Need information? Help is close at hand. Check out our Methadone info below for an in-depth look at this drug.
Commercial and Street Names
Dolophine® , dollies, fizzies, amidone, chocolate chip cookies (ecstasy combined with heroin or methadone).
Description of Methadone
Can be legally prescribed in Canada only by specially authorized doctors. Primarily for the treatment of narcotic addiction but also for chronic pain management. Orally: orange-flavoured solution, tablets.
Effects of Methadone
Can last up to 24 hours, thereby permitting once-a-day oral administration in heroin detoxification and maintenance programs.
Prolonged use results in tolerance and dependence. Withdrawal develops more slowly and less severe but more prolonged than heroin withdrawal. Methadone is abused and can lead to overdose death when combined with other drugs.
For more information visit the Pain Killer Addiction section.
The Challenge of Treating Clients who Prefer to Taper Off Methadone
Clients that are on methadone present a challenge to residential drug and alcohol treatment programs for a number of reasons:
(1) Clients wishing to come off of methadone should first realize that going “cold turkey” is extremely difficult. Typically, the recommended taper for methadone is 5 mg per week. Most inquiries we receive report clients that are on daily dosages over 40 mg so doing the math will tell you that the client will take 8 weeks to taper off completely. Withdrawal symptoms experienced during a methadone taper vary on the individual, but often prevents active participation in group and individual therapy.
(2) Clients that are wanting to go on methadone need to realize that stabilizing on methadone requires enhanced medical monitoring that most treatment centers are not willing to provide due to the amount of time a physician needs to dedicate to the task.
(3) Methadone is an opiate and this poses a philosophical challenge for abstinence-based programs that have a zero-tolerance policy for other opiates such as Oxycontin and heroin. Treatment centers that do not take the time to explain the unique properties of methadone in comparison to other opiates may experience peer group resentment that methadone users are allowed to continue with their drug of choice while they are expected to be abstinent from drugs such as alcohol, heroin or cocaine.
(4) most residential treatment centers do not have a medical detox staffed with medical professionals with a secure area for storing narcotics. Transporting clients to the local pharmacy for their daily dose of methadone poses a logistical challenge.
(5) The final difficulty that methadone presents to residential treatment centers is the requirement that physicians have a special license for prescribing methadone.
At Sunshine Coast Health Center, our current position on methadone is that it does serve some individuals who are unable to maintain abstinence from heroin or other opiates. Our reason for not providing methadone maintenance therapy is due to the demands it places on our medical program (items 1 and 2 above).
If you or a loved one is on methadone and want treatment at Sunshine Coast Health Center, it is necessary to taper down to the last dose of methadone of 5 mg on the morning prior to arrival. Clients wishing to begin methadone maintenance therapy will be referred to other programs.
If you have any questions please contact our Nursing Supervisor toll-free at 1-866-487-9050.
What is Methadone? How do I Access it?
Methadone is also an opioid medication, but it is generally used for opiate/opioid detoxification and harm reduction maintenance programs. Unlike other opiates, Methadone is slow-releasing. It prevents opioid withdrawal symptoms and allows individuals to stabilize and improve their lives (i.e. don’t have to worry about when and where they’ll get their next “fix”). The idea behind Methadone is to start on a higher dose after switching from other opioids and reducing dosage amounts as tolerable until a person no longer needs it to function. Other resources are needed to facilitate full abstinence. A prescription is needed for Methadone and users must ingest the liquid at a pharmacy each time. On rare occasions, some users are permitted to take a small supply of Methadone home.
Starting dosages for Methadone/Methadose are 20-30mg depending on the province and the prescribing physician. This dosage amount is intended to protect patients from overdosing. However, many users report that the starting dosage is not enough, causing a large percentage of users to continue using other opiates/opioids until their dosage is high enough to keep the cravings at bay.
Note: Methadone is BC has been replaced with a new formula called Methadose (10x stronger than methadone). Users have reported heightened withdrawal symptoms with Methadose and, as a result, decreasing quality of life.
Methadone – A Medical Dictionary, Bibliography, and Annotated Research Guide to Internet References (2003) Icon Health Publications
Methadone Maintenance Guidelines (2005) Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
Methadone Maintenance Treatment and Other Opioid Replacement Therapies (1998) is a guide to the use of drug substitution in the treatment of opiate dependence. Provides an up-to-date account of treatment research and practice. Jeff Ward, Richard P. Mattick, Wayne Hall.
