What Is Methadone
Methadone is one of a number of synthetic opiates (also called opioids) that are manufactured for medical use and have similar effects to Heroin. These include dihydrocodeine, pethidine (often used in childbirth), diconal, palfium and temgesic. Opiates are derived from the opium poppy. Opium is the dried milk of the opium poppy. It contains morphine and codeine, both effective painkillers. Methadone and subutex (buprenorphine) are used as substitutes for Heroin in the treatment of Heroin addiction.
The methadone that’s prescribed to people trying to come off Heroin is usually a syrup which is swallowed. Pethidine, dihydrocodeine, diconal, palfium, temgesic and also some types of methadone come in tablet or injectable form.
Effects can start quickly and can last several hours but this varies with how much is taken and how often the drug is taken.
Methadone that is prescribed by a doctor is subject to stringent controls, as with any other medicine so you can be sure it’s unadulterated. You can’t be as sure with methadone that’s bought on the street.
Effects And Risks Of Taking Methadone
Effects of Methadone:
- Opiates are sedative drugs that depress the nervous system. They slow down body functioning and stop physical and psychological pain. The effect is usually to give a feeling of warmth, relaxation and detachment.
- Methadone stops people feeling anxious.
See also the effects of Heroin.
Risks of Using Methadone:
- People taking opiates for the first time can be sick, but these unpleasant reactions fade with time.
- With high doses the sedation takes over and users feel sleepy. Too much and you can fall into a coma or stop breathing completely.
- Many women don’t have periods when they use opiates regularly. If they cut down or stop the periods may return. There’s a good chance of getting pregnant during this time of you don’t use contraception.
- There’s no evidence that opiates cause birth defects, although they may possibly increase the risk of miscarriage and still births and opiate users may give birth to smaller babies.
- It’s not a good idea to stop using opiates suddenly if you’re pregnant as this can cause premature labour and miscarriage.
- If you do feel drowsy do not attempt to drive. Your driving licence is invalid on methadone unless agreed by the DVLA with medical advice.
Is Methadone Addictive
Opiates are highly addictive see Heroin. Methadone doesn’t deliver the same degree of buzz or high like heroin. It allows people to tackle their psychological addiction and stabilize their lifestyle when used as a substitute for heroin, it also helps reduce withdrawal symptoms. Then the dose can be reduced slowly until that user is off the drug completely.
This procedure is regularly done at a New York methadone clinic and other similar facilities everywhere.
When used to come off heroin there are still problems with withdrawal but there are much less severe than ‘cold turkey’ that occurs when stopping heroin.
The Law And Methadone
Morphine, opium, methadone, pethadine and Diconal are Class A drugs. Codeine and dihyrocodeine (DF118) are Class B drugs. Temgesic and Distalgesic are Class C drugs.