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Avatar universal

Methadone is NOT a lifesaver people!!

I get so infuriated when I read a post by someone who is talking about trying to get off methadone and in comes a commenter who sings it's praises and acts like its holy water. Those are the ones who have obviously not had it affect their body negatively yet, or affect their life I a negative way. So let me tell you what you can expect, should you decide that methadone is going to save your life.....

When I was put on methadone 8 years ago, I too, thought it was a "wonder drug"....I didn't have to take much to be pain free, of course I knew nothing about a drugs half-life at that time either. (No wonder it worked so well at first...half-life of methadone, up to 60 hrs...half-life of Vicodin, approx. 4-5 hrs..) So I started out at 20 mgs a day and did fine...for about 3 months. Then it was increased. And again it only helped a few months and had to be increased...again and again.

During the time I was on it, I had chronic bronchitis, and pneumonia at least once a year (at the ripe old age of 32) and landed in the hospital for days with the pneumonia. I also suffered from double hernias, because I didn't realize how far I was pushing my body, so had surgery to repair those. Then a few years ago, became very ill with stomach issues. Ended up having exploratory surgery to find that I had a collapsed lung, peritonitis and that my appendix had ruptured. All for methadone. Great huh?? The surgeon told me that my colon was bigger than a softball, and normal size should be about the size of a tennis ball...another great effect of the opiate. He also told me if I stayed on the course I was on, that I would NOT live to 60. That absolutely scared the hell out of me...but yet I stayed on it another 3 years because I was afraid of living w/o it and afraid of the withdrawal. But let me say, the exploratory surgery recovery was far worse than I'm experiencing now.

Now lets talk about how it affects you mentally....at first, nothing can touch you...oh yeah, because it "saved your life"....but soon....very soon...it grabs ahold of all your emotions and feelings and hides them away to where YOU can't even find them. Then you start leaving the house less and less. But that's ok, still got the methadone right? THEN, you don't leave the house at all...unless you absolutely have to! You stay up all night and sleep til noon or later every day, then when you do roll yourself out of bed, you plop your a$$ in front of the tv all day, because surely the house will clean itself...but even if it doesn't, who cares??  Then your family starts to wonder what's happened to the person they once knew...and they start begging you to bring that person back...but once again, who cares?

And THEN, that moment of clarity...that moment when you realize how different things are than they were before the methadone...and how different they COULD be...that moment when you realize just how jealous you are of ppl who get out and live their lives to the fullest.  And you know it's just within reach....but ohhhh the terrible withdrawals you would have to go thru to be like them.

I'm here to tell you, it's not as terrible as it sounds. Sure, everyone gets on here and moans n groans about the w/d's, but this is like our bit€hfest page...it makes some feel better to just SAY how bad they feel, but it really is like a bad case of the flu, an extended flu, but the flu! You sat in front of the tv all day while you were on methadone, why not sit there while you're getting off it and recover?

I know I tend to ramble, and write books, lol, but it really does irritate me when someone tries to push methadone here...this is for ppl wanting to get OFF the crap. It is not ok to sing praises of a "wonderful drug" to someone who is stating they want off drugs!!  Sorry ppl...just had to vent!
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4626633 tn?1382597122
Hi Sweetness. Having insomnia again? I slept today after passing my stone, and slept on and off, then at two am woke up wide awake! Not used to this, thankfully.

I have no desire to take methadone. I didn't even know much about it until joining here.

I do remember an exposé our newspaper did of area clinics a few years ago. Pre my opiate Rx. I remember reporters went undercover, and at the time, you had to test positive for opiates to get in the program ( not sure if that's the case now) and the reporters undercover went to every clinic in the state, to "sign up".

They reported having to do an initial urine screen, which of course were negative, but the nurses told them they did indeed test positive for opiates, or in one case Herion, which is what the reporter said he was hooked on. So they were accepted into the program, as long as they could pay.

It also interviewed patients. One girl in particular I remember. Her story was a two hour on winding two lane roads every day each way. I guess here the clinics are closed on the weekends, and because of snow, the girl was one minute late, past closing time and didn't get her weekend meds. The girl's interview was so desperate I'll always remember. She was literally panicked, and wanted to camp out over the weekend at the clinic, hoping a staff member may come by having forgotten something. She said she would have to buy illicit drugs if not. Reading here now about the half life maybe she was just scared, but it was a powerful interview. Her mother actually drove her on these four hour daily trips.

