Why Is Methadone, a Proven Lifesaver, Still So Restricted and Stigmatized?

Jun 16 2016

Why Is Methadone, a Proven Lifesaver, Still So Restricted and Stigmatized?

June 16th, 2016

I was a patient in a very expensive, inpatient treatment program in Orange County back in the mid-2000s when I first heard of methadone. I didn’t hear about the drug, or any other maintenance options, from the program’s doctors, nurses, counselors or sponsors. Instead, I heard about it when a fellow patient—a 21-year-old from Newport Beach—disclosed that she was in for Vicodin and methadone.

“Oh man, methadone. That’s the worst,” one patient said to her.

“You’re probably going through hell right now,” said another.

This young woman hadn’t been in the building for 10 minutes and had already won the Worst Possible Withdrawal award.

I wouldn’t think about methadone again for at least a year, when two college friends I knew to be trouble suddenly got jobs and completely turned their lives around.

“We enrolled in a methadone program,” they told me.

“No you didn’t. I heard that shit is awful.”

“Yeah, well… people say that.”

Nearly 10 years later, I know better. Yet despite conclusive evidence of methadone’s lifesaving benefits, many people remain wary of the drug—even hostile.

Why?

 

The History of Methadone

Methadone is an opioid that was first synthesized in Germany as a pain reliever during World War II. After the war, the drug was approved for use in the United States, and pharmaceutical company Eli-Lilly began manufacturing it under the name Dolophine.

As early as the 1950s, some American doctors were using methadone to treat opioid dependence—although the most common course of “treatment” remained legal sanctions and civil confinement. The potential for the drug to become a successful and widespread treatment option wasn’t discovered until the 1960s, when Vincent Dole, MD won a New York City Health Research Council Grant to study addiction. Dole designed experiments to test a variety of options and ultimately observed that high doses of methadone could alleviate harsh cravings in opioid-dependent subjects.

Dole’s methadone program, which provided the blueprint for the modern protocol of a single daily dose, had 25,000 patients by 1971.

That same year, President Nixon, who had just declared his “War on Drugs,” began establishing federal methadone maintenance programs to address escalating public outcry around drug addiction (“Public Enemy Number One”) and concerns that soldiers returning home from Vietnam would yield an epidemic of crime. Progress stalled by 1973, when controversy over the medication led to strict government controls.

 

How Methadone Works

The methadone we know today is produced by several manufacturers—including Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals and Roxane Laboratories—and is typically dispensed as a liquid or tablet. The drug acts by binding to the µ-opioid receptor, blocking the effects of most opioids and keeping the patient from going into withdrawal.

Methadone is metabolized slowly and has very high fat solubility, making it longer-lasting than other opioids. While metabolism rates vary greatly between individuals, the elimination half-life is typically between 15 and 60 hours. As a result, most methadone patients need only one daily dose. Heroin users, in contrast, typically need three-to-four daily doses to prevent withdrawal symptoms.

 

The Stigmatization of Methadone

Methadone’s longer half-life makes the drug a highly effective maintenance treatment, but also fuels the common myth that methadone results in more severe withdrawal symptoms. In fact, methadone withdrawal symptoms are more prolonged than those from opioids with shorter half-lives, but also much less intense. Other common myths about the drug, largely supported only by personal anecdotes, include that it weakens bones, otherwise harms the body, or is harder than heroin to kick.

It’s no accident that I absorbed some of these myths while in an inpatient treatment program. There is a long history of debate in the recovery community about what it truly means to be “clean and sober.”

This debate came to a head in 2007, when Betty Ford convened a group of interested researchers, recovery advocates, policymakers and treatment providers to develop an initial definition of recovery for better clinical practice and public understanding. The report concluded:

It was the consensus that those who are abstinent from alcohol, all illicit drugs, and all non-prescribed or mis-prescribed medications would qualify … To be explicit, formerly opioid-dependent individuals who take naltrexone, buprenorphine, or methadone as prescribed and are abstinent from alcohol and all other non-prescribed drugs would meet this consensus definition of sobriety. 

Despite this and other efforts to make the recovery community, medical system and general public more inclusive and knowledgeable about maintenance treatments, extreme and often explicit stigma remains.

Never is this more apparent to me than when I spend time working at my local needle exchange program in Orange County.

“I’m interested in Suboxone,” a woman said to me recently. “But not methadone. People tell me that’s not really being clean.”

Minutes later, an old friend from Alcoholics Anonymous approached. I was excited to catch up, but also a little surprised to see her—until she explained that she relapsed after lowering her methadone dose too quickly.

“Have you talked to your counselor about possibly going back up?” I asked.

“No.”

“Why not?”

“Well, my parents don’t like me to be on it.”

“But it works for you?”

“Yeah.”

I was saddened but not surprised. Less than 10 minutes later, like clockwork, a similar conversation emerged between a volunteer and a young man who has been trying to kick heroin in traditional inpatient programs for nine years.

“People tell me it will be the worst decision of my life,” he said when asked about methadone.

It’s a phrase I hear over and over again.

 

A Gold-Standard Treatment

Despite the fact that methadone treatment is often viewed as a “last stop” for people who have repeatedly “failed” in 12-step programs, it’s actually, for most people struggling with opioid addiction, the very best option available.

Decades of research connect methadone programs with significant reductions in non-prescribed opioid use, criminal behavior, needle sharing and risky sexual behavior. The World Health Organization and Institute of Medicine agree that methadone maintenance is the most effective treatment for opioid addictions, and a 2009 Cochrane review found that methadone was effective in retaining treatment and suppressing heroin use. Most importantly, methadone massively reduces mortality rates, with studies showing these rates to be between one-quarter and one-third of those for people addicted to opioids who are not on maintenance drugs.

All that said, there is certainly no one-size-fits all treatment for opioid addiction; everyone’s body chemistry and psychology responds differently. Some people report methadone makes them sleepy, others anxious. I would be lying if I said methadone changed my entire life overnight. But the internal dialogue in my head shifted drastically and very quickly, from “I would really love to change my life some day,” to “I think I can do this today.”

 

Tangled and Damaging Restrictions

For those who would like to try methadone maintenance, accessing the medication can be difficult. Patients are required to be present at highly regulated and specialized clinics every day for at least for the first several months of treatment, before they can “earn” the right to transfer to a physician or take doses of methadone home.

What other kind of medication has this kind of requirement?

Further, methadone patients are subject to very strict rules around payments, drug testing, counseling and medical evaluations.

As of 2012, there were more than 1,400 methadone clinics in the United States, treating more than 306,000 patients—although there are still many places in the country that don’t have a local clinic.

Clinics are regulated by a tripartite system, which means they’re subject to oversight at federal, state and law enforcement levels.

Until 2001, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was tasked with outlining federal guidelines, including patient eligibility, evaluation procedures, dosages, take-home doses, frequency of visits, counseling and medical and psychiatric services.

In 2001, the federal oversight of methadone programs shifted to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). SAMHSA repealed the FDA’s regulations, which dated from 1972, and implemented a new accreditation-based regulatory system. Unlike the FDA’s system of detailed prescriptive rules, which were strict and commonly referred to as “one-size-fits-all,” SAMHSA’s accreditation system was designed with the understanding that different groups of patients could need vastly different services. The accreditation process is essentially a peer-review, conducted by specialists who perform on-site visits and evaluate each clinic’s program against SAMHSA’s standards.

While federal regulations must be met by all clinics, SAMHSA (and previously the FDA) permits individual states to enact more restrictive regulations if lawmakers see fit. The extreme and unwarranted barriers to methadone treatment almost always come at this level.

Along with federal and state guidelines, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) also plays a role in methadone regulation, but only in the case of illegal distribution.

With this multifaceted approach, and despite SAMHSA’s efforts to make methadone clinics more patient-centered, quality of care can fall through the cracks. Another way of putting it: It’s chaos.

“It can be ridiculous,” says Blake, a Los Angeles County resident and methadone patient. “Just the other day I walked into my clinic to make a payment, and was told that no one on-site knew how to take my check. I didn’t want there to be a mistake so I asked when I should come back. They said the next day. Within an hour I got an email threatening to pull me from the program, since I didn’t make my payment.”

His anger resonates with me. Before I left my first program, I had six different counselors in just four months—three of whom I never met. Appointments with the doctor were often made and cancelled without any notice.

Most important, I lived in a constant state of fear that my take-home doses, which took a full year to earn, would be pulled. Take-home doses are unsupervised doses given to a patient to be taken at home on schedule for the next one-to-27 days, meaning that you don’t need to be present at the clinic every single day. The stakes were high: If my take-homes were pulled, I would lose my ability to travel, and as a result, my job.

Federal regulations dictate that take-homes may be given out at the discretion of the particular methadone clinic, as long as the patient meets certain criteria. First and foremost, the patient’s two most recent random drug tests must be negative. Second, the patient must have regular attendance without skipping doses, as well as no recent criminal activity. Third, the patient must have a stable home environment and child-proof secure lockbox to keep their doses. The number of take-home doses a patient can acquire almost always corresponds to the amount of time they have spent in treatment.

During my first two years of treatment, I worked diligently to ensure I checked all these boxes and kept my counselor abreast of travel plans with detailed itineraries. Despite all of this, I frequently got calls from the front desk, which usually went something like this:

“We need you to come in today to sign this paper.”

“I was in yesterday… You said everything was taken care of.”

“We need you to come in today.”

“I am in another state—don’t you remember? You have my plane ticket and itinerary. We talked about this. You approved it.”

“It’s required by the state. Nothing I can do. If you don’t come in today we will pull your take-homes.”

“But you can’t pull my take-homes. I’ll lose my job. Why couldn’t I sign this paper yesterday?”

“Please come in before 5 pm.”

“It’s 4:30 pm. I wouldn’t even make it if I was at home.”

“Sorry. Nothing we can do.”

By the third time something like this happened, I began looking into other programs, which, luckily, was an option in southern California.

Read more from The Influence:

How to Figure Out if Your Drug Use Is Really a Problem?

When Someone You Love Dies in Police Custody and They Blame “Excited Delirium”

…and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Establishing New Clinics

Overall, the federal component of the tripartite regulatory landscape promotes quality of care, and is not a hindrance to the establishment of new methadone clinics. The major hindrance is state laws, which vary wildly and can be so strict that they become prohibitive.

Certain states have medical recertification requirements for patients who wish to continue comprehensive long-term methadone maintenance after a specific period of time. Some require anyone trying to launch a new clinic to obtain certificates of need, certificates of licensure, and zoning permits.

As such, the first thing a prospective methadone clinic director needs to do is determine their particular state’s regulations. These may be as simple as mirroring SAMHSA’s federal regulations, or be prohibitively restrictive to the point where no methadone clinics exist, as is the case in six US states: Idaho, Mississippi, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming.

The least restrictive states tend to have regulations that simply echo the federal accreditation program designed by SAMHSA. Any additional contributions from these states typically focus on ways to evaluate and improve already-existing clinics, rather than disqualifying prospective clinics from being built through regulatory roadblocks.  California, New York and Maryland all fall into this category, and as a result have the largest numbers of methadone clinics.

