. In addition to their own pain, they can cause you and the other people they love to suffer as well.

It can often be so hard to know the right way to help an addict. So often the things we do seem to hurt them, no matter how you look at it.

If someone you love is dealing with addiction, it’s important to understand the signs of substance abuse issues and how to help an addict. But it’s also important to take care of yourself.

Read on to learn more about how to help an addict.

The Signs and Symptoms

When someone is struggling with an addiction, many of their symptoms are internal. Unfortunately, this means you probably won’t see the worst of it. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of things to watch out for.

Here are some of the external symptoms to look for if you suspect a loved one is dealing with addiction:

  • Appearing intoxicated more frequently
  • Developing cognition and memory issues
  • Lethargy, sleeping more, sleeping at strange times, or appearing tired all the time
  • Only attending events if alcohol is involved
  • Stealing to pay for drugs
  • Lying about how much they are using
  • Becoming angry or sad when questioned about substance use
  • Going through withdrawal
  • Poor hygiene

Substance abusers usually act much different when they are using. They are more apt to say and do hurtful things and take increasingly more dangerous risks with their life. There is nothing more hurtful about having a loved one who is suffering from addiction than watching them degrade and value themselves less and less.

Control or Influence?

At some point, you might try to force your loved one to get help. You have the best of intentions, all you want to do is see them get well. However, even if they do agree, they are much more likely to fail in this attempt to overcome addiction.

Addiction isn’t a choice that someone can control. It’s a compulsion. They aren’t able to stop without help. This is because they have required the risk and reward centers of their brains by constantly reinforcing their cravings.

If you try to blame them or protect them from their consequences, it’s not going to help them. This is because you don’t have control and either do they. Their addiction does.

However, you do hold a lot of influence in their lives. If you can gather a group of loved ones to stage an intervention the right way, you can show how much you love the addict while also setting boundaries around their addictive behaviors. Make sure that any attempt at intervention is centered around helping the addict and it’s thoroughly planned out.

Even if you can’t hold an intervention, just sit the addict down and talk to them about your concerns in a calm, clear way. Offer them help with your social support, information on drug rehab programs, and other ways that they can get healthy. Even something as simple as this can help someone suffering from addiction seek help.

Stop Being Codependent

If you are in a close personal relationship with an addict, you are likely being an enabler in a codependent relationship. Codependency involves your desire to help the person and show love, but a lot of the time this “help” is actually just fueling the addiction and causing more damage in the long-term.

  • Some signs that you are in a codependent relationship include:
  • Taking responsibility for the addict
  • Putting the addict’s feelings first
  • Holding onto the relationship with the addict in order to avoid feeling abandoned
  • Trouble talking about your feelings
  • Inability to set personal boundaries

Even if when you started your relationship with your loved one during a healthy time in both of your lives, codependency can happen when one person starts to struggle with addiction. Both of you should seek help to overcome these issues because help is required to heal your relationship properly.

How to Help an Addict

The best way that you can help someone suffering from addiction might actually sound counterintuitive. This is doubly true if you are codependent.

Here are a few basic steps to helping an addict:

  • Remember that addiction is a disease, not a choice
  • No one can fight addiction except the addict
  • Set boundaries and stand by them
  • Encourage help seeking
  • Find a therapist and get yourself help
  • Give up your own recreational substance use
  • Be supportive but let them deal with the consequences of their addiction
  • Be optimistic

Some of these methods might seem harsh, but it all stems from a loving approach. Your end goal should be to help the addict overcome addiction without breaking yourself down in the process.

Drug Abuse Relapse

When someone tries to get help for an addiction, they will most likely eventually overcome it with professional help. However, relapse can feel like a monster looming in the distance, creating stress for everyone involved.

Addiction is a disease. Think about diabetes or asthma. Treatment works for a period of time, then the disease worsens. This doesn’t mean a diabetic should give up insulin or an asthmatic should give up their inhaler. Instead, it means that they go to the doctor and start a new regimen.

