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Methadone, a drug used primarily for drug addiction withdrawal and chronic pain relief, can cause sudden cardiac death even when it is not overdosed, but is taken at normal therapeutic levels. This warning was issued by Oregon Health and Science University researchers after studying cases of sudden cardiac deaths in Portland, Oregon.

The researchers evaluated all sudden cardiac deaths in the Portland area between 2002 and 2006 where detailed autopsies were performed. One group consisted of 22 deaths in which toxicology reports found 1 mg or less of methadone. They compared these cases with 106 in which no methadone was found.

In the first group, 17 of 22, or 77 percent, had no significant cardiac abnormalities and only five had evidence of coronary artery disease. In the control group, 60 percent had identifiable evidence of cardiac disease or structural abnormalities.

"The unexpectedly high proportion of otherwise unexplained sudden deaths in the therapeutic methadone group points to a significant contribution of this drug toward the occurrence of sudden cardiac death among these patients," said Sumeet Chugh, M.D., lead investigator, in a news release.

Sleep Apnea a Risk Also

More than half of the 22 in the first case group were using the drug for pain control, three for drug addiction, three for recreational use and four for an undetermined reason, the researchers found.

The authors noted that they could not rule out sleep apnea as a cause of deaths for some in the methadone group. Others studies have found that methadone prevention programs have increased sleep architecture abnormalities and a higher prevalence of sleep apnea.

Dr. Chugh suggests using additional safeguards before placing patients on methadone, such as an electrocardiogram and assessment of risk for respiratory suppression.

The study was published in the January 2008 issue of The American Journal of Medicine.

Related Information:

Photo: DEA
Comments
January 16, 2008 at 12:55 pm
(1) Don says:

Using methadone was not good for me I am an recovering heroin addict and got off heroin and put on methadone which was crazy you can’t trade one drug for another drug.Not only did I lie to all my family about how good I was doing most important I was lieing to myself and ended right back in the spoon.Dr.’s should never be able to perscribe this drug to no one.

January 16, 2008 at 3:46 pm
(2) Joycelyn Woods says:

The majority of persons use methadone properly and as prescribed. Methadone is not trading one drug for another that is a big misunderstanding – methadone has completely different pharmacological properties than does heroin — that is short acting, produces euphoria and has a high potential for abuse. Methadone is long acting, it produces sedation but not euphoria (some people confuse sedation with euphoria but you will not have opium dreams taking methadone that is euphoria) and the potential for abuse is low compared to other psychotropic drugs.

Working a program and re-gaining your life back is a person’s own responsibility. Because Don did not and abused methadone is not the fault of methadone — it was his fault. He had an opportunity and he did not take it.

Methadone is the most effective treatment for opiate addiction. It has been thoroughly evaluated in the U.S. and other countries have also undertaken the same research. All have found that when an adequate dose of methadone is prescribed that patients stop using opiate drugs. This regimen when applied with counseling helps patients begin to regain their lives because they are no longer craving drugs and their health is improved. Patients are then able to receive training and hold jobs to support their families.

The relapse rate for opiate addiction is 70%. This is true whether the treatment is residential, pharmacotherapy or 12 steps. The reason for this is that opiate addiction is a brain disease with strong genetic contributions. And like also chronic diseases it can not be cured but it is treatable. Like persons with other chronic diseases some people can function without medication while others need medication or they will begin to display symptoms of the disease. For example with diabetes some can control it with diet and exercise while other diabetics need medication. The same is true for opiate addiction.

The problem is that many addicts do not understand their disease as Don.

It is recommended that for opiate addiction treatment that any patient with a history of a heart condition have this checked before taking methadone. The prescription for using methadone for pain and opiate addiction is very different and most of the problems have been with pain patients and in addiction treatment patients taking very high doses and other psychotropic medications.

If you are taking methadone please consult with your doctor regarding any issues with heart conditions.

January 16, 2008 at 3:58 pm
(3) Joycelyn Woods says:

Addendium

There is evdience among opiate addiction patients that methadone is cardio protective.

These studies are not well done and there are problems with the control groups.

January 18, 2008 at 2:49 pm
(4) Megan Bedford says:

I agree that methadone isn’t anything but a replacement drug. The idea is to detox American’s to be Drug Free…not hooked on something else. I understand that it is legal in some cases but so is alcohol and we have so many fatalities every year due to this legal drug. In my belief, you are not in control of your addiciton just becuase you got a script for it. It still controls you. I have been there and I am no longer being controlled by anything. I found this wonderful program called Narconon Arrowhead and it has given me my life back, completely drug free. Check it out. http://www.stopaddiction.com
StopAddiction

January 30, 2008 at 7:20 am
(5) Bungaaloo says:

What about ibogaine?
only 1 session can stop opiate addiction.

April 4, 2008 at 12:17 pm
(6) james says:

IBOGAINE doesnt work for everyone it is very expensive and risky and illegal in the US you have to seek underground treatment here. But when IBOGAINE DOES WORK it is nothing short of MIRACULOUS and EVEN THEN the effect doesnt last and you can still become readdicted but if you do the right thing and get help or support and change your lifestyle then the MIRICLE of IBOGAINE will stay with you but it is up to you. And REMEMBER for a lot of people IBOGAINE doenst even WORK at all. But whe IT DOES……………MAN what an experience!!!!!!!!!!!!!! so its a gamble.

April 23, 2008 at 7:20 pm
(7) Michele says:

The methadone clinic where I live doesn’t help anyone. It makes about 1 billion dollars a year. A drug addict can go there with drugs in his or her system and the clinic will still give them their dose. The clinic does not monitor or screen its patients. I have had family members and co-workers have have went to this clinic. Nearly all of them are dead or close to it. This clinic is only open in the morning for a short time. People driving by it on their way to work have been hit by addicts coming from the clinic or trying to get to the clinic before it closes. 95 % or the people that go there never improve or have their dosages reduceded. A person going to this clinic can complain of having a little bit or dizziness or fatigue and the clinic will increase their dosage. I can tell you that I have worked and delt with people going to this client. Their life and their work is never stable or functional. It is a very sad thing. A better treatment would be one in which the person could be taken down and then completely off of it all and a good therapist that cares more about helping people instead of keeping them coming back so they can make more money.