But the other, potentially most difficult, roadblock is NIMBY-ism (“Not In My Back Yard”). Communities in which a new methadone clinics are proposed can totally shut down plans before a single brick is laid—as was the case in Monument, Colorado, where methadone providers sued state officials for refusing to grant them a license to open such a clinic.

For this reason, SAMHSA recommends first that people interested in opening a methadone clinic first perform a community assessment, and evaluate the likelihood of such an outcome. Sadly, it is often the communities where methadone programs are most needed whose populations are most vociferously opposed.

 

We’re Hurting Ourselves

In light of the opioid “epidemic” and related public outcry, efforts to expand access to methadone have become more popular. Methadone programs have been proven to work, to transform and save lives, again and again. In many other countries, methadone maintenance is a central part of medical practice.

In Edinburgh, Scotland, for instance, nearly 60 percent of all general practitioners provide methadone maintenance services. As a result, an estimated 80 percent of injection drug users are enrolled in a program—compared with 15 percent in the United States.

Why this difference? The extreme and nonsensical stigmatization of methadone continues to make accessing the medication far more difficult than it should be.

It’s time for state and municipality officials to consider what is really at stake when they block the people they’re meant to serve from taking charge of their own lives.


Chelsea Carmona is a writer and activist living in Los Angeles. Her last piece for The Influence was “Celebrity-Endorsed, Client-Centered and Credentialed? The Rise of Recovery Coaches.” You can follow her on Twitter: @CarmonaChelsea.

  • Great article. My current research is on “experiences and perceptions of heroin users accessing OST” and the focus groups have echoed what you are saying – the self stigma is huge, as are the levels of misinformation and the entrenched idea of “I must lower my dose as quickly as possible and get off”. A literature review shows that methadone, and to a slightly lesser degree buprenorphine, are the only interventions that significantly improve the lives of heroin users who are excluded and stigmatised due to their drug use. Of course, there is a third option – diamorphine, or heroin, but that would be unthinkable to most politicians!

    As for the feredral regulations, they are simply a form of social control and are so onerous that they make social exclusion of methadone users a virtual inevitability – as per your example. Low threshold methadone programmes that give adequate doses and drop all the other requirements, including regular urine testing, are they logical and effective way of mitigating many of the harms of heroin use. That and decriminalisation;

    • Chris Kelly

      wouldn’t it be safer to give them heroin ?

      • Diamorphine is heroin, and for some people, if they choose, yes it would be safer cause less harm

      • Martine

        Most certainly.

    • Martine

      Let my voice be added to your research. I am an addict, and the Methadone program has made me miserable. If only street drugs were legal. But the workers at the Methadone Clinic I went to quite simply lied about the risks. I had no idea i would be overweight and constipated and sweaty for ever. Most people in my clinic are not thrilled with it. I certainly am working on dwindling the dose. Frankly I would rather go back to using then to loose my health completely.

      • Methadone Saves Lives

        Lol… Yea because injecting random drugs mixed in a toilet in Afghanistan are so healthy!

  • Nicole Clark

    It’s just synthetic heroin.. Where are the stats on how many people die from mixing methadone and benzos, they didn’t mention that. I’ve had 2 friends pass from just that! They also don’t mention the years that people stay on methadone basically it’s a forever drug! I was a heroin addict, I’ve been on methadone & suboxone, it’s just a substitution! I’ve also been clean for 6 years now… And not one of those years have I been on a substance! Don’t allow an addict to convince you they need
    to be on methadone, no one should be high forever!

    • 50kmwalk .

      What a refreshing statement by Nicole on addiction, accountability, and recovery. I have no problem with methadone use to get off heroin. But if your still on it 2, 5, 10 years later I have to ask why haven’t you made a psychic/behavioral change thru meetings, therapy, religion, yoga, something that teaches you how to do life without being dependent on a drug? If your an addict, the ultimate goal is to be free of all mood altering substances, a productive member of society, and give something back.

      • shadowmagick

        Well for one, as someone who has been addicted to opiates for literally half of my life, I am 30 and started at 15, and who also has a chronic pain problems from rheumatoid arthritis and back problems, there may never be a time when I get off methadone. It saved my life, as well as the baby I had while on it. I became pregnant unexpectedly, and was definitely not trying to, but everyone knows accidents happen no matter how hard you try not to, and I got on the clinic because to try to detox while pregnant will almost guarantee you to miscarry. Methadone is proven safe and effective for pregnancy, and my baby had no withdrawal from it, and is way ahead developmentally for his age. Now back to me, I’ve now been on the program for a year with a clinic, and was taking methadone on my own before that for about 4 years. If you were to do research, you would know that it generally takes an equal number of years to what were spent in active addiction for the methadone to allow the persons brain time to heal and to even begin to become normal again. Also, for any addict who was using for any real length of time, their brain is most likely permanently altered chemically and the neurons are basically rewired to only work right with opiates in their system. So when taking their methadone as prescribed, which by the way does not make you “high” in any way, the methadone allows the brain to function correctly. Also, for someone like me whose been addicted for a major portion of their life, even after not using for years, the cravings to use don’t ever really go away. Some people have an easier time than others in dealing with those cravings. And especially in a person like me who has legitimate chronic pain problems from real illnesses, when I am in severe pain is when I get my worst cravings. For me methadone relieves the cravings as well as helps with my pain. If I were off the methadone, I can tell you for a fact, that I may be able to deal with my pain for a short time, but at some point, I would go back to using. I don’t have the option to get pain medication from a doctor because of the fact that I am a known addict and have been seen at the hospital for both being in severe withdrawal from opiates as well as for over dosing twice. No doctor will ever have me as a patient, so my only choice is either illegal drugs or pain pills off the street or being in the methadone clinic. I think the choice there is pretty clear. So I am content and happy in knowing that I am going to be on methadone for the rest of my life. And I am fine with it. If it means I can be free of illegal drugs, won’t have to worry about getting locked back up again for drugs, that I will be able to be a real mother for my son and can actually take care of him the way he deserves and can just feel normal again in a way that I haven’t felt in 15 years, since I was 15 years old, then I will gladly accept my life with methadone. To me, it’s a medication for a disease, just like a diabetic takes insulin, I take methadone for my mental illness called opiate addiction. Which by the way, is classified now as a REAL mental illness, not just a choice, because once your body and mind becomes physically dependant on opiates, it isn’t a choice anymore to use, it’s a requirement for your body to be able to function. Trust me, if I could go back and not take that first pill and not shoot that first needle full of heroin, I would, but since I can’t go back in time, my only choice is to go forward. And for me to go forward, it means I need a little extra help to be able to stay sober, and that extra help is called methadone. I am proud to be on methadone, because now I am able to have the life back that my addiction stole from me all those years ago.

        • Rustie Lassam

          Thanks for posting. Your story, is my story…..including pregnancy… and now I have a beautiful teenage son. I have a disease in my spine which causes me pain. I’m easily addicted to anything addictive and have been addicted to most prescription meds. The methadone program (here in Australia) has saved me from a very complicated/complex life, and death. I am proud to be on this program and work tirelessly in my community, and others, to help change the negative language used around addiction and the methadone program. I encourage others to become educated on this subject to assist in changing attitudes. The stigma attached to the program here is soul destroying yet completely unfounded and ungrounded, based mostly on ‘bullshit’, of course. Again, thanks for posting!

        • DUI Man

          Well, just a point of reference to “shadow magic” I’m 61, clean & sober for 20 yrs in AA/NA, was a Probation Officer for 24 yrs, and have been a licensed drug & alcohol counselor for the last 10 working in treatment so I’ve done my “research”. If your happy, joyous & free with what your doing–great, then theirs no need to react to a different opinion on what recovery is.

        • DUI Man

          Well, just a point of reference to “shadow magic” I’m 61, clean & sober for 20 yrs in AA/NA, was a Probation Officer for 24 yrs, and have been a licensed drug & alcohol counselor for the last 10 working in treatment so I’ve done my “research”. If your happy, joyous & free with what your doing–great, then theirs no need to react to a different opinion on what recovery is.

          • Michelle Dunn

            Well your opinion is WRONG! You are actually not helping anyone contributing to the negative stigma, you are probably creating doubt in someone’s mind reading this but to be CLEAR you are considered sober when on methadone Suboxone subutex! It’s no accident that I absorbed some of these myths while in an inpatient treatment program. There is a long history of debate in the recovery community about what it truly means to be “clean and sober.”

            This debate came to a head in 2007, when Betty Ford convened a group of interested researchers, recovery advocates, policymakers and treatment providers to develop an initial definition of recovery for better clinical practice and public understanding. The report concluded:

            It was the consensus that those who are abstinent from alcohol, all illicit drugs, and all non-prescribed or mis-prescribed medications would qualify … To be explicit, formerly opioid-dependent individuals who take naltrexone, buprenorphine, or methadone as prescribed and are abstinent from alcohol and all other non-prescribed drugs would meet this consensus definition of sobriety.
            Despite this and other efforts to make the recovery community, medical system and general public more inclusive and knowledgeable about maintenance treatments, extreme and often explicit stigma remains.

          • Martine

            I wish someone had made me doubt it. Now I am stuck. Yes, I am sober, and I have no real problem simply because I am addicted to something, but now the government controls my life more then the dealer ever did. What if I decided I didn’t want to take Methadone that day? I( have no such choice. What if I am feeling sick with a cold? I still have to show up at the clinic. It is a miserable life, and I have gained 40 pounds( which is on the low end of what people at the clinic usually gain) I have lost 30 pounds again by lowering my dose, but now it isn’t really helping any more, and I refuse to go back knowing what i know of the health risks. better I had never even started. Methadone is not some wonderful, safe drug. Quite the opposite.

          • Cheryl

            Martine,

            First off, you do have a choice and you are not stuck. You chose methadone as a treatment option because you were addicted to opiates to begin with. I also don’t understand how the government controls your life by being on methadone. Unless you were remanded to a state run clinic as part of probation or parole, you are under no obligation to attend daily.

            I myself would rather go to the clinic than have to deal with my dealer each day. Your dealer can be arrested and go to jail for months and you wouldn’t get your dope that day. Your dealer can take your money and supply you with a product that is cut with something fatal or supply you with something less potent that will cause you to withdrawal.

            Methadone does have a longer half-life than most other opiates/opioids, which is why the withdrawals last longer, but the side effects can be managed. I often hear so many people describe the problems with constipation on methadone, which when discussed were no different than the constipation they experienced on heroin or other opiates. By taking a stool softener each day, increasing your water/fiber intake, constipation can be managed. Exercise is another great way to decrease constipation.

            What do you do if you are sick with a cold and need to show up for work? Do you call in sick to work for a week and not go to work because you have a cold? I imagine you would be expected to work. Do you want the clinic to deliver to your door? What did you do when you had a cold and needed to get dope? You got in your car and met your dealer I imagine. That argument is really reaching. The regulations and rules of the clinic(s) are really not that rigid and showing up each day to dose can’t be that stressful. No more stressful than waiting on your dealer to show and worrying about getting picked up by the cops or being robbed.

