Methadone - Drug Addiction

This drug is sometimes confused with mephedrone but they are two separate substances.

Methadone is prescribed to addicts to enable them to gradually reduce their dependence on heroin. It comes from the same family of drugs as heroin - known as opiates, but is less powerful and a preferred option to ‘cold turkey’. 

What is methadone?

It is a synthetic opiate which is used as a heroin substitute and is given to heroin addicts to help them stabilise their lives and reduce their dependency on heroin.

It mimics the effects of heroin but to a lesser degree and works by preventing withdrawal symptoms during rehab.

Methadone was originally designed to be used as a form of pain relief but has been appropriated as a treatment for heroin addiction. 

What does it look like?   

It is a white crystalline powder which is dissolved in liquid and taken orally although it can also be injected. 

How is methadone used?

See above. The powder is usually added to a fruit flavoured drink which is swallowed by the user.

There is a version called Subutex which is dissolved in the mouth.

What is its street name?

Methadone is known by the following names:

  • Meth
  • Linctus
  • Juice
  • Mixture

Who uses methadone?

This applies to anyone who is addicted to heroin or other forms of opiate addiction, for example codeine. Women who are opiate addicts and are pregnant are given methadone to prevent the risk of premature birth or a miscarriage.

People who suffer from hepatitis C or HIV as a result of heroin addiction are prescribed methadone to stop further damage to their health. This will also prevent the risk of infection spreading from sharing needles.

Methadone is also given to people suffering from chronic pain as a result of a terminal illness.

How much does it cost?

If bought on the street it can cost as little as £1 for 10ml. Prices vary according to location.

What are the effects of methadone?

Methadone is a painkiller so will reduce any physical and psychological pain. It usually gives a warm, ‘fuzzy’  feeling and a sense of euphoria which is common to all opiates.

It is a safe drug to take so there is no

It also blocks cravings and/or withdrawal symptoms associated with heroin addiction.

However some people find that they feel queasy the first time they take methadone.

A single dose of methadone will keep someone free of cravings fro at least 24 hours. This can be done on a daily basis for as long as is needed. However, when the time comes for it to be stopped, methadone use must be reduced slowly.

If you suddenly stop taking methadone then you will experience stomach pain, diarrhoea, muscle aches and insomnia. So it’s a good idea to cut down gradually.

Is it easy to become addicted to methadone?

People don’t become addicted to methadone but they can develop a tolerance to certain aspects of this drug. They can experience some withdrawal symptoms if they stop taking it but these are nothing like the symptoms experienced from stopping taking heroin.

Methadone is designed as a form of drug dependency treatment and is a safe alternative to other opiates such as heroin. This applies only if it has been prescribed at a clinic. If methadone is bought on the street then it may have been mixed with other substances or is more powerful than the other forms.

What are the risks of methadone?

These include cessation of periods in women, possible coma if too high a dose is taken and risk of stillbirth or miscarriage during pregnancy.

Methadone is a Class A drug.


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