July 4, 2008 at 11:52 pm
(8) ab says:

I’ve been on methadone for over 20 years, yes that is correct, 20 years. Not only has the methadone giving me a better quality of life I’ve been able to hold a job, get involved in counsoling and achive a higher education. And all of this time because of methadone. It’s time to forget the stero typing of a skinney, unkeep, holowed eyed person waiting in line with prostutes and bank robbers to get there methadone drink. If you would research what you think you know about you would be supprised at the clinites that go there. Like the early morning crowed on there way to work. You’d see construction workers, secratearys, and semi truck drivers like myself. I pay 285.00 a month for my methadone, if I chose a life of crim and was in prison for trying to suppor a herion or oxycotain habit it would cost you the tax payer 55,000.00 per year to house me. You do the math. I did one year in prison for under the influnce of drugs, I’m not allowed to get on a one year waiting list for a state drug program. But do the math. The people you speak of about the heart attackes are the ones who could never afford health care and with no money to get on methadone 285.00 to see a clinic doctor lived in pure hell with a needle in their arm, never eating, catching every sickness known to man for years, untill the day they came up with the money to get on the methadone program are the people that have the heart attacks. A famouse writer who was an addic was asked, “what dose it feel like to have opiate withdraws?” He thought of a minute and lowered his head and said “It felt like being boiled in oil and freezing at the same time”. I myself hurt so bad I could feel the hairs coming out on my arm, they hurt. You jack asses read a book and think you know all there is, Go park in front of a methadone clinic and you wont belive the nice looking people going in.

August 1, 2008 at 10:28 pm
(9) Christina says:

Wow. What small minded people. I am currently in a methadone clinic and it is saving my life. If it wasn’t for the clinic I would still be out on the streets shooting heroin everyday and stealing from my loved ones and from stores just to keep from getting sick. “Michele” seems to know little about methadone clinic or how they function. She claims that 95% of people never get their life together. Do you know 95% of the people who use the clinic? I doubt it. Some people in Methadone treatment will continue to abuse other drugs, as will people in all kinds of treatments, but for the most part methadone saves lives and takes people from a life of street drugs and crime to a life of being able to live as a normal human being

August 4, 2008 at 4:07 pm
(10) nate Riley says:

this whole page is so incorrect methadone is some what dangerous but heroin addicts looking for a fix are much more harmful to themselves and others with out methadone it fills the opioid receptors so the person can function and stay clear of people who use or sell ,things which trigger cravings and avoid places like drug spots or places of prior use. I must say most of the deaths from methadone are caused by the people abusing it and I understand the family and loved ones of the dead wanting to blame methadone but one thing you learn in any rehab or AA and Al ANON is take responsibility don’t blame others or blame the drug you took it bought it and found the dealer. Methadone clinics are one of the greatest things on this planet they serve the poor and rich with equal treatment they take overwhelming precautions (I am sure that there are bad ones but few)I am an Addict and out patient and in patient along with suboxone did not stop my use but taught me what to do when clean after my first dose of methadone I have been clean 2 years the other treatment took 2 years too and I learned what to do to stop and how to stay sober but I did not have sustained sobriety till methadone. All the treatments were worth it they all gave me tools for sobriety but methadone allowed me to be clean and some people say I traded one opioid for another It is but with methadone I can’t get AIDS or get arrested or be shot when getting robbed and methadone is socially acceptable and you are not ostracized (Fair no) and most of all you do not cause your family pain. Methadone may not be a cure but is the best damn weapon to fight long term heroin addiction.

September 11, 2008 at 8:26 pm
(11) Rhonda says:

Just feel I should tell you my story,My brother started shooting heroin when he was 14years old.I was twelve and had no idea there was such a thing.He lived to be fifty and have to say much of his life was full of heart ache and never did he get off of methadone,On August 1st 2008 he was found dead in his little trailer by my son who was pretty much his only friend.Paul my son had started taking pills and then thought it would be easier to get on methadone.He had no trouble getting into the clinic all you have to do is claim you are in bad shape and if you have the fee your in.My son thought this would be much better than having to go out in the streets to find much more expences drugs.He was a chef and he had just started messing around with pills it was less than sixs months but after finding his uncle he was dead also on August 3 2008 the one thing both of them said the withdraw off methadone was the worse thing and they both felt the clinic put alot of fear in there mind all most made them feel they had no chance to ever be free of this drug. They also said that it was all about the money for the clinic and not about helping them get clean.

September 16, 2008 at 5:10 am
(12) D says:

I hear this talk of 1mg of methadone killing people. It really does scare me. I am a medium methadone user. I usually buy mine from a friend, or go to the clinic (Depending on what is cheaper for the week) I take 10mg-20mg daily. It’s better than smoking Hey-Ron isn’t it?? I know a guy in the clinic (A millionaire by the way) Who is on 190mg a day. How come he’s not dead? How come the daily 70mg a day people aren’t dead? I am all paranoid now. I would rather do Heroin. This sucks, why do you people have to ruin everything. The only reason those people who took methdone died…was because they were doing other things. They had drank heavy with it, or something. I dunno. I am all paranoid now, I need some sort of relief. It’s giving me heavy anxiety.

