According to the National Library of Medicine, “In the United States, the most commonly abused opioids are heroin and methadone.” Part of the reason for this is because the abuse of methadone by maintenance patients has risen steadily and become a serious issue among recovering and current addicts. If you are concerned that you may already have begun to abuse your medication, consider the signs below and ask yourself if you may need further help.
What Constitutes Methadone Medication Abuse?
Methadone is a prescription drug. This means it can only be obtained legally through a doctor’s care and by their prescription. Therefore, anyone who buys or sells methadone is breaking the law. They are also abusing the substance because it is not meant to be taken without a prescription. In addition, anyone who takes more of the medication, takes it in higher doses, or takes it more often than they are being prescribed to is also abusing the drug. Many take the drug by crushing and snorting or injecting it to get high. Those who give it to––or take it from––loved ones or others for free or take it to treat issues it is not meant to treat are as well.
As stated by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, some of the negative effects of the drug when used medically may possibly “stem from its increased use for treating pain, along with physician inexperience in prescribing it.” But when a patient abuses the drug themselves, there is a high potential for negative side effects, such as addiction and overdose. Any time an individual takes the drug in a way differently than prescribed, and especially if they take more of it than they are told, this constitutes as abuse.
Am I Abusing Methadone?
Chances are, if you believe you might be abusing a substance, you probably are. This is because the feeling that you are misusing the drug often stems from knowledge that what you are doing is not safe or recommended. But when it comes to methadone maintenance, treatment is often very individualized and personal. Answer the questions below to discover if you may be abusing your medication.
- Do you ever take methadone more often than your doctor prescribed you to?
- Do you ever take larger doses of the drug than prescribed?
- Do you take the medication in a way you are not supposed to (i.e. crushing it and snorting it)?
- Do you make excuses for yourself to take more methadone before you are supposed to?
- Have you ever obtained the drug through illegal channels (i.e. not through a methadone center)?
- Do you feel that your methadone use is compulsive?
- Have you seen many different doctors or gone to different clinics in order to obtain the methadone dosage you need?
- Do you ever take methadone to feel high or for some reason other than to treat your addiction to the drug?
If you answered yes to the questions above, you are already abusing your methadone prescription. You should ask for more help before other issues occur because of your substance abuse.