Opioids are in the news.

From the news conferences to talk shows to television dramas, opioids and the people affected by them are getting a lot of exposure. Methadone abuse is costing lives and money. It’s taking a toll on American society. It cannot be ignored anymore.

But beyond the hype and drama, we need to understand exactly what is “methadone abuse” and the drugs that cause it. According to Drugs.com, Methadone is:

an opioid medication. An opioid is sometimes called a narcotic.

Methadone reduces withdrawal symptoms in people addicted to heroin or other narcotic drugs without causing the “high” associated with the drug addiction.

Methadone is used as a pain reliever and as part of drug addiction detoxification and maintenance programs. It is available only from a certified pharmacy.

Ironically, methadone is used to relieve people’s addiction to heroin or other narcotics, yet it can actually become an addictive drug, too. 

Using methadone has serious side effects. You should not use methadone if:

  1. you have breathing issues or asthma
  2. you have a blockage in your stomach or intestines
  3. you are pregnant, as it can cause life-threatening withdrawal symptoms in the unborn
  4. you use it with alcohol as it can cause drowsiness or slow breathing

Methadone can also be fatal. It is addictive as it is a pain-reliever for drug addicted individuals. They enjoy the relief from being addicted to heroin or other narcotics, but then become addicted to methadone (opioids) themselves.

It is a vicious cycle.

How then can a methadone user get treatment? Here are Five Things to Know about Methadone Treatment:

  1. Methadone abusers seek treatment to end the need for methadone usage and returning to normal life. Methadone treatment can end the cravings and reduce or end the opioid withdrawal symptoms. Once a methadone abuser begins treatment, they will see their lives change dramatically as long as they follow treatment to the letter.
  2. Methadone treatment provides both intensive outpatient (IOP) and outpatient care (OP). High-risk patients are usually placed in IOP as they are engaged in high-risk activities, have relapsed frequently, and do not have support from family or friends. They must be monitored twenty-four hours a day for severe withdrawal symptoms.
  3. Methadone treatment is usually voluntary. All treatment is voluntary unless you are considered a danger to others or yourself. In that case, methadone users are on a 72-hour hold. Most methadone abusers are admitted by family members or even on their own volition. Opioid abuse can so endanger a person’s life, health, and career, that they admit themselves to treatment.
  4. Methadone treatment (as detailed on drugs.com) involves dissolving a dispersible tablet in four ounces of water, orange juice, or a similar citrus-flavored non-alcoholic beverage. The tablet does not dissolve completely but the person in treatment it has to drink the mixture immediately.
  5. Choose a methadone treatment center that has both inpatient and outpatient services. Make sure that the counselors are licensed and experienced. Their staff and credentials should be listed on their website. (We will explore choosing the right methadone treatment center in a future blog.)

The Concerted Care Group provides methadone treatment. We utilize the “Whole Person, Whole Life” philosophy of substance abuse treatment. It integrates medical, psychological, vocational, economic, and social expertise to literally “wrap around” the patient and the patient’s lifestyle. It doesn’t matter if you have an opioid addiction, heroin addiction, prescription drug addiction, methadone addiction, painkiller addiction, or some other substance abuse addiction. We treat them all and do it under one roof.

Contact our outpatient clinic in Baltimore, Maryland at (410) 617-0142 or email at info@concertedcaregroup.com. We accept patients that same day, too.