October 28, 2008 at 4:37 pm
(13) Tony says:

12 steps and god equals recovery !!! The only way it worked for me i could take asprin not to get high or anything legal you could give me . The problem is me always. i needed to get clean I mean clean no methadone no suboxen this time i had to do it the right way. Whatever it will take you to get by do it but remember when you are truly clean no cruthches or chemicals to help you but the 12 steps to guide and show you a new way of life . give yourself a chance live life on lifes terms and ask yourself in 20 years do i want to be relying on methadone or do i want to be rid of all mind altering substances. @ years later im clean and living life and being responsible for my recovery i work at a rehab go to school full time and doing the next right thing give yourself a chance. Remember an opinon is like a ass#### everyones got one so do what works for you more will be revealed

November 3, 2008 at 9:48 pm
(14) Anthony says:

methadone is not a substution for herion.Only the uneducated would say such a naive ststement.For chronic pain you have a choice,either walk around in a zombie like state taking oxycontin,percocets,fentanly patch or some other euphoric type of opiod,or you can live with chronic pain taking methadone ??? And yes methadone can get you high but not nearly as much as the other opiods.
I am a recovering addict with 15 years clean,one day at a time,and three years ago i was involved in a near fatel car accident that almost took my right foot. After rebuilding my ankle with all kinds of nuts,bolts,plates and rods i was able to walk alittle.Put yourself in my place,all my active life in addiction trying to get sronger meds,here i sat with a choice.Take the morphine or oxycotin that i was told i would most likly be on for the rest of my life,or i could take metadone and relieve my pain without out putting my recovery in harms way if i take it as prescribed. Well ,thats what i choose and i have no regrets.Nobody see’s me nodding out, infact unless i tell them nobody even knows i am on it. Thats what i wanted. Methadone gets a bad rap because people hear methadone and thier minds go right to junkie.Whatever road you go down hold Gods hand and let him make the dicisions for you. I am not a Bible thumper, i just have alittle faith.

December 28, 2008 at 12:01 am
(15) Bruce Denton says:

Greetings to all,
I take methadone for a better quality of life. I’ve been taking methadone since 1989 and must say without it i’d be dead by now.

This wonderful medication allowed me to get my life back and not rob or steal from my family and friends. I now own my own business and employ several people. i thank God everyday for methadone treatment…Bruce

January 21, 2009 at 8:59 am
(16) Rissa says:

I have to agree with the comments made about uneducated persons commenting on methadone as if it were a devil drug! It’s not, I’ve gone from eating 30-40 Hydros a day and spending many days in detox and sick praying for someone to call back with pills of any kind! I was introduced to methadone through the girl that sold me her hydros! I went to the clinic for a few weeks and then my family doctor took over the presciption for me. I believe that those of you who automatically assume that a methadone user is a junkie or an ex heroin user need to sit back and shut up! I have never even seen herion much less wanted to try it! I have a very rare degenerative nerve disease that causes severe chronic pain, for 3 years I was on hydros and increasingly ate more and more everyday as my tolerance increased….. if it weren’t for methadone….I’d likely be dead from liver or kidney failure by now! And surprise, surprise…I am on 140 MGs a day and I’ve never experienced heart palpatations, chest pain, or fell asleep at the dinner table! Open your eyes all….there has never been a needle in my arm and I live day by day with a happy future because of a safe, highly researched pill called methadone!

February 24, 2009 at 5:12 pm
(17) Rosie says:

thanks to everyone for the comments…methadone is controversial but right now my daughter seems happier, calmer, and a bit more hopeful than she had been after years of addictions to oxy, vicodin and others for back pain. She suffers from depression, anxiety, panic attacks…mostly from being in pain. My worry is, she seems to sleep all the time and still doesn’t get help for the back issues so that someday she will be able to work and care for herself. Will she gain confidence after a time? She’s only been on methadone for a month. How long does it take to stabilize…and how does it affect the mental diagnosis? She hasn’t told the therapist that she’s doing this. She hasn’t seen him since she started this…no car. She is 27 and makes her own decisions but I don’t think she has an advocate to help…I want her to come back to CA, but she won’t.

April 3, 2009 at 12:05 pm
(18) Donna U says:

It does take a while for methodone to build in your system and to start really relieving pain. But it happens!! I have been on Methadone for 3 years. I was buying vicodin, percocets, just about anything that I could find, of the street. Because I had taken all of my Dr.s prescription in just a few days. I have chronic back and leg pain from a car accident. Methadone has been a life saver for me. I only take between 20-40 MGs a day, and it does wonders. I really have trouble understanding how a person can take up into the hundreds mgs. But people are different, and some have more pain than others. (Believe me I am not judging!!!) I have heard horror stories about methadone withdrawal. A friend of mine (on 200mgs a day or more bought off the street, not monitered), described it as feeling as if someone was pulling his rib cage apart. I suppose that’s what happens when you self medicate. As for me, I’m doing great, no craving other drugs and pain under control. I thank the LORD above for Methadone. It saved my life.

May 30, 2009 at 5:01 pm
(19) Michele says:

I think that many have not completely read what I typed. I said I have had family members and co-workers who have gone to this particular methodone clinic. Last time I left a comment, I stated MOST OF THEM ARE DEAD OR CLOSE TO IT. Since then two more are dead. I do know about this clinic. About 8 years ago I help drive a family member there. Yes that person is dead.Eight years ago I didn’t know anything about the clinics or methodone. I thought that carrying this person the the clinic was better than the getting drugs off the street and I couldn’t understand at that time why other family members were refusing to drive this person. I saw and met some of the people going to this clinic.Most of them thought they had it made because they could do this and it would not be illegal. They would also take Zanax with the methodone, they said that Zanax doesn’t show up on urine tests. Apparently it doesn’t because they still got their dose. As I’m sure you know mixing medicine is dangerous (especially zanax and methodone. This clinic does not monitor its patients well. Just by complaining they have more flu like symptoms they can get a higher dose. Taking methodone did not deter any of them from going out and finding more whether it be from a doctor or a drug addict. It is a terrible cycle. I’m glad and proud of everyone who can get off of drugs and have a normal life. 95% of the people that go to this clinic still take other drugs on top of the dose from the methodone clinic and their life is not normal. Just last year 3 doctors were called out for prescribing too many pills to patients at one time and prescribing methodone with zanax or other painkillers. Several people had died in a months time because of it. Did anything happen to these doctors. NO! They still have their license and are doing business as usual. It just upsets me to see people I know and care about to dwindle away and die before they should for any reason. Since most of them on methodone do not take it properly(or at least here they don’t), then its not helping. I myself quit drinking years ago, cold turkey I might add. I know its not in any way fun. I did it with my Bible and constant prayer. Maybe everyone can’t do it that way, but there is a better way than methodone. God always provides a way for each and every individual and it want have side effects (physical or mental).