Addiction is the same. An addict constantly works towards avoiding addiction, but if it happens they go back to treatment. Relapse is only a monster in the dark if the addict refuses to get back into treatment to get help.

Get Addiction Help

Your job as someone who loves an addict is to take care of yourself before you take care of anyone else. You can’t pour from an empty cup, and you cant provide support when you are completely overwhelmed yourself. Then, you need to support the addict by understanding their addiction and creating boundaries. Remember, you can’t fight this for them.

If you or a loved one is dealing with an addiction, don’t wait. Seek help today. You can find resources for treating addiction with methadone on our blog.

We’ve got a wealth of information on detox, methadone, and opioid addiction. Check out our articles or contact us at (855) 976-2092 to find help in your home state.


[1] What You Learn From Loving An Addict. (2017, December 7). Retrieved from

[2] Co-Dependency. (2016, December 8). Retrieved from

[3] NIDA. (2015, July 29). Addiction Science. Retrieved from on 2019, April 25

Physical effects of methadone use

The Effects of Methadone on the Body

In the US, the government is always battling with opioid overdose crisis. So, how many die from opioids each year? According to NIDA, about 130 people die every day due to this problem.

That’s serious, right?

The misuse of opioids affects the public health and economic welfare of the country. One of the opiates that people commonly misuse is methadone. This drug is available in different brands, including Methadose, Diskets, and Dolophine.

It’s used in the treatment of moderate to severe pain. Doctors can also prescribe it to treat narcotic addiction.

Sadly, some patients misuse their methadone prescription for a variety of reasons. This affects them and their health in different ways. For that reason. This post is going to cover the possible effects of methadone.

What’s Methadone?

Methadone is prescription medication use in the medication-assisted treatment (MAT) program to help patients with opiate addiction. The dose usually starts at 10 or 20 mg and adjusted in 10-mg increments.

German doctors created this medication during World War II. When it finally arrived in the US, doctors used it to treat patients with severe pain. Today, patients can use it to manage addiction to heroin and narcotic painkillers.

When taken as prescribed by your doctor, use of methadone medication is safe and effective. For patients with addiction, it works effectively if used together with comprehensive medication-assisted treatment (MAT) program, which includes social support and counseling.

How Does it Work?

Doctors say this drug works like morphine, but its effects of methadone on the body are slower. Patients can take it as a tablet, powder or liquid.

It works by changing how the brain and nervous system respond to pain. This makes you feel relief. Methadone blocks the euphoric effects of opiate drugs, such as codeine and heroin. It also lessens the withdrawal symptoms of opiate.

The pain relief from this drug lasts for about eight to 12 hours. Studies have shown that methadone is effective in higher doses, particularly for those patients with heroin addiction.

How Patients Misuse Methadone

Methadone is an effective treatment for suppressing cravings and reducing pain. That’s the factor that makes it risky. This makes it an agonist.

First, it’s has a long-term treatment period, usually a year or more. This makes it easier for patients to become dependent on it. Its highly addictive nature makes patients ignore other treatment options in favor of it.

Some people take it illegally. For example, some HIV patients can inject it into their body.

What Are the Effects of Methadone?

The effects are wide and varied as they depend on the individual’s body.

Those who are taking methadone as a prescription can experience side-effects, especially during the first phase of their methadone treatment.

  • Constipation
  • Vomiting
  • Lightheadedness
  • Irregular sweating
  • Dry mouth
  • Dependency
  • Fluctuating weight
  • Sleep problems
  • Cognitive changes
  • Harmful drug interactions
  • Fatigue

It is also important to note that these side-effects are less likely if methadone is taken as prescribed – at a therapeutic dose.

Allergic Reactions

Allergic reaction to methadone is rare. However, patients are encouraged to see a doctor if they experience symptoms of allergy such as:

  • Rash
  • Itching and swelling
  • Severe dizziness
  • Trouble breathing

If you notice any of these symptoms in your loved one, be sure to get medical attention.

