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Methadone Addiction Facts

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Methadone is a synthetic narcotic that has been a helpful medication for many people who needed to quit dangerous opiate drugs. However, Methadone itself is still an opiate, though it has been deemed safer than heroin and other narcotic (opiate) drugs.

Unfortunately, many people who have struggled to quit using illegal narcotics have found themselves addicted to methadone. Methadone has been used for many years to stabilize people with opioid addictions, but it is not usually the final medication used to help them get completely clean and sober. Methadone addiction has become a problem of its own.

“To someone who may be currently struggling,” writes Ivana G. of Heroes In Recovery,I would say to just keep putting one foot in front of the other and be patient and gentle with yourself and give the process time. Surround yourself with people who love you, believe in you, and see you living the most incredible life that you could never imagine but will someday wake up living.”

How Methadone Works

Man taking methadoneMethadone is one of the longer-lasting narcotic drugs, and often takes over twenty hours to leave the body once it has been taken. Because each person’s body metabolizes methadone at different rates, it can be difficult to tell what kind of use can lead to addiction or even overdose. The noticeable effects can wear off long before the drug is out of a person’s system, making excessive use or combining this drug with other opioids very risky. The same amount of methadone could be ineffective for one person and dangerously high for another.1

Risks of Methadone Dependence

This long period of effectiveness can be helpful when it is used properly for drug detox. However, it can be very challenging when someone is dependent on methadone and going through withdrawal symptoms. Many people going through methadone withdrawal have to be patient and enlist the help of a safe and supportive detox program. They should prepare for an opiate detox process that may last weeks or even months.

While methadone may help reduce cravings for heroin and other dangerous narcotics, it still leaves the individual dependent on an opiate drug. It often takes other newer narcotic detox medications to help a person become completely free of all opiate drugs. Despite this, methadone use can keep addicted people safer and out of the justice system as they begin recovery.

Quick Methadone Addiction Facts

Still not sure you know enough about methadone addiction? Check out these other quick facts about methadone addiction.

  • Deaths from opioids (including semisynthetic opioids, natural opioids, and methadone) have increased more than 300% in the last 20 years.2
  • Methadone is responsible for nearly one in four opioid-related deaths.2
  • Methadone can be prescribed for pain relief by any physician. But it can only be prescribed for addiction treatment by doctors through specialty methadone clinics.
  • Methadone is only effective as a treatment for opiate addictions. It does not help with addictions to other drugs such as meth or cocaine.

It’s tough to find clear numbers on how many people are addicted to methadone today. Thousands of people usemethadone clinics each year, but this does not clarify who might be addicted to the drug. Also, the number of people obtaining methadone through illegal means is unknown.

Methadone Rehab Treatment

Even though methadone is often used to treat heroin addiction, some people need treatment for their methadone addiction. As with any other addictive drug, it isn’t enough just to go through detox. Full drug treatment for methadone addiction helps a person create a sober lifestyle based on having no opiate drugs at all.

One quick call can connect you and your family to more information about methadone addiction recovery and help you kick opiates out of your life for good. Find out how our evidence-based treatment services can make a difference in your life today.


1 SAMHSA. Methadone. 28 Sept 2015.

2 Faul M., Bohm M., Alexander C. Methadone Prescribing and Overdose and the Association with Medicaid Preferred Drug List Policies — United States, 2007–2014. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.