The paper said our clinics had no state oversight.

I have been curious since coming on here, ( not for myself, just because I'm curious by nature and look up everything, road signs I have never seen, etc)
I'm curious how going on Methadone is suppose to help? The newspaper reported the clinics say you don't get high, that it just takes away withdrawls, and made it seem short term. Then the journalists uncovered patients who were def not short term. Still I was shocked when I read on here the length some have taken it.

And apparently it does produce a high? I hear some say it saved their life, and others say it ruined it.
If you don't mind me asking, what info were you fed to decide to go that route? I'm willing to bet there are people on here reading, but not members yet, desperate to go off opiates, and not understanding Methadone.

Heck, what little I knew about it before coming here, I may have considered had it not been an everyday trip, because I thought it was a couple months on it, then miraculously free from addiction. Yes, one month ago I was naive enough to believe there was a med to "fix" your addiction.

I guess what I'm saying is, by posting how you started, why, what you were told, that you just might help the ones out there reading, and considering methadone, to get off opiates, that you can in fact do it without methadone. The horror stories I have read on here shocked me. I truly didn't understand the medicine. It took me two weeks to figure out what MMT meant lol.

I'm not trying to have you persuade someone not to go on it, just give info.

Honestly, when I decided to quit my RX's, I read some first thankfully, for I had no idea I would withdrawl! So I was able to prepare with the Thomas recipie. But if not for my autoimmue disorder, and knowing physically I am not well enough to leave home everyday, I would have fallen prey to methadone, as my perceptions after reading and finding out about physical then mental wds from opiates, thought methadone was a fix. A place to go get help, and never go through physical and mental wds. Because I was under the impression methadone didn't get you high, and there were no wds from methadone. In other words, a miracle.
I also didn't understand opiates at all. Even while on them, I would see documentaries of people hooked, but it never showed the ones hooked by RX's, just ones getting it off the street, shooting up, ending up in jail, and meanwhile I'm taking the stuff, wondering what's weird with my body I don't get high from them, I couldn't imagine paying 40$ for one of my pills. It was all weird, and so glad I stopped before I hit rock bottom.

But that's off subject. I just think you would do a great service to lurkers considering methadone by sorting fact from fiction.
To the ones that swear by it, I don't have enough info to personally say good or bad. But again reading the stories here, make it seem worse than the opiate addiction.

But had I been healthy, after reading what opiate wds did to you mentally, had I been able to leave the house everyday, I believe I would have blindly just gone on methadone. The perception is its a miracle drug. Sorry for repeating myself there. I'm just shocked at how uniformed I was, and I bet many out there are.

Thanks Sweetness! I know your rant is getting out some anger, but it wouldn't surprise me if your testimony stopped someone just on pain pills from going to methadone.

You're a real trooper with a fighting spirit and I greatly admire you! It's day 32 for you right? Congrats girl!!!
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Avatar universal
Methadone doesn't create the rush of heroine, but it is the same post rush high. It was brought to this country from Germany, where the Nazis put in their soliers what every night to help them sleep and never be able to leave, as they would withdraw and return. It was never intended for pill addiction, only illicit drugs. In 2001, the FDA declared methadone a good choice for chronic pain management, due to the long half life. Doctors can prescribe it now right beside norco. It has hit the streets in pill form and is growing in abuse.

I got my methadone on the street. I think I had a script for opiates once, when I was 17 and had my wisdom teeth pulled, norco. I had not idea what methadone was, but knew they used it to get people off heroine. I thought, well if it's not as addictive as heroine, it must be okay. I went through all the phases sweetness discribed. Wow, this is awesome, and my head is so clear to, I feel like a zomie. Long term methadone use detox was the single most difficult thing I have ever experienced. I was up to 250mg at one point and backed down to 200mg, then 150mg. It took me 2 1/2 years of trying to get of methadone. Be careful people, it almost killed me multiple times.

