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How Does Methadone Work?




Unlike other addictive substances, methadone does not create feelings of euphoria and may not intoxicate the person using it when the drug is used just as prescribed. However, those who are getting high on methadone, just like any other drug, will surely be up against going against the law. Moreover, overdosing on methadone and other drugs puts the user at risk of death.

Methadone is a long-acting synthetic opioid agonist that is used primarily for two reasons:

  1. For the relief of chronic pain.
  2. For the treatment of opiate addiction.

The principle behind this form of maintenance treatment is for methadone to act as a substitute medication for harder drugs.

Methadone has the ability to suppress the withdrawal symptoms of opiate addicts. It may also be able to reduce the cravings for opioid drugs and block the euphoric effects for 1 to 1½ day. Addicted users of opiates or opioids have altered their brain chemistry. Methadone acts by occupying the opioid receptors in the brain, allowing the opiate addicted individual to function normally sans getting high.

Generally, methadone is seen in a “longer treatment = better treatment” mechanism.  Experts are divided as to how long the opiate addict should be medicated with methadone. Some medical professionals prescribe the drug for a minimum of 6 months, while others recommend it for at least 2 years.

The safe dose of methadone is around 60 to 120 mg each day.

With the dose, methadone can block the euphoric high that a person usually gets by taking drugs that can yield that effect. In addition, there is little to no chance of changing your body’s tolerance of the drug over a period of time. Hence, a person medicating with methadone will not have to increase the use of it to reap its benefits. A stable dose of methadone will also help keep balance.

Can methadone get you high?

Theoretically, yes. Only patients who are prescribed methadone should be using this substance. Those without a prescription, on the other hand, should refrain from using the drug. Moreover, if you dose more than what is described or more frequently than the prescribed frequency or else are taking methadone in ways contrary to a prescription like snorting and injecting, then you are at risk of overdose.

Since methadone cannot create a euphoric rush, the long-acting drug will be released into the body over time. The large amounts of methadone to attain a euphoric effect can cause methadone build-up in the tissues resulting to an overdose.

In scientific terms, the elimination half-life of methadone is longer than its duration of action. If more doses of methadone are taken faster than the body can metabolize, overdosing can lead to serious toxicity or poisoning. Death also occurs when people with no or low opioid tolerance mix methadone with other depressants or respiratory drugs.

Using methadone to get high is breaking the law. The risks of methadone addiction, moreover, are greater than the risk of getting caught. Under the Controlled Substances Act, methadone is classified as a Schedule II drug, which means that it has a high potential for abuse leading to physical dependence or severe mental illness.

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