June 8, 2009 at 8:15 am
(20) Swamprat says:

I had been taking Methadone for chronic pain for several years. No reaction with my other medications. About 2 months ago I was assigned a new doctor who thinks Methadone is DANGEROUS and “weened” me off it. No withdrawal. I don’t smoke nor do I drink alcohol. Now I can’t do anything except sit. She gave me new medications – they work – a bit. I can hardly use my hands, it’s difficult for me to walk more than a few yards, I have had to give up my Lay Speaker
“career” (Google Lay Speaker – it’s a Methodist thing). I am 72 years old. I don’t plan to beocme an addict, I just want rid of the chronic BAD pain.

August 21, 2009 at 1:40 pm
(21) colleen says:

Micelle- Can you or would you please let me know what clinc you are referring too I want to make sure its not the one I go too. Or at least what state?

I started Methadone 7/30/09- I am wondering if I can quit on my own and be ok no WD etc. I feel I am where I want to be already I dont have cravings for my drug of choice which was Vicodin. I am currently taking 50mg a day methadone that just started I had been at 40 for the most of the time but they just decided to increase it…

I do have chronic pain so they say and I also read all over on line Methdadone may be good for that but because I dont have any craving for the vics I want to get off methadone and see how I feel. I have been taking pills for 4 years now because of my chronic pain my dr said I may have to take for life and I got upset that I was only ever given pills so I thought OK I will try methadone on my own without the help of my dr because I know she would say nope just stay on the pills as she always does…

So now that I have tried the methadone and I feel ok I wonder if anyone thinks that I can get off of it on my own because I do agree this clinic i go too support staying on and not getting off I dont like that so I would rather get off now vs trying after several years when it will be harder.

What do any of you think can I just stop on my own? I want to know??? Asking the clinic I feel I dont get the fare honest truth I get stay on.

I have been on something for 4 yrs now almost 5 and for the 1st time in my life I want off it all and I want to see how I am how I feel how I live etc. Just to feel what it feels like not to have anything no pills, no methadone just me in a natural state. If I can live that way even with my chronic pain I will i mean its been so long since ive lived that way I dont even remember if the chronic pain is really all that bad I mean maybe I can live with it and just take tylenol or something? After this long battle of pills I know that life but I forget how the pain feels to me drug free and I need to see if its really all that bad. If it is manageable I will live clean on my own if it is bad and I cant handle it then I will look into other options..

I hope you all kind of understand what I mean and what I am tryihng to get too.
Its just I read all the scary stories dont stop methadone on your own etc. and i am scared so I thought I would ask and maybe someone can tell me how they felt if they did it etc..
The scary stories are all people who have been taking it for years and again Ive only taken for 1 week shy then a month and I am only on 50mg as of this week that started. Please help me please? The clinic encourages me to stay on it so I cant go to them and I find that frusterating like its not really about me its about $ ; other than that I like the clinic and the counseling they provide etc.

I am anxiously waiting to get feedback.

Thanks.

September 4, 2009 at 12:11 pm
(22) don says:

ive been taking methadone this time for a little over 4 years now. the first time i was made aware of the option to get off of the pills and heroin about 10 years ago ionly went up to 65mg.but i still chipped two or tree times a week.then i got arrested and sent to prison for 4 years. i came out clean, but within a years time i was back to the pills and that lead me back to using herion about 1-2 grams a day.i had to make sure that i had a morning wake up fix.so now im back on methadone and my dose is at 240mg.i want to quit all together, so im going down on my dose 5mg. a week now at this time im at 230mg.and still going down.i wish that there was an drug or something to help me while i get down father.i dont like to get dope sick,so if anyone hase a suggestion ill try any thing plus i have god in my life and i pray every nigh for him to help me cope.im facing a possable jail time, i hope that i dont die in jail im in the strongest no helping jail in the usa,joe arpaio in phoenix,az.i hope that anyone that reads this will concider all the posabilates before they get to high on there dose i beleive that a herion addict or any other substance abuser its ok to start out on methadone for a very short time and try to not go over 65mg.and go down aas soon as your body and mind can handle it thanks for reading and god bless all of you my prayers are with you….

October 5, 2009 at 3:18 pm
(23) Tom says:

1. Most Methadone clinics are privately owned businesses and therefore require money to operate. As with any business, profit is necessary in order to provide services and improve the quality of said services. Is there something wrong with a business making money? If there were no profit in business, it would remove the incentive and therefore nearly every known business would go away. Unless, of course, you wish to live under a Socialist government.

2. Methadone clinics are federally regulated. All of these BS scare tactic posters should be ashamed of themselves for perpetuating false statements, statistics with no evidence to back the claims, anecdotes without merit and blatant lies.

3. Almost every case of someone in a clinic overdosing, that is to say receiving supervised doses daily prescribed by an MD, have done so with a mixture of alcohol, benzodiazepines or other drugs that are not to be mixed with methadone. It is basic knowledge that you do not mix these and if you do, you are only proving fuel to social Darwinism theory.

4. Research the facts online; real facts with supporting evidence and statistics, i.e.- double-blind studies, etc. Not some random comment posted by someone who has read a few articles or of some misinformed blog. You will see that methadone, when used properly, is a life-saver for those involved. Years of studies, both government and private, have proven so time and time again.

5. Abuses of any system or medication will occur when there is that option. These are usually people who are not interested in turning their lives around and/or staying clean, but rather use methadone as a crutch to keep from getting “dope-sick” when they don’t have enough money to get dope.

6. When you reach your proper methadone dose level, the methadone should create what is known as a “blocking-dose” – it prevents you from feeling the euphoric effects of heroin or other opiates if taken illicitly on the side. This will oftentimes lead to an overdose by someone on methadone attempting to “get high” while being dosed. Again, the fault of the abuse, not the methadone.

Enough of the scaremongering people. What you write may scare a still suffering addict away from using methadone and perhaps saving their lives. Methadone is here to stay, it works and has been proven to work for decades. The facts are out there for those who are willing to see them and stop perpetuating lies.