            And while gaining weight for anyone can be difficult, as I said below, lifestyle changes can help. Eating a healthy diet, increasing your water intake, and exercise can help all that. If decreasing your dose worked, then why are you so upset.

            If going to the clinic is not for you, then just ease off your dose and get off methadone. No one is making you stay on it. Like any other opiate, quitting suddenly is going to cause withdrawals. With anything, get all the facts and information before you make a decision to start something. Would you buy a car without knowing the history of the car, the make, the model, if the engine runs, is the car dependable. Probably not, you would want the best car you can get, so do the same when it comes to treatment options.

            There is a ton of information out there available on the internet regarding methadone and not just what is posted on blogs.

            If methadone wasn’t for you that is fine, but for hundreds of thousands of people it works and saves lives. There is no evidence that constipation from methadone use leads to colon cancer.

            Maybe you could list the health risks from methadone. Constipation is a side effect and if you read the side effects of most medications, constipation is the most common side effect.

            Most antidepressants, heart medications, and 99% of all the drugs put out there by the pharmaceutical companies cause constipation. I think you are confusing side effects with health risks.

            You have choices. If it’s not working for you then by all means stop, but if it works for so many others then let them make their own informed decision.

          • Judith Bradford

            Most of what you are complaining about is not the drug methadone but the ridiculously restrictive rules placed on gaining access to it. having to go to the clinic in person every day to get your dose is not a side effect of methadone!

          • Judith Bradford

            I believe people are reacting to the clear hostility the poster demonstrates towards methadone use, and also to the outright falsehoods and dangerous myths he is trying to pass off as ‘fact’. I’m perfectly in agreement with you that whatever method works for you is good and that there is no need to dis anyone else’s; but discouraging people from trying something that may work well on the basis of misinformation and one’s own personal hostility is quite wrong. Methadone is not a “terrible drug” and emotional screeds claiming that it will ruin your life need to be contradicted with facts– I mean, please! Claiming that “you can never hope to be on methadone and not be obese”?? Ludicrous! I’ve been on a high dose of it daily for chronic pain for almost twenty years and weigh 130 pounds at five-seven! Even worse, in that second poster’s rant about methadone being a poison that will inevitably destroy your health and make you a fat corpse, the writer accuses doctors of LYING about the side effects (probably because they told her that these side effects were possible, while she insists they are inevitable and that since she gained weight… it must have been caused by the methadone and everyone using methadone will do the same). Criticizing these fallacies and myths isn’t criticizing their recovery or insisting that my path to stable productive health is the only one– all the best to each finding the way that works best for them.

        • DUI Man

          Well, just a point of reference to “shadow magic” I’m 61, clean & sober for 20 yrs in AA/NA, was a Probation Officer for 24 yrs, and have been a licensed drug & alcohol counselor for the last 10 working in treatment so I’ve done my “research”. If your happy, joyous & free with what your doing–great, then theirs no need to react to a different opinion on what recovery is.

        • DUI Man

          Well, just a point of reference to “shadow magic” I’m 61, clean & sober for 20 yrs in AA/NA, was a Probation Officer for 24 yrs, and have been a licensed drug & alcohol counselor for the last 10 working in treatment so I’ve done my “research”. If your happy, joyous & free with what your doing–great, then theirs no need to react to a different opinion on what recovery is.

        • DUI Man

          Well, just a point of reference to “shadow magic” I’m 61, clean & sober for 20 yrs in AA/NA, was a Probation Officer for 24 yrs, and have been a licensed drug & alcohol counselor for the last 10 working in treatment so I’ve done my “research”. If your happy, joyous & free with what your doing–great, then theirs no need to react to a different opinion on what recovery is.

        • DUI Man

          Well, just a point of reference to “shadow magic” I’m 61, clean & sober for 20 yrs in AA/NA, was a Probation Officer for 24 yrs, and have been a licensed drug & alcohol counselor for the last 10 working in treatment so I’ve done my “research”. If your happy, joyous & free with what your doing–great, then theirs no need to react to a different opinion on what recovery is.

        • DUI Man

          Well, just a point of reference to “shadow magic” I’m 61, clean & sober for 20 yrs in AA/NA, was a Probation Officer for 24 yrs, and have been a licensed drug & alcohol counselor for the last 10 working in treatment so I’ve done my “research”. If your happy, joyous & free with what your doing–great, then theirs no need to react to a different opinion on what recovery is.

      • Michelle Dunn

        Do you think people just stop wearing glasses because maybe if they will themselves to see better they will. Some people need it there entire life’s this is a disease not a choice. Stop passing judgment it’s not your journey and it does not effect you at all. Negative stigma is what prevents people from getting the help they need

        • Martine

          Because glasses do not cause colon cancer through constipation. if glasses made people gain weight, develop hormonal problems, and become constipated with no relief, glasses would not be legal.

      • Michelle Dunn

        Please educate yourself before speaking on something you obviously are very ignorant about.

        • 50kmwalk .

          I already listed my ‘credentials’ MS Dunn; what might yours be apart from voicing your nasty opinion? Defensive, angry folks almost always have untreated drug & alcohol issues in my 35 years of working in Social Services. Maybe you should consider seeing a therapist or going to an AA meeting–we’ll save you a seat.

          • shawn segler

            So you’re just an asshole, then.

          • Martine

            Because he objected to being called ignorant and told to “educate himself” by a person who considers all opinions but her own “ignorant”? I don’t think standing up for yourself makes you an asshole.

      • Judith Bradford

        Pretty much exactly like saying someone ought to ‘get religion’ to stop using, say, Levothyroxin for hyperthyroid conditions. Methadone is NOT a “mood altering drug” and the entire point of using it instead of heroin is that it DOES NOT get you high. The euphoria felt from opiates like heroin is a function of the rapid change in opiate levels (thus the ‘rush’ which methadone does not produce as it is absorbed very slowly). Methadone is an excellent pain reliever for people with chronic pain conditions, without the risk of getting addicted to the euphoric rush produced by the rapid absorption of other opiates. It’s silly to go on about how is it somehow bad to take a medicine if you have to KEEP TAKING IT to remain healthy– do you stop needing insulin if you are diabetic? People stay on drugs like antidepressants for as long as they need them, and if you try going without them and the depression returns, you start taking it again; only someone ignorant about mental health conditions would insist that oh, you ‘ought to find religion or yoga’ and assume you can’t be a productive, stable member of society just because you need to take your meds every day.

    • Cheryl

      Before you post this nonsense, why don’t you read up on the pharmacology of opiates and opioids. There are many synthetic opiates that are used for different reasons and methadone is not synthetic heroin. You state, “don’t allow an addict to convince you they need to be on methadone, no one should be high forever!” Wow! Your own stigmatization of methadone is just as dangerous as your statement about how many people die from mixing methadone and benzos. Do you know the stats on how many people die each year from mixing alcohol with benzodiazepines? What about the patients given opiates and benzodiazepines from their pain management doctor? Do you know the stats regarding overdose from the legal prescribing of opiates and benzodiazepines? I doubt you do. Most of the time when I see someone post or shout about statistics, they rarely, if at all, know the numbers associated with these statistics. Anytime you simultaneously take more than one drug that depresses the central nervous system, lowers your heart rate and blood pressure, and decreases respirations,you increase your risks for overdose and death. This could be a combination of drugs commonly found in your medicine cabinet that you purchased over the counter at Wal-Mart for the common cold or flu.

      There is nothing wrong with wanting to post the dangers of mixing methadone with benzodiazepines (benzos). It is a real danger and should be discussed, but scaring away others from choosing methadone is in itself a real danger as well. Maybe methadone and suboxone didn’t work for you and I am truly happy that you found a way to manage your addiction, but maybe a different approach on the dangers of mixing these drugs would be a better approach. I am so very sorry you lost your friends. One of the best tools we as addicts have is to take the approach so many harm reduction groups and advocates do, and that is to reduce the harm associated with drug use through education and peer counseling. Have you ever considered talking to your peers and others in your community about the dangers associated with poly substance abuse?

      And while 50kmwalk finds your statement on addiction, accountability, and recovery refreshing, it is this same attitude that keeps hundreds of thousands addicts from ever stepping through the doors of a methadone clinic. It is why politicians and lawmakers continue to lock up non-violent drug offenders in jail and institutionalize them for being an addict.

      Why is it so wrong for someone to be on methadone for 2 years, or 5 years, or for a lifetime? Would you rather your hard earned tax dollars go to pay for those who is locked up in jail for several years or see them being going to college, going to work, and living a productive life. Those on methadone can do all those things and more.

      12-step meetings are not for everyone and not all of us believe in a higher power or God. Yoga is something one can do while on methadone and believe me, yoga is not the only way one can learn how to live life without being dependent on a drug. While I hate the comparison of methadone to insulin, we certainly would not tell someone who is overweight to stop taking their insulin and start a yoga class instead. Why can’t we make psychic/behavioral changes while being on methadone? Well, we can and we do.

      You two certainly have every right to feel the way you do and to live your lives the way you do. Your recovery is just that…Yours!

      What would you say to the those parents, spouses, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, children, friends loved ones, all who have lost someone to addiction, that methadone is just a bad choice. I am sure that most of those people would rather have their precious loved one on methadone right now as opposed to that painful experience of having to bury them.

      I am an addict and methadone is right for me. I feel it is my responsibility to advocate for those on methadone as well as advocate for harm reduction. I do this because I would rather give someone the tools and education to keep them safe from overdose, infection, and jail, than tell them that the only way is complete abstinence. Getting “clean” is something we do when we shower or a bath. We are not dirty because we choose to be on methadone or even suboxone.

      If you want to educate the public on statistics, religion, and yoga, there are many other forums that do just that. Yes, you have the right to form an opinion and share it, but the safety of others and how they choose to manage their addiction is not a right given to you. The best way to approach addiction is the safest way and that is though education, peer support, harm reduction, and yes, even abstinence. Whatever works for you is what works for “you.”

      We can still give something back even if we are on methadone and even if we are still actively using. Why does society deem us unfit to be parents or function in all capacities of life if we are using drugs? The truth is that as a society we care more about what people think of us than what we truly think of ourselves. My family, my children, my partner, they don’t care any less about me because I am on methadone than they would if I wasn’t on methadone. They sleep better at night knowing I am on methadone. I keep Narcan, the same drug given by healthcare providers for an overdose of opiates, in my home in the event of an overdose. My kids know how to administer it and so does my partner. I keep Narcan in my home not only for my own safety, but for the safety of others.

      If you want to speak of statistics, 12 step meetings and other traditional forms of “abstinence only programs” do not have a higher rate of success than methadone and suboxone programs. Just so you know.

      Before I post this, let me just say one more thing, “What will you do if you relapse and cannot stop using this?” The likelihood of relapse for opiate addiction is very high.

      Getting all the facts and having options in my opinion is the safest way to treat addiction.