Drug Interactions

You’re likely to experience certain effects of the medicine and possibly even methadone interactions with other drugs. During your medical appointment, your doctor will want to know all the drugs (prescription and non-prescription) and supplements you are currently using.

Interactions can change the action of one or both drugs. Common symptoms include drowsiness and stomach aches.

Effects of an Overdose

Some patients may take more of their medication to get quicker results or maintain the relief the medication offers. This could result in an overdose. When you overdose, the possible symptoms include:

  • Twitching muscles
  • Cyanosis (bluish fingernails and lips)
  • Coma
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Low blood pressure
  • Difficulty breathing

Methadone Addiction

If you use the drug without any medical supervision or guidance, you’re likely to develop an addiction to methadone. This is viewed as a severe psychiatric disorder, and you’re likely to experience moderate to severe symptoms.

Addiction can lead to several physical effects such as poor self-care and hygiene. Addicts will share needs when injecting methadone and other drugs, which increases the chances of contracting a blood-borne disease like hepatitis or HIV.

Those who combine methadone addiction with other illicit drugs risk suffering from organ damage and long-term health issues. These can be brain damage, cardiovascular system damage, hypertension, and liver damage.

Withdrawal Treatment

If you’re suffering from methadone addiction, you don’t need to give it to the temptations and its relief. Withdrawal and addiction treatment can help you regain control of your health and improve your lifestyle.

Treatment usually involves reducing your daily dose. If your dose is 40 mg, you can start dropping it down by 3 mg. When you get to 20, drop it by 2 mg. Continue this until you get to 5 mg a day.

These steps ensure a slow but comfortable withdrawal process without resulting in severe withdrawal symptoms. Of course, you’ll experience some symptoms after withdrawing.

Effects of Methadone – The Takeaway

Methadone is an opiate medication for people who have developed opiate use disorders. Fortunately, when methadone program requirements are followed and medication is taken as prescribed, it can be a huge help in recovering your life after addiction.

If you’re short on time and looking for help contact (855) 976-2092.

Do you have any questions or thoughts about the effects and risks of methadone addiction? Free to share them with us in the comments section below.


[1] National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2019, January 22). Opioid Overdose Crisis. Retrieved from

[2] Methadone: MedlinePlus Drug Information. (2018, March 15). Retrieved from

[3] Hilke Jungen, Hilke Andresen-Streichert, Alexander Müller, Stefanie Iwersen-Bergmann; Monitoring Intravenous Abuse of Methadone or Buprenorphine in Opiate Maintenance Treatment (OMT): A Simple and Fast LC–MS-MS Method for the Detection of Disaccharides in Urine Samples, Journal of Analytical Toxicology, Volume 41, Issue 1, 1 January 2017, Pages 22–31,
positives of methadone treatment

The Unbelievable Advantages of Methadone Treatment

Methadone saves lives. Hundreds of studies confirm its therapeutic power.

This isn’t a perfect medication. Methadone is certainly not for everyone and it does come with side effects. but it allows opiate addicted people to get off of the drug and enjoy a better life.

If you or someone you love needs help for an opiate addiction, it deserves your consideration.

Here are just some of the benefits of methadone treatment.

Does Methadone Work?

Nothing out there works better than methadone at keeping addicts away from their drug of choice. This medication gives addicts relief from withdrawal symptoms.

This is such a huge benefit. One of the main reasons why addicts don’t want to get clean is because they’re afraid of the symptoms they’ll experience during withdrawal.

If we can limit their symptoms, hopefully, we can convince more people to seek help and eliminate the desire to use opiates.

It’s Inexpensive

Methadone treatment costs less than other types of addiction treatment.

The costs of a treatment program are pretty low. There is absolutely a benefit to long-term stay facilities to help people get clean and maintain sobriety, but the cost is often prohibitive.