No matter what you may believe, ANYTHING is better than being stuck with a heroin habit. Methadone is not always a lifetime thing, many people slowly detox from methadone and go on to be 100% clean. Others may wish to remain on it for the rest of their lives, and good for them – if that is what it takes to keep them from ever using heroin again. They no longer have to risk needle use (HIV, Hepatitis, Endocarditis, Collapsed veins, etc.), no longer need to commit crimes in order to maintain a habit, no longer need to risk their freedom in the process of purchasing the drugs, no longer risk getting heroin tainted with something that may kill you, buy heroin that may be of a much higher quality and risk an OD, etc. etc. All of these things are removed from the picture and more when the addict gets off heroin and on to methadone.

And yes, I attend a methadone clinic daily (from a ten year heroin habit), I am married, work a full time job in software engineering and enjoy my life once again – thanks to methadone and the support, education and resources of the methadone clinic.

Thank you to those of you (who posted here) who took the effort to support methadone programs and to educate people who are ignorant of the facts.

October 14, 2009 at 2:35 pm
(24) Alyssa says:

I feel that it depends on the person that can make methadone work or not. It’s the same thing with any drug and trying to get over it. If you want to make something happen, you’re going to try your complete best. You will use all of your power. For some people, methadone works. It works because they have the mind power to make it work for them. Because they WANT it to work. If you can not handle methadone, you shouldn’t take it. I am a recovering heroin addict and I didn’t need any of this. I took xanax to relieve my withdrawls but that was for about three days. Other than that, it was cold turkey. I stopped cold turkey. I’ve seen my best friend completely lose hiself to methadone. He keeps telling himself that it’s working, and it’s not. And it’s because he doesn’t have the right mindset. I personally feel that if any synthetic drug were to help recovering heroin addicts, it would be suboxone. You eventually get adapted to it. My cousin did this, and it worked for him. Heroin’s just a tough cookie to overcome. And with that said you need to be prepared for what you’re in for when you try it, and for when you’re quitting.

December 16, 2009 at 10:04 am
(25) Ray P., and I'm an addict. says:

I was taught in Narcotics Anonymous (NA) that those of us who use drugs suffer from the disease of addiction. It’s an illness. It’s chronic – in other words, it has no cure. It can be arrested, but there are cases where this won’t happen. It appears, that there are more cases where the disease can’t be arrested. Like in any illness, there are medications to treat illnesses – and in heroin addiction, methadone is one of them. But for a heroin addict, methadone should be the last resort to treating addiction. Try detox, drug free outpatient clinics, residential programs, etc. 12 Step groups are great if you’re seriously trying to get off any drug. Every other option should have been exhausted before going on methadone, because in many cases, methadone will be a lifetime treatment process. You’ll be subject to going to the clinic on a regular basis. If you want to go anywhere for a vacation, or any other situation that requires you not to be at the clinic, you have to get permission. You’ll have to plan your whole life around this particular treatment, but the same is true for any other illness that requires lifetime commitment for taking medication. You really have to think about what methadone treatment entails. Do you see yourself at 65 years old, still going to a methadone treatment program -standing on line to get your medication? It’s your decision. That’s why it’s recommended that methadone be the last resort to treating your heroin addiction. Because if everything else fails, there’s your proof that there’s a strong indication that you may really need to be on methadone. Now, it’s only fair to say that you don’t have to be on methadone your whole life. There are people who take methadone medication and eventually get off treatment with successful results. These individuals follow through with recommendations given by the methadone treatment staff – Doctor, nurse, social worker and counselor. But this also goes true with people who stay on methadone for life, and don’t use any other drug, and become productive members of society. Listen, if it keeps you off heroin and its lifestyle, hey – then let it be. Methadone won’t work for you if, you don’t reach the dose that will stabilize you – the dose that will take away the desire for using heroin, and sometimes other drugs. This might mean going up on your methadone dose dose until you reach what is called the “blocking dose” – again, this is the dose that takes away the desire for heroin use. Methadone won’t work if you continue to use other drugs because it will interfere with the stabilzation process – reaching the blocking dose. When the doctor asks, “how you feel on your dose?”, you have to be honest and let it be known if you still have cravings for heroin, or other drugs. The stabizing period is very important in the road to recovery. Also, you need to work with staff. One needs to take suggestions and follow through with these recommendations. The methadone clinics have a trained staff of professionals that can help you make the changes you need to become free of illicit drug use, and live a life of recovery. So, “What is your reason for getting on methadone?” Is it the ace in your back pocket, just in case you don’t have money that day to get your heroin? Has every other treatment approach failed, and now it’s time to try methadone? Are you serious about getting off heroin, or any other drug? Be honest with yourself. I am a recovereing addict, which means that I’m still recovering and will continue to do so until the day I die. Remember, addiction is a chronic disease, and in my case it has been arrested, through the grace of God. Again, I have a disease of addiction, my choice of drug was heroin, but used other drugs too, including alcohol for approximately 20 years. I too was on the methadone program, but didn’t take it seriously, and it failed me because I kept using other drugs, especially cocaine. I was on methadone for three years, and my pick up schedule (PUS) never changed – 6x per week. After the 3 years I stopped going to the methadone program and kept using heroin and other drugs (AOD. I wasn’t committed to the treatment process. After 20 yrs of drug use, I finally became sick and tired of being sick and tired. My last rehab was in November 1988. There I heard the message of NA. It wasn’t the first time I had heard it, but I always had punched holes in what I heard from speakers. I didn’t believe what they were saying. But this time around I had no energy left to punch holes, and instead was more like a sponge and absorbed everything they said, like, “the only requirement for membership was the desire to stop using”. Much of their stories weren’t exactly like mine, but the feelings they went through were the same feelings I was experiencing at the time. I began believing everything they told me and did just about all that was suggested I do, in order to stay off drugs. I had lost all hope, but hearing them speak bought this hope back to life. They said that the only thing they could promise me was freedom from active addiction if I followed this simple way of life and its 12 steps & traditions. I came out of the 30 day rehab, detoxed from heroin and remembered this…as it was said by one of the NA speakers…”it’s easier to stay clean than to get clean”. So now that I was clean, I went to NA, before I went to the cop man, and with their help have been able to stay free of drug use, this includes alcohol, for the past 21 years. I was willing to do what what necessary as to not to return to drug use. My desire for staying drug free became greater than my desire for heroin use, or any other drug. And what I have found is this, that 12 Steps of this fellowship works, if I worked it. I learned that I had a disease and the only way to arrest it was by not using any drug, one day at a time. I learned so much about my addiction, and filled with this knowledge I was better prepared for the long battle ahead with my addiction. My disease has been arrested for a long time now, but I know that all it would take is just 1x using any drug and I would be back to the drug use again. That’s something I don’t want today. NA is a simple program for complicated people. And addicts tend to complicate the crap out everything. Man, I know I this first hand, and I still tend to complicate stuff when I’m not vigilant with my recovery and the things I’ve learned in NA. Recovery is a life long process. Recovery isn’t just simply not using drugs, although it’s an important part, but it also consists of changing my attitude toward life – the way I think. Recovery is an inside job. Whether in NA, or in some other kind of treatment, recovery is a physical, spiritual and mental/emotional process. These are the things we need to work on if we want sustained recovery which gets better with each passing day. Well, I’m glad I got NA because with them I am still learning what it takes to stay off of drug use and what can makes me a better person. I thank God for his gift to me of Narcotics Anonymous. My name is Ray Pons, and I’m an addict.