I agree with most of sweetness opinion on methadone, though my views have changed as time passes. I see methadone used for 1-3 weeks to get addicts through the roughest part of high dose strong opiate addiction. That's not long enough for it to build up in the body and create a new addiction. I now view methadone the same as suboxone/subutex, short term use to get a break and form an aftercare plan. I would never support the long term use of methadone or subs for long term use, unless the plan is to stay on them the rest of their lives. I have one friend who is like a brother to me, he has pins up and down his neck and had an 1800mg a day oxy habit. He is in constant pain and can't function without meds. He went into a coma one day and woke up on suboxone. He will take 4-8mg for the rest of his life. These are the kind of people that should use methadone or subs long term. I still prefer subs over methadone. But subs make people feel like a zomie over time also.

Thanks sweetness, knowledge is power. We get to go through this so we can be of service in preventing others from making our mistakes.
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Avatar universal
I started on methadone because the Vicodin and Percocet no longer worked...little did I know that my tolerance had increased so much to those drugs that the pain I was having was withdrawal pain! I realize that now but didn't then. Wish I had though. And I had no education on the drug whatsoever...I was just given a script for it and told to take it...and I did..like an idiot. I mean, when I go to the store for something OTC I read damn near the whole box before I purchase it...why wouldn't I read up on the methadone? Maybe because my doc said it was ok, but I'm not blaming them for my addiction...sure they helped it along, but I am my own person, and the choice was mine to make....I made a mistake obviously. I have lost so much weight on the crap that ppl ask if I have health problems...I've always been a healthy looking woman...not fat, but not skin and bones either. That's another thing I didn't mention that it did for me. My 11 year old daughter weighs more than I do. How awful is that!?!

Now I do agree with Weaver on the point of someone who has debilitating pain. But for ppl like me, who were simply just developing a tolerance to the lightweight stuff...they need to find another way because in the end, it's worse than it started out to be. I would've rather went through the withdrawal back when I was on the Percocet, at least I would still weigh 125 lbs (or more...lol), and have my health. And I also agree on the short term therapy...it CAN be a lifesaver, as long as someone knows ahead of time that it WILL be short term. I, on the other hand, was told I would have to take it the rest of my life....bull$hit!! So I guess getting off it didn't even cross my mind until all the effects starting affecting me and my life and my family. That's when I KNEW something had to change, and fast!

I also believe that there should be required classes for methadone patients before they take that first pill. If it doesn't scare them away from it, maybe they do need it. But looking back, I didn't need it! I needed someone to tell me to get off all the opiates! If I weren't so ashamed of myself for allowing all this to happen, I think I would be an anti-methadone advocate. Lol.
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3200158 tn?1386592717
ill play devils advocate here. one thing, methadone detox is not the same as methadone maintenance.....for another, there are times that using methadone is preferable to the heroin lifestyle.....if something can break that cycle of commit crime/use...commit crime/use, i think it begs consideration.....just a thought............kk
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Avatar universal
I agree...it should be used for heroin detox...but short term. That person needs to commit to aftercare as much as they committed to heroin and using. And MM, well that's what I was on...and the detox is definitely different, I never said they were the same to begin with. But every person on MM will develop a tolerance, it's inevitable. But when does the vicous cycle end? Just because someone used heroin and one point in their life does not mean they must stay on methadone their entire life!! They have to learn a new lifestyle!
Helpful - 0
1827057 tn?1397520277
Good post sweetness.I think it's way over used.Opiate addicts seem to be the only drug addicts who have the luxury of continuing to use their drug of choice as "treatment" and also to become "clean"
Helpful - 0
480448 tn?1426948538
I agree with most of what you said, in theory...and obviously, you've had a terrible experience, which is unfortunate...but Methadone treatment (BOTH long term AND short term) can be beneficial and appropriate in certain circumstances.

I think the MOST important thing you said was to stress how vital it is for people to educate themselves on the risks of methadone (or ANY new med for that matter), and weigh the risks with the benefits.  That's SO true!  Methadone itself is not inherently bad or evil...it's not for everyone, and yes, it sometimes causes more harm than good, but each person needs to make that decision for themselves, and while a lot of people have had unfortunate experiences, many have had good ones which cannot be discounted.

Just one example, the chronic heroin user who has used for decades, had multiple OD's and multiple relapses...to weigh  the options there, a long term methadone program makes sense as an option.  The benefits would outweight the risks.