    • Cheryl

      Before you post this nonsense, why don’t you read up on the pharmacology of opiates and opioids. There are many synthetic opiates that are used for different reasons and methadone is not synthetic heroin. You state, “don’t allow an addict to convince you they need to be on methadone, no one should be high forever!” Wow! Your own stigmatization of methadone is just as dangerous as your statement about how many people die from mixing methadone and benzos. Do you know the stats on how many people die each year from mixing alcohol with benzodiazepines? What about the patients given opiates and benzodiazepines from their pain management doctor? Do you know the stats regarding overdose from the legal prescribing of opiates and benzodiazepines? I doubt you do. Most of the time when I see someone post or shout about statistics, they rarely, if at all, know the numbers associated with these statistics. Anytime you simultaneously take more than one drug that depresses the central nervous system, lowers your heart rate and blood pressure, and decreases respirations,you increase your risks for overdose and death. This could be a combination of drugs commonly found in your medicine cabinet that you purchased over the counter at Wal-Mart for the common cold or flu.

      There is nothing wrong with wanting to post the dangers of mixing methadone with benzodiazepines (benzos). It is a real danger and should be discussed, but scaring away others from choosing methadone is in itself a real danger as well. Maybe methadone and suboxone didn’t work for you and I am truly happy that you found a way to manage your addiction, but maybe a different approach on the dangers of mixing these drugs would be a better approach. I am so very sorry you lost your friends. One of the best tools we as addicts have is to take the approach so many harm reduction groups and advocates do, and that is to reduce the harm associated with drug use through education and peer counseling. Have you ever considered talking to your peers and others in your community about the dangers associated with poly substance abuse?

      And while 50kmwalk finds your statement on addiction, accountability, and recovery refreshing, it is this same attitude that keeps hundreds of thousands addicts from ever stepping through the doors of a methadone clinic. It is why politicians and lawmakers continue to lock up non-violent drug offenders in jail and institutionalize them for being an addict.

      Why is it so wrong for someone to be on methadone for 2 years, or 5 years, or for a lifetime? Would you rather your hard earned tax dollars go to pay for those who is locked up in jail for several years or see them being going to college, going to work, and living a productive life. Those on methadone can do all those things and more.

      12-step meetings are not for everyone and not all of us believe in a higher power or God. Yoga is something one can do while on methadone and believe me, yoga is not the only way one can learn how to live life without being dependent on a drug. While I hate the comparison of methadone to insulin, we certainly would not tell someone who is overweight to stop taking their insulin and start a yoga class instead. Why can’t we make psychic/behavioral changes while being on methadone? Well, we can and we do.

      You two certainly have every right to feel the way you do and to live your lives the way you do. Your recovery is just that…Yours!

      What would you say to the those parents, spouses, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, children, friends loved ones, all who have lost someone to addiction, that methadone is just a bad choice. I am sure that most of those people would rather have their precious loved one on methadone right now as opposed to that painful experience of having to bury them.

      I am an addict and methadone is right for me. I feel it is my responsibility to advocate for those on methadone as well as advocate for harm reduction. I do this because I would rather give someone the tools and education to keep them safe from overdose, infection, and jail, than tell them that the only way is complete abstinence. Getting “clean” is something we do when we shower or a bath. We are not dirty because we choose to be on methadone or even suboxone.

      If you want to educate the public on statistics, religion, and yoga, there are many other forums that do just that. Yes, you have the right to form an opinion and share it, but the safety of others and how they choose to manage their addiction is not a right given to you. The best way to approach addiction is the safest way and that is though education, peer support, harm reduction, and yes, even abstinence. Whatever works for you is what works for “you.”

      We can still give something back even if we are on methadone and even if we are still actively using. Why does society deem us unfit to be parents or function in all capacities of life if we are using drugs? The truth is that as a society we care more about what people think of us than what we truly think of ourselves. My family, my children, my partner, they don’t care any less about me because I am on methadone than they would if I wasn’t on methadone. They sleep better at night knowing I am on methadone. I keep Narcan, the same drug given by healthcare providers for an overdose of opiates, in my home in the event of an overdose. My kids know how to administer it and so does my partner. I keep Narcan in my home not only for my own safety, but for the safety of others.

      If you want to speak of statistics, 12 step meetings and other traditional forms of “abstinence only programs” do not have a higher rate of success than methadone and suboxone programs. Just so you know.

      Before I post this, let me just say one more thing, “What will you do if you relapse and cannot stop using this?” The likelihood of relapse for opiate addiction is very high.

      Getting all the facts and having options in my opinion is the safest way to treat addiction.

    • Cheryl

      Before you post this nonsense, why don’t you read up on the pharmacology of opiates and opioids. There are many synthetic opiates that are used for different reasons and methadone is not synthetic heroin. You state, “don’t allow an addict to convince you they need to be on methadone, no one should be high forever!” Wow! Your own stigmatization of methadone is just as dangerous as your statement about how many people die from mixing methadone and benzos. Do you know the stats on how many people die each year from mixing alcohol with benzodiazepines? What about the patients given opiates and benzodiazepines from their pain management doctor? Do you know the stats regarding overdose from the legal prescribing of opiates and benzodiazepines? I doubt you do. Most of the time when I see someone post or shout about statistics, they rarely, if at all, know the numbers associated with these statistics. Anytime you simultaneously take more than one drug that depresses the central nervous system, lowers your heart rate and blood pressure, and decreases respirations,you increase your risks for overdose and death. This could be a combination of drugs commonly found in your medicine cabinet that you purchased over the counter at Wal-Mart for the common cold or flu.

      There is nothing wrong with wanting to post the dangers of mixing methadone with benzodiazepines (benzos). It is a real danger and should be discussed, but scaring away others from choosing methadone is in itself a real danger as well. Maybe methadone and suboxone didn’t work for you and I am truly happy that you found a way to manage your addiction, but maybe a different approach on the dangers of mixing these drugs would be a better approach. I am so very sorry you lost your friends. One of the best tools we as addicts have is to take the approach so many harm reduction groups and advocates do, and that is to reduce the harm associated with drug use through education and peer counseling. Have you ever considered talking to your peers and others in your community about the dangers associated with poly substance abuse?

      And while 50kmwalk finds your statement on addiction, accountability, and recovery refreshing, it is this same attitude that keeps hundreds of thousands addicts from ever stepping through the doors of a methadone clinic. It is why politicians and lawmakers continue to lock up non-violent drug offenders in jail and institutionalize them for being an addict.

      Why is it so wrong for someone to be on methadone for 2 years, or 5 years, or for a lifetime? Would you rather your hard earned tax dollars go to pay for those who is locked up in jail for several years or see them being going to college, going to work, and living a productive life. Those on methadone can do all those things and more.

      12-step meetings are not for everyone and not all of us believe in a higher power or God. Yoga is something one can do while on methadone and believe me, yoga is not the only way one can learn how to live life without being dependent on a drug. While I hate the comparison of methadone to insulin, we certainly would not tell someone who is overweight to stop taking their insulin and start a yoga class instead. Why can’t we make psychic/behavioral changes while being on methadone? Well, we can and we do.

      You two certainly have every right to feel the way you do and to live your lives the way you do. Your recovery is just that…Yours!

      What would you say to the those parents, spouses, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, children, friends loved ones, all who have lost someone to addiction, that methadone is just a bad choice. I am sure that most of those people would rather have their precious loved one on methadone right now as opposed to that painful experience of having to bury them.

      I am an addict and methadone is right for me. I feel it is my responsibility to advocate for those on methadone as well as advocate for harm reduction. I do this because I would rather give someone the tools and education to keep them safe from overdose, infection, and jail, than tell them that the only way is complete abstinence. Getting “clean” is something we do when we shower or a bath. We are not dirty because we choose to be on methadone or even suboxone.

      If you want to educate the public on statistics, religion, and yoga, there are many other forums that do just that. Yes, you have the right to form an opinion and share it, but the safety of others and how they choose to manage their addiction is not a right given to you. The best way to approach addiction is the safest way and that is though education, peer support, harm reduction, and yes, even abstinence. Whatever works for you is what works for “you.”

      We can still give something back even if we are on methadone and even if we are still actively using. Why does society deem us unfit to be parents or function in all capacities of life if we are using drugs? The truth is that as a society we care more about what people think of us than what we truly think of ourselves. My family, my children, my partner, they don’t care any less about me because I am on methadone than they would if I wasn’t on methadone. They sleep better at night knowing I am on methadone. I keep Narcan, the same drug given by healthcare providers for an overdose of opiates, in my home in the event of an overdose. My kids know how to administer it and so does my partner. I keep Narcan in my home not only for my own safety, but for the safety of others.

      If you want to speak of statistics, 12 step meetings and other traditional forms of “abstinence only programs” do not have a higher rate of success than methadone and suboxone programs. Just so you know.

      Before I post this, let me just say one more thing, “What will you do if you relapse and cannot stop using this?” The likelihood of relapse for opiate addiction is very high.

      Getting all the facts and having options in my opinion is the safest way to treat addiction.

    • Cheryl

      Before you post this nonsense, why don’t you read up on the pharmacology of opiates and opioids. There are many synthetic opiates that are used for different reasons and methadone is not synthetic heroin. You state, “don’t allow an addict to convince you they need to be on methadone, no one should be high forever!” Wow! Your own stigmatization of methadone is just as dangerous as your statement about how many people die from mixing methadone and benzos. Do you know the stats on how many people die each year from mixing alcohol with benzodiazepines? What about the patients given opiates and benzodiazepines from their pain management doctor? Do you know the stats regarding overdose from the legal prescribing of opiates and benzodiazepines? I doubt you do. Most of the time when I see someone post or shout about statistics, they rarely, if at all, know the numbers associated with these statistics. Anytime you simultaneously take more than one drug that depresses the central nervous system, lowers your heart rate and blood pressure, and decreases respirations,you increase your risks for overdose and death. This could be a combination of drugs commonly found in your medicine cabinet that you purchased over the counter at Wal-Mart for the common cold or flu.

      There is nothing wrong with wanting to post the dangers of mixing methadone with benzodiazepines (benzos). It is a real danger and should be discussed, but scaring away others from choosing methadone is in itself a real danger as well. Maybe methadone and suboxone didn’t work for you and I am truly happy that you found a way to manage your addiction, but maybe a different approach on the dangers of mixing these drugs would be a better approach. I am so very sorry you lost your friends. One of the best tools we as addicts have is to take the approach so many harm reduction groups and advocates do, and that is to reduce the harm associated with drug use through education and peer counseling. Have you ever considered talking to your peers and others in your community about the dangers associated with poly substance abuse?

      And while 50kmwalk finds your statement on addiction, accountability, and recovery refreshing, it is this same attitude that keeps hundreds of thousands addicts from ever stepping through the doors of a methadone clinic. It is why politicians and lawmakers continue to lock up non-violent drug offenders in jail and institutionalize them for being an addict.

      Why is it so wrong for someone to be on methadone for 2 years, or 5 years, or for a lifetime? Would you rather your hard earned tax dollars go to pay for those who is locked up in jail for several years or see them being going to college, going to work, and living a productive life. Those on methadone can do all those things and more.