Methadone will give you relief for 24 hours a day for the price of a few drinks at Starbucks.

Even with the falling cost of opiates, anyone who is quitting using these drugs will save money every month switching from buying them to buying methadone.

It Helps You Get and Stay Healthy

Addiction is certainly not associated with good health, there are serious health consequences of opioid abuse.

On methadone, people start to feel better and are able to take care of themselves. They become more self-aware and gradually return to their previous lives.

Also, it’s worth noting that methadone treatment will never require you to share a needle. When you’re actively participating in a treatment program, you greatly reduce the risk of the diseases associated with IV drug use.

It’s Legal

Methadone is legal. As long as you’re enrolled in a legitimate methadone maintenance treatment program, you have every right to use it.

When you are using drugs like heroin, you are risking arrest, prosecution, and jail time. And that’s only talking about legality, which doesn’t even mention the ways that you’re risking your health.

An opiate addiction gets expensive. Many addicts find themselves resorting to criminal activities to pay for their drugs to stop experiencing withdrawal symptoms. Some leave their families, quit their jobs, and lose everything they have.

You won’t need to break a law to pay for your methadone.

It Helps You Get Your Life Together

Methadone works as an addiction treatment because it provides lasting relief. It doesn’t affect your coordination or your ability to think. Plus, it won’t get you high as other drugs do.

When you’re on methadone, you’re able to drive a car, pursue an education or career, and handle your other responsibilities.

Methadone treatments allow you to take your life back from your addiction and take care of yourself and the people that depend on you.

It Gives You Daily Contact

People often say that the biggest drawback to methadone treatment is the fact that you have to visit a clinic every day. However, this can also be a tool to use for improving your life.

A daily trip to the clinic offers a structure. This gives people who are used to spiraling out of control a bit of normalcy and stability to hang onto.

Getting up in the morning and going to the clinic helps you to keep focused on the activities that are keeping you healthy and happy.

When you get to the clinic, you get to be in contact with people who can help you, such as therapists and healthcare workers.

It works the same way that group therapy works. When we have people to talk to, keep up with, and hold us accountable, we are more capable of succeeding.

Healthy Pregnancy and Baby

Pregnant opiate addicts and their babies tend to do a lot better on methadone. It increases the odds of a successful pregnancy and the delivery of a healthy baby.

Withdrawal symptoms are serious for anyone, but they are especially detrimental to a newborn’s health. But these symptoms are eliminated in women in methadone treatment.

Pregnant women on treatment get much better care than those who abuse heroin or other opiates.

The process of withdrawal is way too hard on a fetus, especially when a mother tries to get clean right away. Medical professionals recommend methadone for pregnant addicts due to its low risks.

It Prolongs Your Life

You put your life in jeopardy every time you use opiates illicitly. There is a risk of disease, accident, infection, overdose, or even death.

Opiate addicts who aren’t on methadone are more likely to die than people getting treatment.

Is Methadone Treatment Right for You?

Some people find the side effects of methadone treatment hard to handle. Others don’t like the daily commitment of driving to a clinic to take the medication.

But no one can argue that methadone doesn’t work.

No other drug works better to get rid of the cravings and symptoms of withdrawal.

If you take the treatment as directed and go to counseling, therapy, a support group, or a mix of all three, you’ll be able to get your life back. You can hold down a job, take care of yourself and your family, and get your health in shape.

Methadone has saved lives. It can save yours too.

If you have any questions or wish to know about methadone treatment or opiate addiction, visit us today! Our team can guide you through this journey and make an opiate withdrawal a lot easier.

Want to learn more about methadone treatment? Give us a call at (855) 976- 2092!


[1] Pharmacologic treatments for opioid dependence: detoxification and maintenance options. (n.d.). Retrieved from

[2] Reducing the health consequences of opioid addiction in primary care. (2013). Retrieved from