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Information About Methadone

Methadone is a complex drug with a long and troubled history. Understanding its origins is a major part of learning how to better combat it, and we encourage you to read in to learn more about methadone and where it originated.

The History of Methadone

Morphine was the predominant painkiller used in Germany, and most of the world, in the 1930’s for injuries and for wounds. Morphine is made using imported raw opium, and since it appeared that a war was coming, the German government realized that it would need supplies of painkillers and that their access to raw opium might be interrupted, and thus encouraged the development of alternative painkiller drugs.

Methadone was developed in the late 1930’s in Germany by the I.G. Farben company. Methadone is an opioid, a synthetic product that activates the same receptors as morphine. Methadone is almost as effective if taken orally as if injected. Named Amidon, methadone was used during World War II but not as much as anticipated.

The German patents on medical drugs were voided at the end of World War II. In 1947, Dolophine, the trade name for methadone, was released in the United States as a pain reliever. Soon it just became known as methadone.

In the 1960’s, heroin use was growing. Initially as a marketing plan to sell it, methadone, a “legal” drug, was promoted as a replacement for heroin, an illegal drug. Because methadone was taken orally and not intravenously or by snorting, it was not only legal but also less likely to cause other diseases and conditions.

Heroin’s half-life (the time it takes for half of a drug taken to be eliminated from the body) was between three to six hours. This meant that a heroin user was always working to ensure that he or she could get their next dose or they would go into a withdrawal that was too painful to endure. This meant that most heroin users were unable to hold legal jobs — they were forced to get money for heroin in ways that would not interfere with their heroin trap. In addition, for most long-term heroin users, their physical and mental health deteriorated.

Longer-term heroin users suffer from a number of symptoms and ailments, including:

  • Unable to concentrate but for short periods of time;
  • Less and less healthy;
  • Experiencing fast weight loss;
  • Less and less concerned with society’s attitudes toward morals and ethics;
  • Desperately driven to do anything to obtain heroin even if it involves doing things that he or she would never have considered prior to their addiction to heroin;
  • Destined to end up either in jail or in an early grave.
In order to regulate the use of methadone as a “treatment” for heroin, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) issued the Controlled Substances Act in 1970. This act established strict rules for methadone clinics, or Narcotic Treatment Programs (NTPs). This seemingly “enlightened policy” of placing heroin users on methadone has many bad consequences for the heroin user and for society.

Some of these bad consequences are:

  • The heroin user has traded one addiction for another;
  • Methadone is more difficult from which to withdraw than heroin;
  • Methadone users develop a tolerance and often find themselves increasing their daily dose;
  • This increase in the daily dose of methadone is aided by the fact that it costs as much for 20 milligrams of methadone as for 200 milligrams;
  • Logically, a former drug addict will try to solve any problems in life with more drugs and this way of handling problems is often encouraged by the methadone clinic staff;
  • As people get on higher and higher doses of methadone, this leads to a point where they are trapped and believe that they can never get off methadone;
  • Because the methadone clinic only makes money when they have methadone users, there is no incentive to help people reduce their doses of methadone until they are free of methadone;
  • The methadone user is trapped and must go to the clinic every morning or they will go into painful withdrawal — learn more here;
  • Society has continued to treat these people as people who don’t deserve to be free of drugs and their harmful effects but are happy to keep them addicted forever if they no longer commit crimes;
  • Methadone used for pain management often has deadly consequences.

Methadone Facts, Info & Effects

Methadone is a synthetic opioid analgesic (painkiller) used to treat chronic pain. Methadone also has been used for decades as a treatment for people with opioid dependence, primarily heroin addiction. Methadone ranks high among drugs implicated in the soaring rates of prescription drug addiction across the country.

Because methadone is potent and long-lasting, and far less expensive than other prescription painkillers, it has become more and more popular among family physicians and other healthcare providers who prescribe it for all kinds of chronic pain.

Facts About Methadone

According to the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS),

the number of drug-poisoning deaths involving methadone increased sevenfold, from about 800 deaths in 1999 to about 5,518 in 2007. Between 2007 and 2008, the number of deaths involving methadone decreased by nearly 600 deaths, the first decrease since 1999. Since 2008, deaths from methadone have continued to decrease slightly to 4,418 in 2011, the most recent year for which the agency has published statistics. The NCHS adds that methadone was involved in 26 percent of all opioid-analgesic poisoning deaths in 2011.
Methadone, unlike other opioid painkillers, stays in the bloodstream long after pain relief has worn off. With the pain back, patients assume the drug has worn off and take more, leading to overdose, coma, respiratory failure, and death.

The Effects Of Methadone

What’s Wrong with Methadone Treatment and Maintenance?