      12-step meetings are not for everyone and not all of us believe in a higher power or God. Yoga is something one can do while on methadone and believe me, yoga is not the only way one can learn how to live life without being dependent on a drug. While I hate the comparison of methadone to insulin, we certainly would not tell someone who is overweight to stop taking their insulin and start a yoga class instead. Why can’t we make psychic/behavioral changes while being on methadone? Well, we can and we do.

      You two certainly have every right to feel the way you do and to live your lives the way you do. Your recovery is just that…Yours!

      What would you say to the those parents, spouses, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, children, friends loved ones, all who have lost someone to addiction, that methadone is just a bad choice. I am sure that most of those people would rather have their precious loved one on methadone right now as opposed to that painful experience of having to bury them.

      I am an addict and methadone is right for me. I feel it is my responsibility to advocate for those on methadone as well as advocate for harm reduction. I do this because I would rather give someone the tools and education to keep them safe from overdose, infection, and jail, than tell them that the only way is complete abstinence. Getting “clean” is something we do when we shower or a bath. We are not dirty because we choose to be on methadone or even suboxone.

      If you want to educate the public on statistics, religion, and yoga, there are many other forums that do just that. Yes, you have the right to form an opinion and share it, but the safety of others and how they choose to manage their addiction is not a right given to you. The best way to approach addiction is the safest way and that is though education, peer support, harm reduction, and yes, even abstinence. Whatever works for you is what works for “you.”

      We can still give something back even if we are on methadone and even if we are still actively using. Why does society deem us unfit to be parents or function in all capacities of life if we are using drugs? The truth is that as a society we care more about what people think of us than what we truly think of ourselves. My family, my children, my partner, they don’t care any less about me because I am on methadone than they would if I wasn’t on methadone. They sleep better at night knowing I am on methadone. I keep Narcan, the same drug given by healthcare providers for an overdose of opiates, in my home in the event of an overdose. My kids know how to administer it and so does my partner. I keep Narcan in my home not only for my own safety, but for the safety of others.

      If you want to speak of statistics, 12 step meetings and other traditional forms of “abstinence only programs” do not have a higher rate of success than methadone and suboxone programs. Just so you know.

      Before I post this, let me just say one more thing, “What will you do if you relapse and cannot stop using this?” The likelihood of relapse for opiate addiction is very high.

      Getting all the facts and having options in my opinion is the safest way to treat addiction.

    • Gina-Lucia George

      Be high forever….. that is BS….. I haven’t felt a buzz in yearssssssssss and yearsssssssss…. So you are to going to tell me that I get high.

    • Martine

      It is far worse then synthetic Heroin. It is synthetic Heroin substitute with terrible side effects and health risks.

      • Cheryl

        Nicole,
        And what would synthetic heroin be? Do you think that the heroin sold in the streets is a pure substance without its own health risks and terrible side effects? There are side effects from any drug, whether it be Ibuprofen, Robitussin, or chemotherapeutic agents. The side effects from methadone, like any drug can be managed and most of those people on methadone do manage them with a good diet, exercise, and by taking their methadone as prescribed.
        While methadone is a synthetic form or opiates, it is not synthetic heroin. These sorts of statements only increase the stigma and further perpetuate the bad information that is out there. I just don’t understand why you are so concerned with coming on here and trying to convince others that methadone is such an evil drug. It helps hundreds of thousands of people each day and has been an accepted treatment for opiate addiction for over 40 years.
        While I myself responded with anger and judgment to others when this article was written, I am going to continue to do what I can to dispel the myths and provide as much information as I can so that those who may be thinking of methadone as an option, will be able to make an informed decision.

        I am an advocate of methadone, just as I advocate for women’s rights, to end domestic violence, help with the homeless and many other issues I feel are important. I prefer to spend my time helping others.

        I will end with this. So often I see individuals as yourself post of the “dangers” of methadone, but have no evidence to back it up. Sure, many people gain weight on methadone, but that can be due to many things; lifestyle changes that come when we end our drug use, changes in hormones, Hepatitis C, changes in diet. I have been on methadone for 11 years and have never gained weight and I know so many others who have never gained a pound themselves.

        If methadone didn’t work for you or you know someone on methadone who didn’t have much success, I am truly sorry, but why post useless and incorrect information.

        • Joseph Martin

          Hey Cheryl. Know this is old, but thank you for fighting Martine’s ignorance… I’m glad you were here in case she scared someone needing help. Not saying Martine is stupid, just a disgruntled and doesn’t know better.

          The problem is, people are using bad logic. It happened to me and friends, it is truth.

          I’m in the process of getting dentures at 30 years old after being on methadone just 1.5yrs! BUT I’ve been a heavy opiate user for over 10yrs. I’d be lying to say I had great dental health before. It was bad. Also opiates including methadone cause dry mouth, so I always have a Dr. Pepper on hand. Dink water. My teeth were my fault.

          I’ve gained 40 lbs! What? Again, the Dr. Pepper thing. Not to mention my depression and the fact I quit excercising. Methadone or not, my fault. Do I think it slows metabolism? Sure, same with all opiates. Heavy hydrocodone users gain wieght, too. My fault!

          Testosterone… yep, weight gain and bad teeth don’t make me feel sexy at all. Plus the depression and guilt I’ve felt. Honestly, opiates have always supressed my sex drive. I mean, the occasional time I couldn’t find anything maybe helped reset my system a little. But opiates kill feelings. Even those down there in Mr happy. Can I get the job done, sure.

          Conclusion. Take some accountability guys. When your abusing, you don’t take care of yourself. That won’t change overnight or even in a few months with methadone. But it gives you stability so you can start… No one is saying methadone is not an opiate with the same medical problems. It absolutely is! But it is prescribed so you can taper off and take the amount right for you. Sure you can take 250mg a day, but only you know whether or not youre abusing the system there. Anyone that high knows they need to start lowering their dosage… and if your worried about sex and weight gain, maybe in your addiction you didn’t lose as much as i lost in mine…

      • Judith Bradford

        Nonsense. I’ve heard a lot of complaining about methadone in my life… and easily three-quarters of the insistence that oh, it’s so terrible, it’s worse than dope, and you are just substituting another drug so you aren’t clean anyway, came from people whose ACTUAL resistance to methadone was firmly rooted in the fact that they wanted to continue using the drug WITH the euphoric high. Essentially, it’s a good treatment for opiate addiction, but people who really don’t want their addiction treated in the first place will find ways to convince themselves the treatment is bad. Someone upthread made the statement “don’t let an addict convince you they need methadone”… well, don’t let an addict convince you that they DON’T, either, and that their real objection to the medicine is its side effects or the necessity to keep taking it rather than the fact that it does not get you high at all.

  • Christopher O’Keefe

    Great article …the methadone clinic has saved my ass more that once. I could go on and on about it but the truth is Methadone saves lives…and we know that for a fact !! To be honest ..sure it sux being on methadone and all the crap that goes along with it. Do to the fact that methadone saves lives it wouldn’t have it any other way.

  • BoldChapeau

    I’ve read a couple of other articles on the subject addiction by this writer. I’m glad that someone is talking about it and is doing such a good job of it.

  • imposter

    If you are on full agonists opiods and are dependent. You have to think to yourself…..either wait five days in pain and use gabapentin to break free….or you can go and start taking suboxone, subutex or methadone……these meds lower testosterone like its their jobs. Methadone will take your teeth and bone strength but as long as your not feeeling sick you just become addicted to the bupe or meth you putntoutself on…..YOU HAVE TO STOP WITHOUT OPIOD PARTIAL AGONIST. Dont mess with sub or methadone if you think you are worth it on this world. If you go on these maintenance programs you are basically on a sticky pad man just dont get high today and try to find gabapentin because its the wd cure….so os pregabalin but thats harder to get.

    This shit aint a joke just fucking stop shooting up and gabapentin is what you need for restlessness. Fuck a rehab just find you and staet fixing whats broken

    • Michelle Dunn

      You’re fucking ignorant

      • imposter

        Im not ignorant. Methadone is shit and its bad for you. Buprenorphine is the lesser of two evils. When you are on these maintenance drugs you simply get a little break from the heroin lifestyle…..but you better not stay on the shit…..You will regret it…..unless you already in your 40s than do what you want. All I am saying is i took subs for 2 years…..and it didnt matter if i put a full one under my toung or sniffed a 1mg line…i still wasnt sober. It has an uplifting effect to it. Gabapentin….get it. Take it. Once wd stops…..dont relapse.

        • Cheryl

          Yes, you are ignorant. I wonder how long it will be until you are posting somewhere about your recent relapse and I also wonder how old you are?

          Methadone doesn’t rot your teeth. This is a myth perpetuated by people just as yourself.

          If you want to post your silly rants about how awful methadone is, I am sure you can find a site or forum that has been created just for that, but don’t post your nonsense where those looking for some kind of treatment will be scared off.

          And Neurontin(Gabapentin) is by no means a cure for withdrawal. I am sure it may come in handy if used while in withdrawal, but you need a prescription to get it and what is sold on the street is often something else.

          I am so surprised that those who claim to be heroin/opiate addicts post their rhetoric and rants about how terrible methadone, suboxone, and subutex are. While these drugs used for detox or maintenance programs are not for everyone, they can be a lifesaver for someone who has tried to quit opiates and cannot do it on their own.

          I wonder how often you have tried to quit on your own imposter? If withdrawal or going “cold turkey” were so easy, you certainly would not be using Gabapentin to ease your symptoms.

          If it was easy to just quit or not relapse, we would not be facing the problems we are as a nation and world wide.

          While opiates have been found to suppress testosterone in men, there is no reason that this hormone cannot be replaced in men that have a drop in their testosterone levels. It should not be used as a tool to dissuade men to not partake in methadone maintenance.

          To say that people are not worth anything if they are on methadone is just ugly and dangerous.

          I am not going to waste anymore time trying to convince you that your message here is dangerous and puts addicts at risk. I think if you truly understood the real issues that surround heroin and opiate addiction, you wouldn’t post this nonsense to begin with.

          You have a right to choose your own treatment and path in life, but it is quite sad and scary when you and others make statements that are found to be false and without any actual fact at all.

          Good luck to you imposter. I hope that you an remain opiate free. My advice to you would be this; If you do find yourself in a position where you are using again, be careful. Overdose is quite high with those who have been off of opiates for a long period and use again.

          I would hate to see anyone die from an overdose.

