Methadone is a drug-replacement treatment method used to reduce the withdrawal symptoms and cravings associated with opioid addiction. Methadone treatment is a short-term solution and can be impede upon the potential for recovery.
In order to shed light on the possible negative outcomes of methadone treatment, we interviewed a man named Jacob F. who was on methadone for over 8 months. This is his experience:
Why were you on Methadone? Did someone prescribe the treatment?
I chose to put myself on methadone based on the recommendation of another heroin addict. He recommended that I go to a methadone clinic. My intention was not to to quit using heroin but to maintain my addiction. The half-life of methadone is pretty long, I would get my dose in the morning when they first opened and use heroin and other drugs in the late afternoon. Methadone helped me to not experience withdrawal symptoms. My goal was to not feel dope sick, methadone helped with this. I was abusing heroin, Xanax and meth at the time. No doctor prescribed the treatment, I just walked into a clinic and they did the assessment there.
What was the assessment process like?
I spent about 20 minutes speaking with a doctor at the clinic. They did a urine drug test to check my opiate levels to determine what dose of methadone to give me. If they detected benzodiazepines they would try to taper the methadone dose so I would drink a lot of water before drug tests so I could continue getting a higher dose.
What was the original treatment plan?
I can’t remember exactly how long they recommended I stay on methadone. I know the plan was not for me to be on it as long as I was. I kept using other drugs so I kept taking methadone. I ended up being on methadone for over 8 months. If I couldn’t get it at the clinic I could easily buy it on the streets. The only reason I stopped taking it was because I was arrested.
At the time of your arrest, did you experience withdrawal symptoms from methadone?
Yes. The withdrawal symptoms I experienced from methadone were worse than from any other drug. The first two weeks were the worst. I was nauseous, had bone aches, poor circulation, sweating, felt agitated and couldn’t sleep. The withdrawal symptoms lasted over a month. I actually had a seizure while I was in jail, this may be due to me abusing Xanax at the time but the methadone didn’t help.
What was your experience like at the methadone clinic?
I felt like I was going to a drug dealer. I would wake up and get to clinic when they first opened, around 7:00 AM. I would wait for about an hour before getting my daily dose. It felt gratifying when I finally got the dose. I went every day. I met a lot of other addicts there. I began hanging out with some of the people I met there, using with them.
What were the positive outcomes for being on methadone?
The only positives are for someone who wants to stay active in their using. I was able to manage a baseline to stay well. I guess one positive outcome is that it let me to by bottom more quickly.
Looking back, do you think methadone is good form of opiate addiction treatment?
No. It just contributed to my addiction. Other than that, I don’t see any positives to being on methadone. It supplemented one drug for another. I will still able to use drugs while on it, it just helped me to control my withdrawal symptoms and maintain my addiction. The 8 months I was on methadone was one of the darkest times of my life. Getting to the clinic in the morning to get my dose and using in the afternoon were my only goals. I would not recommend methadone as a good treatment for opiate addiction. I now have 17 months sober and couldn’t be more grateful to be off of methadone and the other drugs I was abusing.
Methadone treatment has the possibility to help opiate addiction but there is also a potential for great harm. While methadone is recommended as a short-term treatment, addicts often remain on the drug for long periods of time. In order to achieve long-term recovery, feeding into another form of addiction hinders the recovery process. If you or someone you know needs help from opiate addiction or needs help getting off of methadone, do not hesitate to contact us at (888)357-7577.