"But when does the vicous cycle end? Just because someone used heroin and one point in their life does not mean they must stay on methadone their entire life!! They have to learn a new lifestyle! ."

It's a valid point, but it's also important to recognize that that is your opinion.  Others may feel differently, and that's okay.  This is just like the Sub debate...same idea.  You have people on both sides of the fence, and people with varying experiences.  One person's choice is no less "right" than another's, it's just different.

I think the very best thing you can offer people trying to get clean is your experience...and again, to stress just HOW important it is to be an INFORMED patient.  Sadly, like you said, a lot of people have such a blind faith in doctors.  SOME faith is great, but patients need to advocate for themselves, and make decisions like this carefully.

Very good discussion!

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Avatar universal
I agree with you also on that scenario...I'm just a little biased at the moment because of how everything has been the last few years. In my case, there was no need for the crap, I was just too dumb and blonde to know it!! Lol. I do think education is the key...making informed decisions and being aware of ALL the risks/benefits. Too bad it's just not that way really...most ppl just do what the doc tells them unfortunately, w/o second opinions or educating oneself. Lesson learned in my case though!! :)
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480448 tn?1426948538
I'm just a little biased at the moment because of how everything has been the last few years. In my case, there was no need for the crap, I was just too dumb and blonde to know it!! Lol.

I don't think there's a soul on Earth who wouldn't feel like you do hon!  And, it isn't about you being "dumb", not at all...so many people trust doctors the point where if they recommend something, that's good enough.  

It stinks that you had to go through what you did.  Just think of how many people will read your words though, and may decide to do their OWN homework before making a decision about Methadone (or Sub)?  You're helping others, which is awesome.

:0)

Hang in there!!!
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Avatar universal
I hope that my post can help at least one person out there...that's my goal. Nobody should endure this if they can avoid it. Again, I do believe in short term use, and long term use where appropriate. But either way....educate...educate...and educate some more!
Helpful - 0
2107676 tn?1388973859
This is a very good post.  I love what you said about people educating themselves on the risks methadone or any new drug before they start them.  I have just been through a month of hell coming off of AD's and non narcotic pain relievers (after going through opiate withdrawals).  
I went to see my doctor today and he really had no idea that these meds caused such bad "discontinuation" effects.  I really don't think he believed me but there are a ton of forums all over the internet about how bad the withdrawals are.  
Everyone is different and we should do our homework before we take anything.
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Avatar universal
I'd still choose suboxone maintenance over MM for chronic relapse heroine addicts. Before subs, I saw the use for MM, but other than short term, I think it's to risky. You can't OD on subs, and they have a ceiling effect. I know I'm biased about methadone, so know that is only an opinion.
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Avatar universal
I agree Weaver...from what I've read, subs are not as risky. Actually, a friend of the family, a 19 year old girl experimenting,  overdosed on methadone right before this last Thanksgiving. I think that was my wake up call honestly!
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480448 tn?1426948538
Weaver...I agree 100%!!!  

Pat...thankfully, there is more awareness about the AD's, the symptoms of the discontinuation syndrome, and the importance of tapering off to minimize as best at possible.  A lot of people have endured hell due to not enough awareness of the effects these meds have on our system.

I'm a HUGE supporter of AD's, simply because of my own experiences, but there are enough horror stories out there.  That's why I love sites like this...people get to present both sides and help people to empower themselves, educate themselves, and work WITH their docs instead of just following "directions".  BIG difference.
Helpful - 0
480448 tn?1426948538
Actually, a friend of the family, a 19 year old girl experimenting,  overdosed on methadone right before this last Thanksgiving.

Oh how very sad!!!  :0(  Did she make it?

Methadone is a very powerful drug, and the OD risk I think is the biggest, especially for someone who relapses after a period of being clean, thinking they can go back to what they were using before...all bad!
Helpful - 0
2107676 tn?1388973859
Yes I actually had a very good discussion with my doctor today.  We both listened.  After all the hell going off the Effexor, we discussed other AD's, side effects etc.  I went off of Effexor so I could take Cymbalta and I could not tolerate the Cymbalta at all.  I felt like I was being poisoned. So, guess what?  I am back on Effexor.
He knew I was so afraid of it but told me that I could be on it for the rest of my life (he said I had another 100 years lol).  I did have severe depression and PTSD and I didn't realize how much it was helping me.  
So, I agree.  AD's do have a purpose.  I just should have educated myself about them more before I started but on the other hand I was so messed up back then it probably wouldn't have mattered.
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480448 tn?1426948538
Effexor has really helped a lot of people, but no doubt it is one of the hardest to taper off.  If you need it, you need it...and if it helps, that's great!  Glad the appt went well.