          Cheryl…Harm Reduction Advocate

          • imposter

            Sigh……all im trying to say is stay away from methadone….if you need some support just go on subs for a few months but im going through hell trying to get off these things and i was hardly taking 4mg a day. They need to come up with something different because rehab dont work. Like if im a heroin addict right? I should be able to sit in a hospital while they ween me off using morphine for a week and than leave knowing you better not relapse because you just used your only detox taper

            Idk i dont want to fight i hate this shit…..but i just saw a whole bundle on a friends table the other day and i could have cared less about it. When I was in school it was DARE teaching us about drugs. The shit didnt work and thats the problem…..like SHOW an impressionable 6th grader some educational documentaries and burn the shit in their heads that that is a fucking colossal mistake. I hate it

          • shawn segler

            Your issue is one brought up in this famous Dunning Krueger study https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunning%E2%80%93Kruger_effect That being that people who are either A: not very bright Or B: not very knowledgeable about a complicated subject Or C: Both… Tend to overestimate their ability to understand said complicated subject..with the reverse being true also that smarter or overqualified people tend to underestimate their skill at complicated things because they understand just how complicated they are. That being said, I’m guessing you’re pretty young and for all that you feel that you’re doing a public service, you really only have your own very young mind, very minimal experience and deep feelings powering very strongly formed opinions about a complicated subject based on minimal information…and I’m here to tell you that as sure as you are that you’re right…you’re not. When you reach a certain point of addiction- length and amount, suboxone simply doesn’t cut it. Just because it wasn’t the right thing for you doesn’t mean it isn’t an incredible life saving/enhancing treatment for many many people. It’s not the best of all possible treatments but for the people who need it, it is powerfully effective medicine and should be respected as such. If the world would get off its ass and treat drugs in a responsible and effective fashion so that people who need methadone wouldn’t be locked to clinics by liquid handcuffs then it would have almost no negative aspects at all (And no, dying from methadone and benzos doesn’t count. That’s just stupid, and you shouldn’t do it anyway. If you kill yourself thusly its on you). It’s allowed me to get my life back together, get through incredible depression etc. I’m healthy and have an active, productive life and for you to babble about how bad it is just ridiculous. If you don’t like it and you’re not on it, be thankful you didn’t need it. Leave other people to what THEY need to get through their very own unique struggles. Grow up and have some empathy.

          • Martine

            None of which changes the fact that Methadone has such horrific side effects, that to many people staying clean at that price would not be worth it. I was fooled into thinking it was a safe drug because I had read and heard that it was. Nothing is further from the truth. It shortens your life, it messes with your health, and it makes you obese. If all that is worth it to you, fine; but people should be warned. I should have been warned. Don’t put personal attacks and evaluations into it. I see no reason to think that “Imposter” is very young. I doubt you think he is. You are simply trying to discredit him, because you want to make people believe Methadone is safe for whatever reason.

          • Draz J Ekiel

            Whether methadone makes you fat or rots your teeth is very dependant on where you live and how your government regulates and dispenses the methadone. Methadone itself doesn’t rot your teeth, however many governments advise that methadone is prescribed as drinkable syrup which contains a lot of sugar, how much will again depend on where you live and how much methdone you require, and how rapidly you can handle reduction.

            For example: https://www.drugs.com/uk/methadone-linctus-bp-spc-11413.html

            Is methadone linctus, its 2ml of methdone in every 5ml of syrup. There are between 7 – 9 grams of sugar in every 10ml of methdone linctus. In the UK this strength is bright yellow and is very thick and viscous.

            Methadone mixture is bright green, and is 1ml methadone, in 1ml of Mixture. This comes in two forms. Firstly the most common one contains sugar, nowhere near as much as the methadone linctus, but its still a lot, (several grams per 10ml) The second form it comes in is sugar free, which taste very watery in comparison. This is almost exclusively prescribed for diabetics, there are exceptions, The reason being the sugar is added is to it, and why most people are prescribed the sugared version is to try and stop people from injecting it.

            Methadone mixture1mg/1ml
            https://www.drugs.com/uk/methadone-mixture-1mg-ml-leaflet.html

            Then there is other preperations of Methadone mixture that are only prescribed to long term patients with very high tolerances. These contain no sugar and are exceptionally strong. There is the Blue Methadone, which is 5mg/1ml (So 5x stronger than green), then there is Red methadone which is 10mg/1ml, (10 times stronger than green). and lastly 20mg/1ml methadone concentrate (20x stronger than green). This is mostly used by chemists/pharmacys to water down and make up their methadone mixture for patients, especially in clinics where they water their patients meds slightly every few weeks so the patient takes the same amount of ‘medicine’, but the active ingredient(methadone) is reduced slowly. This is used for people who have a psycological problem reducing off the last little bit. (This is all done with patient consent) What normally happens is if a patient has tried many times to get off of methadone, but always struggles on the last few ml, they agree to be put back up to a dose they were stable at, then after a month or so their methadone will be reduced 1ml every few weeks, but they will still drink the same amount of fluid. Until one day the dose they take is just green water and linctus mixture. Then at their next appointment they are told their are clean.

            Then there is methadone amps, which are for injection, again these come in several different strengths. 1mg/1ml (The weakest), often used in conjuction with oral methadone to help patients break their needle addiction. They come in several sizes with 1ml, 3.5ml, 5ml and 10ml sizes being common. Often under the name Physeptone, .
            They also come in 5mg/1ml, 10mg/1ml , 25mg/1ml, and 50mg/1ml strengths,
            Methadone also comes in tablet form of various strengths again often under the name physeptone.

            So as you see, methadone itself DOESNT rot teeth, however the linctus/mixture its often dispensed in will if you dont brush your teeth straight after taking it. The same is true for the weight gain, any weight gain from methadone itslef is negligable, but if you’re on linctus, or sugared mixture, then you will likley gain a lot of weight if you’re on a high dose.

            EDIT: I should also add, that the colour of methadone, it’s strengths, the forms it comes in and how its administered will vary from country to country.

          • Martine

            EXACTLY.

          • imposter

            Pfff im never touching an opiate again. Im not gunna be the one who does or the one who stays on maintenance for the rest of their loves. Im rare as fuck im just getting off of opiates its a shitty drug

          • Martine

            Relapse is better then Colon Cancer, better then needing hormone replacement therapy. Believe me when I say that being addicted to drugs is not the worst health problem you can have, and Methadone can give you many. How do you think the constipation affects your health? How do you think gaining twenty pounds affects your health? Not to mention your quality of life. No one is arguing that it helps people stop using drugs. But it is not any healthier then Heroin. It is just legal, so you will never run out, and never get in trouble with the law. Those things are good, but then legalizing Heroin would be better. This is just a government run program that hands out a drug ten times worse then Heroin, and you are dependent on the government instead of your dealer.

        • shawn segler

          Ok, you aren’t ignorant. You’re stupid and probably just a kid. Methadone is a straight lifesaver and after 7 years I’m as healthy as I’ve ever been and more functional than I’ve ever been. You don’t know what you’re talking about so why don’t you STFU.

          • imposter

            Actually my iq is above average. Hows your sex drive there buddy? Hows it feel you wont live another day on this earth without a sedative clouding your thoughts? Dont tell me whats up and wats down man. Just take it easy….look foward to your next dose.

          • shawn segler

            Yeah, your grasp of spelling and grammar and what you say really back up your “gargantuan IQ”. My thoughts are fine my sex drive is fine (ask your mom!). You don’t know what you’re talking about kid. Go read a book or kiss a girl or do something that isn’t posting about things you know jack shit about on the internet. You’ll be happier for it. On that note, I’m going to get my dose right now and I’m just fine with that. Have a nice day.

          • Martine

            There isn’t a thing wrong with his writing. Yours is more suspect. ex; “grasp of spelling” is a very awkward phrase. He never said his IQ was gargantuan. He said it was above average, and I don’t doubt it. As you have no been able to disprove anything he has said, it makes perfect sense that you would stoop to personal attacks.

          • Methadone Saves Lives

            Your IQ is above average. That’s hilarious. Folks who are genuinely genius or high intelligence never state that… That alone is proof you have average intelligence at best..

          • Britany Newman

            I agree with you 100 percent! My fiance has been on it TWO weeks and I already see a huuuuge change in him. Won’t be long before he’s back on the dope.

          • Cheryl

            What it is you actually agree on Britany? You say your fiance has been on Methadone for two weeks and you already see a huge change in him, but what changes do you see that cause you to think he will be back on dope so soon? Care to elaborate.

            Just as with any medication or treatment, change may not be seen right away. Doesn’t sound like you have any real hope for your fiance.

            Has your fiance been on Methadone before and what do you do to support him when he is trying to get off the opiates? What do you feel is the best option for him in terms of recovery?

            It takes most addicts more than once, usually many times, before they are able to stop using their drug of choice. Have you spent much time yourself looking into methadone treatment?

            Maybe your fiance will do just fine and maybe he won’t, but that is the same for people who go to AA/NA meetings or try to go “cold turkey.”

            Anyone with drug dependency/addiction should have more than one choice in terms of treatment.
            Britany, what treatment option do you feel is best for him and why. Doesn’t sound like you have much faith in your man, but you are going to marry him.
            And don’t get me wrong, many addicts in recovery go on to lead very successful lives having a wife/husband/partner, children, good jobs, and their own home, and so much more.
            No matter what type of treatment you choose, anyone can relapse.

            If you care to share a bit more, maybe it would be easier to understand why you have such little faith in your man and why you think he is going to go back to using.

          • Martine

            Why are you so angry when he is only telling you the facts? I have my own experience to work from, so its not a question of knowing the medical facts. It leeched the Testosterone from my body. I was lucky I quit it when I did. In fact, the councilors did everything they could to keep me from quitting.

          • Methadone Saves Lives

            You can’t educate people who are ignorant. They are bitter and unhappy. Your energy is better focused on those who desire facts and knowledge! 🙂

        • Henrik Landvik

          I agree. I was 3 years on methadone and had to quit because due to the lowered testosterone my bones lost the flexibility and got cracky, i would wake up in the morning with a couple of ribs almost broken, just from turning around in my sleep. And then there’s the enormous sweating, overweight etc etc. Been an opiate addict 12 years and i absolutely agree with you, you know what you’re talking about. Methadone is not much different than heroin, has longer half-life so the ‘euphoria’ comes in bigger waves, and takes ages to withdraw from. I will look up gabapantin, going now for my sixth wd and it really scares me as the symptoms get worse each time. Thanks for the advice!

          • shawn segler

            oh look, he replied to himself with another account so he could agree with himself. How cute. Yeah, buddy you keep trying to tell people you know what you’re talking about. 🙁 What a tool…

          • Cheryl

            The fact that methadone causes problems in the bones is complete nonsense and is not based on any medical fact. It’s the same misinformation that addicts get when they are told to stick an ice cube up someone’s ass to wake them up from an overdose. There is just no medical or proven evidence that methadone causes bone loss or tooth decay. Lowered testosterone can be due to age and many other medical and physiological factors. If you are on your sixth withdrawal from methadone, then maybe you should try another type of medical assisted treatment. You obviously keep going back to methadone for a reason, which I assume is because you are going back to using. And methadone is much different that heroin. The euphoria you are talking about that comes in bigger waves doesn’t sound like methadone or you are taking it in extreme doses. Yes, the withdrawal from methadone can be longer than that of heroin because it is a longer acting drug and the withdrawals don’t usually start until 24 to 48 hours after your last dose.

            If you decide to get off methadone, decreasing your dose over over an extended period of time, which is what would be best for anyone coming off of any opiate, even someone on pain medication.

            Premature babies who are withdrawn from morphine after being on a breathing tube for extended periods are weaned off over a long period to avoid withdrawals. Weaning off of methadone can decrease withdrawals almost completely if done slowly. The problem is that most of us who opiates want that quick fix.