January 9, 2010 at 12:48 am
(26) MISTY MILLER says:

IVE BEEN ON A METHADONE PROGRAM IN TULSA OKLAHOMA FOR 2YRS IN APRIL,2010 AND 3YRS BEFORE MAKING A CHANGE TO THIS CLINIC WHICH IS THE BEST THING IVE EVER DONE WAS TO GO TO THE METHADONE CLINIC IM AT NOW ITS KCTS IN TULSA OKLAHOMA AND WE HAVE GROUP 3 TIMES A WEEK WHICH ARE A HOUR EACH ONE BUT THIS HAS HELPED ME MORE THEN ANY OTHER CLINIC HAS EVER HELPED.IM 35YRS OLD AND DOSING AT 180MGS ADAY AND IM ALREADY THINKING ABOUT STARTING TO GOING DOWN ON MY DOSE NOW AND ALSO I JUST GOT ON STAGE 3 WHICH MEANS I ONLY GO MONDAY,WED,AND FRIDAYS AND GET MY TAKE HOMES FOR THE OTHER DAYS WHICH IS GREAT I HAVE NOT EVEN BROKE IN TO MY TAKE HOMES IM ABLE TO GET THEM AND LEAVE THEM FOR THE NEXT DAY AND NO ONE EVEN TRYS TO TAKE THEM MY HUSBAND IS ON METHADONE WITH A PAIN MANGEMENT DOCTOR HERE IN TULSA SO HE NO LONGER GOES TO THE PROGRAM WITH ME HES ON 120MGS ADAY PLUS 3 XANAX 1MGS A ADAY AND HAS HELP HIM ALSO WHICH IS WONDERFUL FOR BOTH OF US.WE NO LONGER HAVE TO GO TO THE STREETS TO USE AND ALSO WE HAVE SO MUCH MORE LOVE FOR EACH OTHER THEN BEFORE BECUASE THE PILLS RUN YOUR LIFES WHEN WE WAS USING DRUGS ON THE STREET IM NOT EVEN SURE WE EVEN LIKED EACH OTHER BUT NOW I CANT DO IT WITHOUT HIM AND HE IS THE SAME WITH ME IF I EVEN GO SOMEWHERE LIKE THE STORE HE CALLS ME ABOUT 10 TIMES AND IM ONLY GONE FOR A FEW MINS.BEFORE WE WOULDNT EVEN TALK IN LESS WE HAD PILLS AND I FELT LIKE I WAS ONLY THERE TO FIND THE PILLS FOR US AND NOTHING ELSE.MY HUSBAND WAS WORKING A FULL TIME JOB AS A BOSS AT A TREE SERVICE MAKING A GREAT CHECK WEEKLY BUT STILL WE HAD NOTHING WE LIVED IN HOTELS TO MOTELS WE WERE HOMELESS AT TIMES NO CAR BECAUSE WE SOLD IT FOR MONEY TO GET DRUGS AND THEN WE DIDNT EVEN HAVE AWAY AROUND AND WE HAVE TWO KIDS NOW WHICH ARE 12 AND 14 AND WE NOW HAVE EVERYTHING WE COULD EVER NEED OR WANT WE HAVE A HOME WE HAVE LIVED IN FOR 4YEARS AND FIXING TO BUY A MOBLIE HOME AND WE ARE ABLE TO PAY CASH FOR IT WHICH WE ALSO BOTH BOUGHT A 1997 MUSTANG FOR ME TO DRIVE AND WE BOUGHT MY HUSBAND A S-10 PICKUP WHICH IS LIKE HAVING A NEW TRUCK AND WE DONT EVEN DRIVE IT THE TRUCK ITS ONLY THERE IF WE NEED IT TO MOVE SOMETHING.SO LIFE IS ALOT BETTER ON METHADONE THEN I EVER THOUGHT IT COULD BE WHAT IS EVEN BETTER IS ITS ONLY $60 BUCKS A WEEK OR THEY TAKE INSURANCE OR SOONER CARE TO HELP PEOPLE WHO CANT PAY FOR THE PROGRAM AND THEY UNDERSTAND YOUR NEEDS AND ALSO WORK WITH YOU SO IF YOU NEED TO GET HELP FOR A DRUG PROBLEM I KNOW THIS ONE WORKS WHEN NOTHING ELSE WOULD AND LET ME TELL YOU I DIDNT THINK ANYTHING COULD HELP US WE BOTH TOOK UP TO 40 OR 50 PILLS A PC ADAY AND ANYTHING ELSE WE COULD GET OUR HANDS ON WE WOULD DO IT TO.SO IF ANYONE NEEDS HELP START WITH THIS ONE JUST CALL A METHADONE CLINIC IN YOUR AREA AND DONT BE SCARED ITS ALOT EASYER THEN CHASING THE DRUGS.LETS ALL DO THE RIGHT THING AND DO THE DRUGS AND DONT LET THEM DO US BEFORE ITS TO LATE YOU ONLY GET ONE CHANCE AT LIFE.