100 years eh???  I LIKE your doctor!  ;0)  LOL
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Avatar universal
No, they found her the next morning. She had a long life to live and it was cut short by her decision to experiment with methadone and Vicodin. It shouldn't be so easy to get your hands on, but as long as ppl are taking it, it will be available on the streets...unfortunately. It was a very sad situation and very few ppl even knew she was experimenting with it. I made my decision to get off of it about 5 days later. I don't even want it in my house for MY kids to get their hands on it! I don't need it that bad....
Helpful - 0
4626633 tn?1382597122
Sweetness, thanks for your response to my long comment to your post. And Weaver for chiming in too.
I truly believe this post may help someone seek more info before blindly turning to methadone, as I would have, had it not been an everyday things.

Because as I stated above, I was under the impression it was a miracle fix for opiate addiction. And I had never tried to quit before. I had never experienced one day without the meds. So my fear came from reading about the mental aspect of stopping opiates. Not the physical. And I thought two weeks of methadone fixed all that.

And I'm sure I'm not the only naive person out there. So your post may just at least give someone pause to really research it out. I would not have, because I thought I knew.

Ironically I read today that in my state, methadone deaths have surpassed that of any other drug, illicit or prescribed. And it's being fed into the community via prescriptions for pain, the deaths are rarely traced back to clinic doses.

My questions were mainly about methadone for pain pill addiction. I know next to nothing about Heroin, and that maybe a whole different ball game I imagine.

Thanks again Sweetness! I just know this post is going to help someone out there.
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Avatar universal
The new Diagnostic Statistic Manual, DSM, is coming out in march. For the first time the word addiction will be used and it will officially be a medical condition. The whole world of recovery and drug prescriptions is going to change soon. I think that the nation will see what some of these drugs are costing in total cost, not just dollars.

I'm really sorry for your loss sweetness. I have 12 friends who have died from methadone. As you know, it almost killed me. I live in a town of 3000 and an average of 1 person a year dies from methadone, more than all other drugs combined, including other prescription opiates. I have the same passion for getting the word out as you do. Good for you.
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4626633 tn?1382597122
One thing I still don't understand is why when you go to the clinic, to say get over pills, why do they keep upping the dose? Instead of giving what makes you comfortable, and weaning you down from there?
Why does it turn into years? Thanks
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Avatar universal
It doesn't make sense, it makes dollars, lots of them. Once you are addicted to methadone, you dread the idea of a day without it. I think tobacco is the only drug that surpasses the job security of methadone, that's because it's legal. Not all clinics are in it for the wrong reasons, doctors either, but many of them are. I can't see any other logical reason that a person on weaker opiates would end up on higher doses. The other thing is methadone stops working after awhile, so many people want more. They are usually happy to "HELP," as long as you can afford it.
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Avatar universal
I will say that the PM doc I went to would not prescribe anything higher than 60mg...and I was up to 50. He said that was his cutoff on that drug and I'm glad it was. At one point, when I was with a different doc, he had prescribed 90mgs a day...even though I told him I couldn't take that much he still prescribed it every month. I felt like I was getting nowhere...fast. So I switched to the other doc who lowered my dose and started doing different procedures...epidurals, radio frequency (burning nerve endings), steroid injection etc...But eventually, it got to where I couldn't afford the $3000 procedures and had to stop those...even with insurance it still racked up a bill up that I am STILL paying for.

And I'm lucky I guess that I've only known one person to die from methadone...Twelve??? Holy shizzle!! That's an enormous amount of loss and I'm so sorry that you've experienced that :(
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Avatar universal
Oh, and I agree about the cigarettes too. That's my next goal. Try to take them away from me right now though, and I'll turn into Super Bit€h, Super Quick!! Lol. Sad as it is to say, the smokes are keeping me sane while I go through this. Horrible huh...another addiction. One that is just as bad. But God willing, I'll be free from those soon enough :)
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