            I look at it this way. You say you were an opiate addict for 12 years and it obviously didn’t happen overnight, so how can you expect to just come off of methadone without any withdrawals. Coming off of heroin or other opiates causes withdrawals as well and many addicts coming off of heroin will experience PAWS (Post-acute-withdrawal syndrome) just as they do coming off of methadone going cold turkey.

            My suggestion is to try giving methadone a try, but to get to a dose where you feel comfortable, without any cravings, but not over medicated, and stay there for a while. When you feel ready to get off or have not used other opiates for a while, start to slowly decrease your dose. Blind dosing, which is having a counselor or doctor at the clinic drop your dose on a schedule they set, without you knowing the dose and when you will drop in your dose, can be quite effective for those who have been on methadone many times before.

            By giving information that is not true, like brittle bones from methadone, is only perpetuating the myths and stigma of methadone even more. If methadone works for so many people and they are able to get their lives together and get off heroin or prescription opiates, why would you want to dissuade others from its use. If it did not work for you, that is OK and that is your choice, but it does work for so many. The problem we don’t here about how well it works is because no one cares to hear about the success of methadone treatment. It’s the one size fits all, AA, kind of treatment we only hear about and the success rates for that kind of treatment don’t have a higher success rate if you know the statistics. I wonder if that type inpatient rehab or AA/NA has worked for you in the past? In the 12 years of using heroin/opiates did you ever try AA/NA/inpatient rehab? If you have, was it successful.

            I just don’t understand why you and others have to be so judgemental and post information that just isn’t true. Would you be telling others that AA or NA was a joke and to avoid meetings?

            If it works for others and you don’t want to be on it anymore than that is a choice you must make for yourself. I have a great deal of nursing and medical knowledge. I have never once seen a study written by any doctor or medical professional that ever stated that methadone caused brittle bones or bone loss. I will say it again, it is a myth and if you have problems with bone loss, did you ever consider that from the 12 years of opiate use, you just didn’t follow a good diet, get enough exercise, take calcium supplements, and just take overall good care of yourself that may have made it feel like you hurt all over.

            I am not trying to argue with you, but I see the good methadone does all the time for so many people who are able to get jobs, go to school, and be successful in life after many failed attempts at other types of treatment for addiction. They have succeeded when all other types of treatment failed them. Not everyone is able to just stop, as you know being on methadone six times and 12 years of opiate use.

            Why can’t you just be happy for those that find it successful and want to continue it as their choice for treatment?

      • Martine

        He is correct, they lower Testosterone, and cause a lot of damage. Don’t believe the nonsense Methadone workers tell you. Why do you think people gain over 80 pounds in a matter of months? Why do you think they loose their hair? I was on it for three years, and everyone at the clinic had the same problems. Weight gain, brittle hair, rotting teeth, even while councilors maintained that none of it happened. Not a single patient in the clinic escaped the side effects. Being constipated for three years on its own is not OK for your body.

        • Draz J Ekiel

          You only get badly constipated if you don’t drink enough fluids, don’t eat enough fibre and take to much methadone. Mild constipation will occur from methadone and other opiates for sure, but that’s easily countered with proper diet and fluid intake for most people, especially if you actually wait a full 24 hours between doses. As generally patients will need the toilet when their last dose is starting to wear off, if however you take your next dose before going to loo, there is a good chance you wont be able to go that day if your diet and fluid intake is bad.

          If you live on pizza, french frys and eat a lot of bread, or eggs then you will suffer, yes. See my other post to answer your question on weight gain.

  • imposter

    Fuck bupe and methadone. Ketamine during the day and benzos and gabapentin at night you will succeed.

  • imposter

    Gabapentin. If you take it right the withdrawals get turned off. First you have to obtain gabapentin…..a doctor will give it to you if you ask for it to take care of your restless leg syndrome. Once you get the gabapentin.. if its the 300mg capsules take 1 every 15 minutes. The reason for this is because the stomach doesnt absorb hardly any of the gabapentin. So staggering the doses gives your stomach time to do its thing. Aleve or naproxen is a potentiator for gabapentin it raises the absorption level of gabapentin by i think atleast 15%. After taking about 4-5 pills ( 1 every 15-20mins)and some aleve….eat something thats really fucking fatty. Fatty foods help your stomach absorb the gabapentin just like the aleve does……

    Than in about 2 hours you will be withdrawal free with hypnotic effects as well as anxiety reduction…. for 24 hours.

    Fuck suboxone and methadone ?

    • Cheryl

      Wow, what great advice. Are you a licensed physician or pharmacologist?

      And Gabapentin is not the only drug used for restless leg syndrome. In fact there are many drugs used to treat restless leg syndrome. Opiates are actually used to treat restless leg syndrome(RLS)

      Sounds like you are a real expert or an idiot.

      For someone to take 4-5, 300 mg tablets or capsules of Gabapentin over a 1 to 2 hour period can be quite dangerous and cause dizziness, vertigo, loss of balance, blurred vision, and altered mental functioning, especially in someone who has never taken the drug before.

      I certainly cannot speak for your doctor, but most doctors start patients on a lower dose and increase it over time. And there is no evidence that Naproxen or Aleve potentiates Gabapentin at the levels you are talking about. Naproxen can potentiate the absorption of Gabapentin, but only at far less levels than you described, which means that Naproxen would only potentiate the level of Gabapentin at doses that were well below the therapeutic doses for each drug. If you don’t understand what that means, the doses of both drugs were far below what anyone would take or be prescribed in a clinical setting by their doctor. You really should read up and get your facts straight before you post.

      The kind of information you post is dangerous and unnecessary.

      • imposter

        Couldnt get passed the first two sentences. I could tell your in bitch mode so maybe delete it and retype it when your done bleeding? Out of….wherever

        • Cheryl

          A misogynist. Now I get it!
          I don’t really care what you have to say. Sure, I get upset when I see misinformation and facts that are not supported by fact or scientific evidence, but that is part of my job as someone who works in healthcare.
          I really wish the best for you guy. If you never pick up another opiate in your life, you will be lucky, but we get older and accidents and other incidents happen in our lives.
          There is certainly nothing wrong with wanting to choose your own path and as I said, applause to you if you live opiate free, but I will make sure that others are not given dangerous information that may cause them harm.
          Good luck to you.

          • Maurice Dutton

            You handled this very well. You ignored the most deliberate attempt on your person and returned to the topic. You write well and thinking people will vote for someone who does not respond to what is basically trolling and keeps on topic. Cheers

          • Cheryl

            Thank you Maurice. It is easy to get caught up in the negative and I did, but once I realize what I was doing, got back to the topic at hand. I appreciate the vote of confidence. Take care!

        • Steve Bazemore

          Perhaps you did get passed the first two and refuse to respond Bc you’re full of shit and can’t refute facts. Moron.

  • terrynewton

    Sad that people can hide behind fake names and rail on each other as uncivilly as many of the posts written here. There are many paths to recovery and the stigma of addiction is as strong as the stigma of the many varying paths to get there. What works for one, may not work for someone else. There is NO RIGHT OR WRONG DOOR to recovery. Attacking each other on their intellect, claiming that you’re right and the other person is wrong is exactly what we expect from those around us. If we all either work with addiction, are an addict or, are recovering from addiction then maybe we need to realize that attacking each other sure isn’t changing the other person’s mind about what course they are on, has not endeared someone to your position and only creates defensiveness and hostility. All of us are on a journey that is as unique and individual as the fingerprints we all have.

    While I am not overly fond of long-term suboxone use but, its only been from years of witnessing weight gain, angioedema, sleep disorders, etc. that has made me somewhat jaded to a drug that I thought was a miracle cure when it first came out. After years of working with unscrupulous doctors and seeing the profitability and how many will protect that has turned me sour to the cure. I also don’t think there are enough longitudinal studies to show what the long term effects are from the use of Suboxone.

    The use of Methadone is more appropriate for people who were on very high dosages of opiates and Suboxone would push that kind of person in to hard core withdrawals, which they would never be able to tolerate.

    I agree there is a change in brain chemistry from long-term opiate use and Methadone or Buprenorphine are necessary stabilizing agents for some on the pathway to recovery. Some may have been altered long enough that they may be on opiate replacement therapy for a very long time.

    My other qualm is that many physicians who have went through the short course to learn how to induct Suboxone therapy have not been trained in getting people off of the drug. Since Reckitt Benckiser has never gone below the 2 mg point in their drug, they know that jumping off from this amount is near impossible and will most likely cause relapse. This creates a near impossible situation of getting off of Suboxone. Subutex is easier to use for compounding and lowering the dose but many states and insurance companies do not include Subutex in their formulary, making it cost prohibitive. If you do wish to get off of the drug seek knowledge. Some of what you read out there is scary, outright dangerous and ludicrous. The best that I have read is from a physician who is brutally forthright in his assessment of the problem and his solution. Nothing worth having comes without some kind of a fight. Here is his link: http://www.pbod.org/detoxing-suboxone-fear-caused-lack-knowledge/
    For a disclaimer, I wish he would have divulged this information independent of the agency he works for as I am not always trustful of the treatment industries motives either. But after reading through his entire article I firmly believe he knows what he is talking about.

    Unfortunately we have to be our own advocates and determine what is best for us as, relying on a pharmaceutical company to be ethical is like trusting a politician.

    Reckitt Benckiser is a pharmaceutical company and why would they make a drug that is easy to get off of. If anyone here has researched the company as I have you would run the other way in spite of whether the drug was helping you or not. They worked diligently to stop the manufacture of any generic companies, when the patent was expiring, thereby increasing their monopoly and extreme profit associated with the sales of Suboxone. A 1 Billion dollar per year profit is a lot of incentive to keep the money flowing in their coffers.

    Another example is the company that started this opiate crisis to begin with, Purdue Pharma, the manufacturer of Oxy-Contin. They falsified their data and convinced the FDA that their drug was safe because of the time released formula and this would make addiction next to impossible for individuals. Then, pharmaceutical representatives went out nationwide to explain to physicians that the low abuse potential made it suitable for any kind of pain. This made the Sackler family worth $14 billion dollars and the company was only fined $600 million dollars and only a few executives were tried. No one has ever went to prison from their company. By the time they made the drug abuse resistant, 10 years after the start of sales, it fueled the worst opioid crisis this country has ever seen. The epidemic is so large now that it would be equal to a 747 crashing every other day, which would definitely get our federal governments involvement with that kind of a safety record. Only now is the federal government getting involved in any kind of meaningful legislation to help solve the problem. Especially in something more than the punitive methods that occurred when they could get away with racial profiling, thereby fueling the largest prison expansion program our country has ever been seen. We have become the most incarcerated country in the entire world and it has largely been fueled by The War on Drugs. If you are interested in any of that debacle, here’s an interesting article: http://theinfluence.org/how-ronald-reagans-drug-war-fueled-americans-addiction-to-racist-ideas/
    We’ve been targeting minorities and their drugs of abuse since the Chinese and opium dens in the latter 1800’s

    Prior to the Harrison Narcotic Act being passed in 1914 some of the most affluent in our society were addicted to opiates. Laudanum, Bayer Drug sold over the counter Heroin at the time, and many mixtures contained opiates as a medicinal remedy.