March 10, 2010 at 3:25 pm
(27) mindy says:

PLEASE help me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I read some of the comments on here and you all seem to have a LOT of knowledge when it comes to Methadone, so I was hoping someone could please help me!

My sister is on Methadone, and has been for a while. I saw her the other day and her eyes were sunk in, she had dark circles under her eyes, she was very thin, and she had like two teeth left, and she is in her TWENTIES!!!! She looks like a walking dead person. She used to be KNOCK OUT beautiful! I also have reason to believe that she is bulimic and taking adhd meds (Adderall). Her husband does NOTHING! He is in the Navy and he seems WORTHLESS! How could you watch your wife kill herself and do NOTHING? I think he just uses her to watch the kids. Anyway, she is just a mess, she can’t pay attention, and when you talk to her on the phone she doesn’t even let you get a word in. We (her side of the family) tried doing our own little intervention, but she got scared and freaked out when someone mentioned “her going to treatment or her kids are going to get taken away..” She LOVES her kids, LOVES them, but she isn’t capable of being a parent, I don’t think. I don’t know what to do. If there is anyone out there that can help me figure out what I should do, please email me, please. I don’t want my sister to die. PLEASE. she is so young.

My email address is julyraine22@yahoo.com

June 12, 2010 at 1:51 am
(28) MISTY MILLER says:

Wilbur are you retarded or what my man! What you are saying is some seriously wierd stuff. I hope you find a future without methadone cause that would be a real future. Where you are headed or is at, is no where man, you have just decided to be a zone head and do nothing with your life. Get some therapy and take some mushrooms, it can really create a spiritual world in to where you can get off the methadone. when you are in a spiritual world you can see yourself how you really are and you can get back on the right track. Also I have seen people do mushrooms and it scared the crap out of them so they decided to get sober and stay sober. Go to NA or AA whatever you feel more comfortable at. But for me I am sick of being on my knees for the male public around here and now value my life. The scabs on my knees are finally healed up, and I have only been sober for 6 months now. It’s awesome and I owe it all to the dog chapman for helping me, he is such a generous man. Alot of us ladies really love the DOG, his wife doesn’t know how lucky she is.

January 14, 2011 at 8:40 pm
(29) Christina says:

I am a bit alarmed about the sudden death heart problems the article talks about. I have always taken care of my health and see my PCP twice a year.

I have been on Methadone for a few months now and thought my PCP was nuts when he wanted to try it for my chronic pain. I have Fibro and CFS since 42. I was on 2 Vicodins a day for the pain but one day it stopped working. I went to my doctor and he said he couldn’t raise it without giving me liver damage from the Tylenol in it. It is 5 Mg Hydrocodone and 550 mg of Tylenol per pill.

I was hurting so bad that I was thinking of just taking my life because my pain is constant and I had no life anymore. I went and told my doctor how I felt and I tried the Methadone and it didn’t do anything for my pain until he raised it to 60 mg a day in three doses and bam the pain was gone! No drooling or awful side effects like nodding off in public. It just took the pain away and it covers well as long as I take it every 8 hours.

Chronic pain is nothing I would wish on anyone but I like the way Methadone works on the pain. The one problem with it is constipation but that is common with many opiods. I am on Senna for that. I now work 4 hours a day driving the elderly and I like getting out of the house and doing something again. I couldn’t before the pain was just too bad.

So this is just my experience taking Methadone for Chronic pain. I hope I never have to come off of it because it sounds horrible. Switching from Vicodin to Methadone wasn’t bad. I had the sweats and was sleepy for a week and the pain was bad until he raised it and miraculously overnight the pain and side effects were gone! It was a miracle for me because I’d rather die then feel the way Fibro made me feel like an 80 year old woman!

I read somewhere they stopped making of the 40 mg methadone tablets because a lot of kids were ODing on them. I take 2- 10mg Methadone 3 times a day and I don’t want to get high just be out of pain. I never liked drugs and I don’t feel high on it? I wish the young people realized how dangerous Methadone is and that it is not a party drug. What I take could kill a person that had never taken it or took it with other things. My doctor told me to only take it exactly as prescribed.

*MINDY, All you can do is pray for your sister. I’m sure you already mentioned detox etc and she wants no part of it. It’s sad but some people will kill themselves with drugs or alcohol. Only she can ask for help. Good Luck!

February 15, 2012 at 1:20 pm
(30) MJ says:

What do you guys think about Methadone being used for pain? Honestly I can see why people with the disease of addiction are trying to get clean by going to a methadone clinic but is it necessary to take a medicine that is more addictive than heroin when you have chronic knee pain? I think and hope that there are other options and of course I wouldn’t want me or anyone else to live in constant pain but I’ve seen what happens to my boyfriend when he doesn’t have his methadone dose of 55mg a day and it isn’t pretty at all. It’s very scary the reaction that his body goes through and i can’t help but feel that there are other solutions to his knee problem. He has never been an addict, doesn’t drink, doesn’t smoke but yet after his accident falling on a metal rod that went almost completely through his leg, he lied to a clinic saying that he was addicted to perscription pills just to get rid of the chronic pain the nerve damage caused. He went to 6 different doctors for a different solution but all of them told him that his knee has permanent nerve damage and a surgery wouldn’t even give him a great chance of correcting the problem. He pays 70.00 a week and that may not sound like a lot but we have 5 kids between us so it is a struggle to pay that every week. I know that without that though he would be incapable of working and supporting us and though he wants to get off of the methadone and is trying to come down 5mg every two weeks, he constantly reminds me that without methadone he will be unable to work and support our family because of the debilitating pain. It seems like as soon as he gets down to 50mg a day, the pain in his knee comes out in full force and he is unable to sleep because of the pain. If anyone has any information or has been through a similar situation, taking methadone for pain and then finding something else that worked for them, please share your story. Thank You!

