Methadone Abuse: Understanding the Role of Prevention

For someone seeking to abstain from heroin or oxycodone, methadone maintenance can be a lifesaver.  Methadone works to stabilize brain chemistry, aiding opiate addicts in combatting cravings and managing withdrawal symptoms.  It is, however, a powerful opiate in its own right.  Preventing methadone abuse is important for opiate addicts seeking recovery.

To learn more about methadone treatment, or to find a clinic in your area, call 800-994-1867Who Answers?.

Did Dorothy Know?

Ever since 1939, viewers watched with wonder and delight as Dorothy skipped down the yellow brick road.  She managed to overcome various obstacles in her path.  One such obstacle, the field of poppies, required intervention from Glenda, the good witch of the North.  Opium is derived from poppies, and this poignant scene signified the struggle many in our nation were already facing:  the struggle of opiate addiction.

Development of Methadone

Methadone Abuse

Mood swings are a warning sign of methadone abuse.

In the 1930’s, a group of German scientists developed methadone as a pain killing alternative to its highly addictive predecessor, morphine.  This synthetic opioid was engineered to be longer acting that heroin or morphine.  After its perfection in 1937, it was discovered to be highly effective in combatting craving and helping ease withdrawal for opiate addicts.

Is Methadone an Opiate?

Methadone is an opioid agonist releasing a longer acting compound to stabilizing mµ receptors for pain.  It acts to extinguish drug cravings and block the high that comes from opiate use. Methadone is prescribed and can be taken in pill form, liquid or wafer.  If taken as prescribed, it is safe and effective to aid in sustaining recovery efforts.  However, some choose methadone as an avenue to achieve the euphoria they seek.  Generally, these users inject methadone, which is not an approved use of the drug.

Danger Signs for Methadone Abuse

Relapse for opiate addicts is common.  Because addicts fight a three-fold illness affecting body, mind and spirit, it is important to be ever vigilant for signs associated with methadone misuse. Recovering addicts should be mindful of:

  • Major life changes like divorce, death, job change, etc.
  • Mood swings
  • Changes in thinking patterns
  • Difficulty maintaining routines
  • Isolating from support systems

Is My Loved One Abusing Methadone?

For recovering addicts, it can be difficult to tell if they are simply experiencing the ups and downs of newly found sobriety, or if they have returned to chasing the ever elusive high.  Knowing the signs and symptoms of abuse can be critical to helping an addict get back on the path to recovery.  The following are signs of methadone addiction:

  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Avoiding Family and Friends
  • Lying

Preventing Methadone Misuse and Abuse

To avoid methadone misuse and abuse, it is important for addicts to follow the doctor’s prescription to the letter.  Recovering from opiate addiction is extremely difficult because of the manner in which opiates make lasting changes in the brain.  Because of this, finding a support group of people who can help in the quest to be ever watchful is critical to a successful recovery.  Above all, honesty with this network of people is essential for overcoming addiction.

Return to Oz

For some, The Wizard of Oz represents a descent into drug addiction.  However, for others it represents a return home.  Remember, Dorothy stumbled into the poppy field, but she didn’t stay.  With the help of her friends and seemingly magical intervention, Dorothy was able to return home.  Opiate addicts deserve this chance, regardless of the type of addiction.  Addicts must seek help from a host of friends and medical professionals to get on the path toward home.

Call 800-994-1867Who Answers? today to start your opiate addiction recovery journey. 


CESAR (2016). Methadone. Center for Substance Abuse Research. The University of Maryland.  Retrieved from:

Joseph, H., Stancliff, S. & Langrod, J. (2000). Methadone maintenance treatment (MMT):  A review of historical and clinical issues. The Mount Sinai Journal of Medicine. 67 (5-6): 347-364.  Retrieved from:

SAMHSA (2015).  Methadone. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Retrieved from:

Stotts, A., Dodrill, C. & Kosten, T. (2009). Opioid dependence treatment:  Options in pharmacotherapy. Expert Opinion Pharmacotherapy, 10(11): 1727-1740.  Retrieved from:

Tinman (2016). Poppies. Wikia. Retrieved from:

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