    For another enlightening disturbing report on Big Pharma, look up Johnson & Johnson, long thought to be a family friendly company that makes Baby Powder and truly cares about you. Look up Resperidal, a drug initially approved as an anti-psychotic with limited use. At the heart of the investigation were claims that the company used
    aggressive marketing to get doctors to prescribe Risperdal to elderly
    dementia patients and children with disabilities. In particular, state
    and federal attorney generals alleged that Johnson & Johnson
    promoted Risperdal for pediatric use as early as 1994 despite not
    receiving approval for any Risperdal childhood use until 2006. They also
    claimed the company specifically disregarded FDA warnings not to
    promote the antipsychotic for childhood use. The most horrible case to date was a severely autistic boy who was placed on Resperidal and grew breasts so large that he required a mastectomy. The settlement involving states who sued J&J for fraud is the largest on record. There are still many cases that have yet to go to trial and many are being settled out of court as the company does not wish the general public to learn how bad their marketing actually was to promote these disastrous results.

    Like I said earlier, we all have to be our own advocates for recovery and develop our own pathway to it.

    As for myself, I got sober in May of 1977 right after I discharged from the military. I was in the field of treating addictions for 38 years and worked solely in the non-profit sector and would only work for programs I considered ethical in how they treated people. I am an expert by no means and consider myself on the journey as well.

    Mellow out people. There are no gurus and we are all seeking knowledge and solutions. Be aware that there are many charlatans out there and do your homework. We all took varying paths to our addictions and will seek many paths to recovery.

    • Cheryl

      Thanks for posting this. Attacking others is just not cool and I for one am just as guilty.

      As a nurse/harm reduction advocate, I want to make sure everyone gets good information.

      Unfortunately, I have witnessed the harm that has come to many people who do not use good judgment and take the advice of others online to help with withdrawals or detoxing.

      That is one thing I guess I just have trouble tolerating. Working in the ER and in harm reduction, I have talked/cared for many people who shared they were just following the advice they found online. Most were OK after medical intervention and some were not as lucky

      I think my own experiences with the healthcare system has put me on edge as well and causes me to strike out. It does get ugly when discussing this issue, but you are right, it does not need to.

      I have been facing some serious health problems and being on methadone has been the one constant obstacle.

      I won’t be forced to lie about being on methadone in order to get medical care.

      The stigma attached to methadone maintenance and the misinformation out there is prevalent among healthcare providers.
      Sometimes we need a reminder to focus on what is truly important and your post does just that.
      Agreed that there are many paths to recovery.

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  • Martine

    Because Methadone is a terrible drug. It makes you gain weight, become constipated, makes your hair brittle, and often leads to Testosterone loss. What i don’t understand is why people keep on lying about the side effects. Staying on Heroin would be healthier if it was legal. There is nothing good about it.

    • Cheryl

      Well, Martine…You certainly have a choice to go back to using heroin.

      I have been on methadone for 11 years and have never gained weight. I went on methadone at around 115-120 pounds and now weigh 112 lbs. I eat a good balanced diet, drink lots of water, and take a stool softener each day. I exercise about 5 times a week and I am certainly healthier than I was over a decade ago.

      Do you engage in any daily exercise? Do you take stool softeners eat fruits and vegetables, and increase your water intake? What about a good multivitamin? Have you been to a doctor and had blood work to check if you are deficient in Vitamin D, B12, or other necessary vitamins and minerals? There is no clinical or medical evidence that methadone leads to brittle hair, brittle bones, or causes tooth decay. What causes tooth decay is dry mouth and medications such as Benadryl can cause dry mouth. Good oral hygiene is important whether on methadone or not. When you were using heroin, did you brush and floss a few times a day?

      Yes, weight gain can happen while on methadone, but it is most often caused by lifestyle changes and when people stop using illicit substances such as heroin, hormonal changes are the likely to happen and that can be the cause for weight gain.

      The best advice I can give to anyone as a nurse is to get informed about any drug you take.

      Whether it is an antidepressant, heart medication, or methadone you should get the facts and not only rely on blogs and yahoo for answers. There is a lot of good information about methadone out there and how it works.

      Sadly, it sounds like you don’t want to do much to help improve the other areas of your life.

      It’s certainly easier to blame it on a drug than to take control of all areas of your life and manage them as best as you can.

      • Draz J Ekiel

        Well done Cheryl. It’s nice to see a patient that has managed to turn their life around. As you say, eating a good diet and drinking plenty of fluids will really help with the constipation issues. The weight gain from methadone is normaly a side effect of the amount of sugar used in the preperations that some nations use.. 7-9grams of sugar, 1ml of methadone in every 10ml of mixture is common in some places.

  • Methadone Saves Lives

    Let’s talk about how steppers are usually lonely and miserable fools begging to fit in and be accepted. A bunch of followers with no mind of their own. Half were only abusers or users, never addicts, that’s why they quit with no treatment, no counseling and no medication. Shoot heroin for 10 years and you need more than a group miserable nobodies and prayer to a door knob to change your life 🙂

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  • jkendi

    I know of someone who was not addicted, yet started going to a methadone clinic. Why would they do that?

    • Anna

      Methadone clinics suck that’s why I refused to go and have a private doctor!clinics over medicate and make sure you are dependent on it for the money! If this person wasn’t addicted and got in a clinic setting they are now😓

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  • Joseph Martin

    Who are you Miss Chels? Great article! Should be in the Times. I’m not joking.. I’m currently doing MMT and it’s saved me. No doubt quitting will suck, but the point is to gradually tapper yourself off. Like 5mg a month. Ppl who say the withdrawal is the worst quit cold turkey ar high doses without tapering down. Don’t get me wrong, like you said, it’s got a long half life so it’s tough… But a 5mg/day methadone dose withdrawal is hardly equal to a 120-160mg oxycotin habit.

    I found this looking for info about why methadone is not prescribed for Chronic pain often. Any thoughts? You have the regulations and stigma as you said, but I don’t know. Has the patent run out and since it’s so cheap is it more profitable for big pharma to push “name brands” like opana? (Not that doctors willingly do thus, but when the Eli Lilly pay colleges to push thier agendas thru curriculum, it’s hard to tell these days)

    Anyway, methadone has been a life saver for me. I still get stung by the stigma here and there and it makes me question my choice, but I made the right choice for me. Hell, like you, I believed the same stigmas before trying it.

    TL;DR – KEEP WRITING YOU SEXY BEAST!

  • Anna

    I was hurt in an accident many years ago and got sent to a pain doctor who had me on massive doses or Lortabs!! It destroyed everything when my case settled in court for my wreck the doctor wouldn’t keep me as private pay and I was screwed especially when Lortab became s schedule 2 drug and the DEA highly regulated it. I began buying on the street and had a $700 a week habit and I had enough and went to a Suboxone program. I wish I had known then what I know now! Low and behold I got in yet another wreck and have the same lawyer but a different doctor this time only instead I got off Suboxone cause it wasn’t helping my pain and I hit a ceiling effect with it as well and the naxolone was causing horrible headaches and other side effects as well! After I put the subs down and was strictly on Percoset I had sweats for a month coming off the subs and the fatigue lasted months! I’d rather go through the seven day opiate itch than go through that again and I can’t imagine what it’s like without backup!! At least I had the percoset! But my tolerance for too high too fast and finally I had enough and came clean with my pain doctor about my addiction. He was upset and dissappointed in me that I wasn’t upfront and he cut me off all my meds for two days but he was in constant contact with me and that’s when he suggested methadone maintenance. I told him I was scared of methadone and I didnt want to got through a clinic setting because they dose too high and it’s all about money not recovery! He told me he would provide my methadone in return for me walking the straight and narrow and being honest and he said with my legitimate pain issues methadone is the way to go! I tried it and it’s the way to go for me! I’m on 15 mg a day! I don’t hurt at all I feel good and way better than I have ever felt in years on those short acting opiates! Subs weren’t for me and I have three small children so I had to find a way and Methadone has given me hope! THe key is in your provider! Find a private doctor trust me!!its less expensive and stay away from liquid doses at clinics! The one here over medicates you and it’s called liquid handcuffs for a reason I promise you!! I’m on a pill dose and I’m responsible and I don’t constantly think about how my pills aren’t working anymore and how I was taking too many and the acetaminophen was making me sick and hurting my kidneys! Do your research and get a private provider and be honest!! Don’t count Merhadone out! It’s the best decision and it has saved my family!! If anyone reading this is considering Methadone as an option it’s worth it! Good luck!! There’s a way out of opiate dependency!

    • Cheryl

      Congratulations on your success with methadone. Your experience with methadone is unique, especially today.

      Finding a private physician to prescribe methadone maintenance to someone for addiction and chronic pain is going to be an obstacle for most addicts, especially those with chronic pain. You were lucky to find someone compassionate enough to help treat your pain and addiction. It is not that way for most.
      Methadone clinics or other facilities that provide methadone maintenance are usually the only option someone has if methadone is their choice for opiate addiction and recovery.
      By learning to avoid such statements as, “liquid handcuffs,” we can help to decrease the stigma associated with methadone and the clinics that dispense methadone. And whether it is in liquid form, wafers, or pills, the key to success on methadone maintenance is taking your dose daily, avoiding other forms of opiates, counseling, support from family and friends, and avoiding triggers (old hang-outs, people that are using.)
      While your experience at a clinic with methadone may not have been positive, for most, the experience helps to change their lives.
      I don’t want to see someone discouraged from finding help at a clinic because they read it is too expensive, they will be over medicated, and stuck to a clinic forever (liquid handcuffs)

      Methadone remains one of the best treatments for opiate addiction, apart from abstinence, so we must remain vigilant in trying to end the stigma and help others find the same hope you and I both did.

      I myself have found the clinic to be a great experience. $200 a month for treatment is a far cry from what I might have spent on heroin in a month, not to mention with clean UA’s now for many years, I only go in twice a month to pick up my doses.

      Methadone saved my life!

  • Jessica

    THIS ARTICLE IS ALL LIES! !!! I AM ON METHADONE AND IT IS WORSE THAN HEROIN BECAUSE YOU CAN NEVER GET OFF AND YOU ARE TORTURED ON IT EVERYDAY BY IT’S SIDE EFFECTS…HEART PROBLEMS, SEIZURES, AND MANY MANY OTHERS…DOCTORS WON’T ALLOW YOU TO COME OFF OF IT. IT IS THE BIGGEST CONSPIRACY OF ALL TIME….SHHHHH!!!! RESEARCH FOR YOURSELF. …IT EAS CREATED BY AND HAS BEEN MANUFACTURED BY THE ROTHSCHILDS! !!! NOW DID HITLER EVER MAKE ANYTHING THAT HELPED ANYONE? ??? NOOOO….II WAS PROMISED THAT THIS DRUG WOULD SAVE MY LIFE!!!—I AM DYING SLOWLY EACH DAY AND NOONE CARES!!!