April 27, 2012 at 5:58 pm
(31) smooth operator says:

Methadone can work for those who do not fall into the criminal element that is part of the methadone culture. Methadone programs in my city(Philadelphia) has developed a criminal society that developed when the non-profit programs became for profit. Now participants are required to attend three groups per week spend one hour per week with your drug counsler, basically it becomes part of your social life. at the programs I know of illegal precrition drugs are sold in or around each program, getting on a methadone program can be dangerous, you spend so much time there you can’t find a job unless it is 11 to 7 so you becocome a drug dealer to maintain your family. You can go to any methodone program in this city and find any precription drug that you want. it is amazing.I warned many people to not get on methadone,cold turkey,within twenty days your illness is over in months you’ll feel better the methadone alternative is five, ten ,fifthteen twentyor more years. read what some of the contributers have said about this controlled drug. It not designed for the addict it was designed by the nazis but america uses it to maintain a lower crime rate.few people on metrhadone live a quality life eveywhere you go you must have it or begin to withdraw cold turkey once and be free forever with counseling, trust me.

July 3, 2012 at 3:25 am
(32) doug s says:

my girlfriend at 19 was hit head on by a drunk driver towing his boat home from the shore. she suffered with constant pain and was prescribed oxycontin and percocets 90 and 60 pills per month. long story short her tolerence increased and so did the amount of prescriptions by 3X by going to three different pain management centers. she knew she had to stop or die. methadone maintence program was offered to her instead of detox. she started at 60ml a day and within three months was at the maximum amount allowed by law. needless to say she died of cardiac arrest. no one cared to help this girl she was a patient i,e a claim number and as long as she was paying her 75 dollars a week to the methadone clinic they were happy to give her the maximum dose while telling her family she was participating in a blind detox program. In this instance the cure was worse than the disease. she was the love of my life gone at 30.

July 22, 2012 at 8:57 am
(33) Amber says:

I am an addict my drug is more mostly did oxycotins,Xanax,duragic patch then I got into a program using methadone that’s when I fell asleep and wrecked my car while driving…the methadone was killing me I became a zombie literally! It scared me!

August 29, 2012 at 11:41 am
(34) christina says:

I’M ALSO A HEROIN ADDICT I’VE BEEN ADDICTED TO JUST ABOUT ALL OPPIETS..AND ALL DRUGS IN GENERAL AT SOME POINT IN MY LIFE..IWAS ALSO ON METHADONE &IT HAD ME SO HIGH &OUT OF IT..THE CLINIC ALWAYS WANTED TO HIGHER MY DOSE IWOULD FIGHT WITH THEM NOT TO THEY’D FIGHT WITH ME IF IWANTED TO LOWER IT..ALL THEY CARE ABOUT IS MONEY WERE JUST ADDICTS TO THEM “JUNKIES”..I’M CLEAN NOW I DETOXED METHADONE IT WAS JUST AS BAD AS HEROIN DETOX..PEOPLE DO USE METHADONE AS A HEROIN REPLACEMENT WITCH ISN’T OKAY IT’S ONE THING TO USE IT TO HELP YOU GET CLEAN BUT IT’S NOT OKAY TO STAY ON METHADONE FOR SEVERAL YEARS THAT’S DEFINITELY REPLACING ONE SUBSTANCE FOR ANOTHER..METHADONE IS SIMPLYB”FREE DOPE” I MUST SAY IT’S A GREAT THING IF U USE IT PROPERLY JUST FOR A SHORT TERM TO DETOX HEROIN BUT STAYING ON IT FOR YEARS IS JUST GIVING YOUR BODY A NEW ADDICTION..YOULL NEVER BE SOMEWHAT NORMAL AGIN IF U KANT LEARN TO FUNCTION WITH OUT ANY SUBSTANCES

July 17, 2013 at 4:32 pm
(35) Annoyed says:

Honestly, there should be an area blocked off from the rest of society for drug users, including methadone needers. People like this will do nothing but continue to harm/hurt society in one way or another, and influence younger generations and continue the use of such things in the U.S. I mean, why does anyone begin to use, cause they see it, learn it, are taught it, showed it, etc. They all are the same, someone else somehow was involved that knew what they were doing or was already an addict. Taking all users and throwing them on their own little island where they can all happily excuse themselves and what they do together would be the best interest for everyone. Granted drugs are and will always be around, but at least it is a huge indent to a better world. And those that want to argue methadone is ok, and not a drug, are all the ones who are using themselves, and like all addicts, will find any and all excuse to “ok” what they are doing, nomatter what level. Little do you know that when you are high on heroin, just the same as on methadone, most people can see something is off about the person. The addict never thinks they look high, in their mind they can look normal….on the outside, you look like an addict. Same thing with methadone, healthy, clean, non users can tell something is off. Many times we might just not say anything, cause who wants to tell their co-worker you think they are weird or mentally off? I mean really. To achieve full success within ones own life, and happiness, one must need a completely clear mind and soul in order to really take in the beauty and give back the beauty to the fullest.

January 17, 2014 at 4:56 am
(36) Jayne says:

I can’t tell you how angry I am over this Methadone controversy! I am 67 years old and have had Lupus (SLE) for 60 of those years. I raised 5 kids and suffered with chronic pain all that time. For the past 7 years I’ve been treated with Methadone, 70 mg a day and for the first time was relatively pain-free.

About 3 months ago my Dr suddenly heard that Methadone was extremely dangerous/deadly and she quickly lowered my doseage to 20 mg a day and my life is pretty much not worth living. The pain keeps me awake many nights…like tonight.

My husband has Parkinson’s and alzheimers and I have been his caregiver, but now I’m going to have to move in with one of my daughters and let his family care for him because I can’t function as his helper when I’m in this much pain.

The least these people could do is MAKE IT CLEAR THAT USING METHADONE TO TREAT DRUG ADDICTION IS A WHOLE DIFFERENT ANIMAL THAN TREATING CHRONIC PAIN PATIENTS THAT NEED IT IN ORDER TO HAVE SOME QUALITY OF LIFE!

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