  • Methadone is a highly addictive drug, at least as addictive as heroin;
  • Methadone generally stays in the system longer than heroin — up to 59 hours, according to the FDA, compared to heroin’s 4 — 6 hours;
  • Unlike heroin, you can’t really tell it’s there. Users may take another dose, not knowing the previous dose is still affecting them and, dose after dose, the methadone accumulates to toxic levels;
  • You never know if the next dose is going to be the one that tips those levels beyond what the body can tolerate. If it is, your body shuts down and you either get help quickly or you die;
  • Methadone can also be deadly in combination with other drugs and with alcohol. Taken with other opiates—heroin, morphine, Vicodin or OxyContin, for example, which is not unusual for methadone users—the effects of the drugs combine to slow down your metabolism, put you to sleep, and can result in death;
  • Are methadone clinics a solution?
  • Withdrawal from methadone is often even more difficult than withdrawal from heroin;
  • Few methadone users have been successful in withdrawing from methadone on their own;
  • The reasons are simple – it’s hard, and it hurts;
  • When you’re withdrawing from methadone, medical drug detox may be required.

To understand why you have to get off methadone now, read The Methadone Prison.

Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control

  • The number of all drug poisoning deaths (that’s right, dying from methadone is considered being poisoned) increased 150 percent (to 47,055) between 2001 and 2014. The number of poisoning deaths involving methadone increased over 700 percent;
  • The number of methadone–related poisoning deaths were 4 percent of all poisoning related deaths in 1999, and by 2014 they measured approximately 26 percent;
  • Some estimates say nearly 80 percent of methadone – related poisoning deaths were unintentional. Had they entered a methadone detox program earlier, they might still be alive today.

Is Methadone Treatment Effective for Getting Over Heroin Addiction?

Here are the side effects of methadone:

  • shallow breathing
  • hallucinations or confusion
  • fast or pounding heartbeats
  • chest pain
  • feeling light-headed
  • trouble breathing
  • fainting
  • feeling anxious, nervous, or restless
  • sleep problems (insomnia)
  • dizziness, drowsiness, or weakness
  • loss of appetite
  • constipation
  • diarrhea
  • vomiting
  • nausea
  • dry mouth
  • impotence
  • difficulty having an orgasm
  • decreased sex drive

What do you think? Would you be able to resolve your addiction issues if you had these symptoms? Learn more about how to compare drug detox and alcohol detox programs.

The Novus Methadone Detox Solution

At Novus Medical Detox Centers, we use medicines as needed to make the methadone withdrawal more comfortable. We understand that most people on methadone have serious physical problems that will make methadone withdrawal even more difficult and maybe impossible if done without medical supervision.

During treatment, we use IV’s to ensure hydration and that the body gets the vitamins, amino acids and other nutrients needed to strengthen the body to make the withdrawal process more easily done. We also provide food that gets rave reviews from our patients.

Our Centers provide 24-hour medical supervision, continual monitoring of the patient’s progress and frequent adjustments to the rate of the patient’s taper in accordance with the comfort and safety of the patient. We use a methadone withdrawal protocol that allows a more comfortable withdrawal from even the highest doses of methadone.

We provide for the completion of a lower dose methadone detox in from six to eight days and even people on high doses of methadone can generally be detoxed in less than fourteen days, and we allow the patient to leave on no additional drugs.

We make sure to provide a peaceful, home-like facility located on 3.25 treed acres where patients regularly take walks or sit outside, provide several designated smoking areas, and we provide private or comfortable shared rooms with telephone, television and internet access.

Getting off methadone has never been easier. At Novus Medical Detox Centers, we understand just how difficult getting off methadone can be on your own, which is why we are committed to providing our patients with the care and treatment they need. Call us at (855) 464-8550 today to discuss your treatment options, or fill out our online form to send us the details of your situation.

More Information On Methadone

If you’re interested in learning more about methadone and its effects, check out some of the pages we’ve put together using our years of first-hand experience working with people fighting for sobriety.

High Dose Methadone – Florida Drug Detox Program

Getting Off Methadone: Detox

Methadone Dependence & Pain Management


We develop an individualized medical detox program specifically for each of our patients, which means no recovery will look the same. Our delicious food, nutritional IVs and supplements, and specialized detox protocols are all designed to quicken the healing process. We understand that various addictions present a number of issues for the human body, so we create our IVs and diets to fit the needs of specific withdrawal symptoms.

Our process is all about you, which is why we have private and shared rooms available for our residents. Each room is outfitted with a TV, telephone, and access to the internet. We also provide educational classes that will show you how the drug or alcohol of your choice affects your body. We believe that to effectively fight off your withdrawal symptoms, it is important to know what you are fighting against and what to be prepared for.

To learn more about how we can help you,
call (855) 464-8550 today!

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  • We Offer Private or Comfortable-Shared Rooms

Success Stories

For a Sustainable Sobriety™
  • Methadone Detox Successes - Graphic Artist (Methadone)

    Mostly every person was very supportive and more than willing to help me with anything. I detoxed from 65 mg of methadone and I ate everyday. That is ...

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  • Methadone Detox Successes - Self-Employed (Methadone)

    Novus is the best place I could have ended this hellish journey. I want to acknowledge all of the Novus staff! Can I please come back and work here! I ...

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  • Methadone Detox Successes - Student (Methadone)

    Novus has helped me in a way that I thought was impossible . My stay was very comfortable and time flew. The food was top notch and the company and ...

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