Methadone Maintenance Treatment in the U.S.: A Practical Question and Answer Guide (2007) Nancy D. Berkman (Contributor), Wendee J. Wechsberg (Editor), Jennifer J. Kasten (Editor)
Methadone matters: evolving community methadone treatment of opiate addiction (2003) is a multi-authored book, comprising chapters from the best of clinicians, researchers and policymakers. A guide with a goal of increasing the relevance and effectiveness of methadone treatment. Gillian Tober, John Strang.
Methadone Treatment for Opioid Dependence (1999) Eric C. Strain and Maxine L. Stitzer
State Methadone Treatment Guidelines: A Treatment Improvement Protocol
(1994) serve as guidelines for State policy officials and methadone maintenance treatment providers. Presents state-of-the-art in effective therapeutic techniques for methadone maintenance treatment. Mark W. Parrino, Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) Series 1, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
Treatment of Opiate Addiction Using Methadone: A Counselor’s Manual
(1995) was written to facilitate training of new counselors and improve the quality of the counseling component of methadone treatment. Michael J. McCann, Richard A. Rawson, Jeanne L. Obert.
For more information on methadone treatment see the Biological Modalities section .
Federal Regulation of Methadone Treatment (1995) is a study of government standards for narcotic addiction treatment and the regulation of methadone treatment programs pursuant to those standards. Richard A. Rettig, Institute of Medicine (IOM).
Online Resources – Methadone Advocacy Websites
Online Resources – Assessment and Treatment Planning for Methadone Maintenance Therapy
Assessment and Treatment Planning for Cocaine-Abusing Methadone-Maintained Patients (1994) Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) 10. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). DHHS Publication No. 94-3003.
Online Resources – Best Practices and Methadone Maintenance Therapy
Best Practices: Methadone Maintenance Treatment (2002) is intended to help improve the effectiveness of current programs and encourage the establishment of new programs. Health Canada. Cat. H49-164/2002E.
Online Resources – HIV/AIDS Prevention and Methadone Maintenance Therapy
WHO/UNODC/UNAIDS position paper: Substitution Maintenance Therapy in the Management of Opioid Dependence and HIV/AIDS Prevention: Position Paper (2004) World Health Organization, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS. ISBN 92-4-159115-3.
Online Resources – Impaired Driving and Methadone Maintenance Therapy
Methadone – Drugs and Human Performance Fact Sheets (April 2004) is a detailed fact sheet on effects of methadone use, particularly on performance and driving. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Online Resources – Mortality and Methadone
Methadone (April 2007) was the findings of a multidisciplinary group for a national assessment of methadone-associated deaths. Methadone Mortality Working Group, Drug Enforcement Administration Office of Diversion Control.
Online Resources – Research and Methadone Maintenance Therapy
Evaluation of the AFM’s Methadone Intervention & Needle Exchange Program (m.i.n.e.) (July 2005) is a detailed evaluation of the program. Addiction Foundation of Manitoba (AFM).
Literature Review: Methadone Maintenance Treatment (2002) provides an overview of the evidence of the effectiveness of methadone maintenance treatment. Health Canada. Cat. H49-162/2002E.
Online Resources – Treatment with Methadone
Methadone Maintenance Treatment: Client Handbook (2003) Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH)
Methadone Maintenance Treatment: Information for Clients (2002) Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH)
Methadone Maintenance: A Counsellor’s Guide to Treatment (2003) Garth Martin, Bruna Brands, and David C. Marsh
Methadone Maintenance: A Pharmacist’s Guide to Treatment (2004) Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
Methadone Matters: Evolving Community Methadone Treatment of Opiate Addiction (2003) Gillian Tober, John Strang
Warning: some of the images in the videos that follow are considered graphic. Viewer discretion is advised.
The Dangers of Methadone reports that methadone is being overprescribed and that it can be abused. Effects also vary depending on the individual. Art Fennell Report.
HARMD Inc. is Helping American Reduce Methadone Deaths, a methadone awareness advocacy group.
Methadone Addiction explains why methadone is dangerous and why overdose is becoming more common. Methadone stays in your system much longer. CBS News.
Methadone saves lives … don’t believe the lies! is the testimonial of one opiate addict that claims it saved his life.
Suspicious Activities Outside of a Methadone Clinic is a news story about the illegal trade of drugs around clinics. When combined with other drugs, methadone can be lethal. NBC10.