Thursday September 18th 2014

Do you get high on methadone?

No. Methadone does not cause euphoria or intoxication itself when used as prescribed. And if you are getting high on methadone, you are at risk of overdose and death. Plus, you are breaking the law. More on the differences between use and abuse below.

Why is methadone prescribed?

Methadone is a long-acting synthetic opioid agonist medication that is prescribed for two reasons:

1. to treat opiate addiction

2. to treat chronic pain

Methadone for opiate addiction treatment

In opiate addiction treatment, methadone suppresses withdrawal symptoms, reduces cravings for opioid drugs, and blocks the euphoric effects of opioids for 24 to 36 hours. The principle behind methadone maintenance treatment is to substitute methadone for harder drugs like heroin, morphine, codeine, oxycodone, hydrocodone, or fentanyl. People who take opiates or opioids for a year or longer can modify their brain chemistry in a permanent or semi-permanent way. Methadone helps occupy the opioid receptors in the brain so that you can function normally without feeling high. In general, methadone maintenance duration operates on the understanding that “longer treatment is better treatment”. Some experts recommend no less than 6 months, others no less than 2 years.

Normal doses of methadone

Methadone is safe when used appropriately. Normal methadone dosing is somewhere between 60-120 mg a day. At this level, methadone actually blocks the high that you would get if you took other drugs but it does not get you high. Plus, there is no change in tolerance over time at this does, meaning that you do not need more methadone in order to benefit from its effects. And a normal, stable dose of methadone will keep you even and balanced.

Can you get high on methadone?

In theory, yes. You can get high on methadone by taking methadone without a prescription or other than prescribed. But if you take methadone in higher doses, more frequently than prescribed, or take it in ways that are not prescribed (unstable dosing, injection, snorting, etc.) you are in danger of overdosing. This is because methadone does not produce the euphoric rush associated other opiate or opiate drugs. Instead, methadone is released into the body over time (it is a long-acting drug). So large quantities of methadone are a vain attempt to attain the desired euphoric effect and methadone can build up in your tissues, leading to overdose.

In scientific terms, methadone’s elimination half-life is longer than the duration of its action. If you take more doses of methadone faster than you body can metabolize, serious toxicity or poisoning can result. Additionally, deaths can occur when people who have no or low opioid tolerance take too large a dose or mix methadone with other respiratory or depressants.

Risks of methadone abuse

If you are taking methadone to get high, you are breaking the law. But the risks of addiction are even higher than the risks of getting caught. Methadone is a Schedule II substance under the Controlled Substances Act. Schedule II drugs have a high potential for abuse which may lead to severe mental or physical dependence.

Help for methadone abuse

If you think that you have a problem with methadone or have a question about methadone use vs. abuse, please leave us a message below. We are here to help, and will respond to all honest questions about methadone in a personal reply or we may even write a new article just for you.

Reference sources: CDC Methadone Maintenance Treatment Facts
U.S. Department of Justice Fast Facts on Methadone
U.S. Department of Justice Methadone Diversion, Abuse, and Misuse: Deaths Increasing at Alarming Rate
State of Indiana Opioid Addiction Treatment: An Overview
SAMHSA Emerging Issues in the Use of Methadone

Photo credit: ~mr-neight

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22 Responses to “Do you get high on methadone?
GatehouseA
5:28 pm October 26th, 2011

Through experience in the actual use of methadone as prescribed, it is easy to become dependent on it. Mentally and physically, wether it is an opiate or a substance such as methadone, the prolonged use will cause dependance.

Big D
1:54 am January 1st, 2012

If your taking the right amount everyday it does not get you high. Only keeps you feeling normal…. Balanced

deb
6:51 am February 17th, 2012

i just started the methdone program dec 28th and iam on 60mg and i feel balanced iam afraid to go any higher i will become more dependent is this true?

12:35 pm February 17th, 2012

Hi Deb. By “more dependent” do you mean worse withdrawal symptoms when you stop? Or do you mean something else?

Frank
7:56 pm February 19th, 2012

I used opiates “without a prescription” for over 8 or 9 years. I finally found a local MMT clinic, was assessed, and am now actively working toward being drug free. I do not feel I need to share my dose information with you, we can just say it’s close to 140. I know people who are around 700mg. Don’t feel bad about the amount you are taking. As long as you are conscious about your dose, side effects, keeping your body as healthy as possible & not trying to get “as much methadone as possible”, and as long as you really need the medicine, I would say you are doing a great job. I love attending the educational meetings that are provided at no cost to me, I have learned so much information about addiction since being admitted to methadone maintenance treatment. I do not have that addictive personality of always seeking the drug, always wanting the drug, never getting enough of the drug, spending every penny i had on drugs, I left all that in the dust. I know at any second my life could be flipped upside down and it is possible for me to become that stranger who lives for drugs, which is why every day I try to anything I can to stay in treatment, to stay healthy, to learn as much as I can about addiction, and to help other people who are facing life threatening situations. Keep up the good work, get healthy, and never forget what it was like when you felt life couldn’t get any worse due to addiction, because every day lots of people are becoming more addicted to drugs, and less in tune with their lives. If you see someone struggling don’t just take pity on them, take action & ask what you can do to help them to improve the quality of their life.

Thank you for your web site and for the opportunity to let people like me share my opinions.

Smart 1
5:19 pm February 20th, 2012

Methadone can and will get a person high. Methadone clinics were developed in order to keep heroin addicts from preventing crimes against property, not to end there their drug addiction, only to maintain it. I was in MMT clinic for almost a yr. and it was my experience that they kept upping dosage in order to keep me there. It was privately owned by a person with no formal medical training so felt it was just money making industry. Coming off methadone was worse than kicking heroin as it left me with extreme bone pain for mos. For those trying to end addiction to opiates I say Suboxone much better medication since is full antagonist since contains naloxone(narcan)
and partial agonist since contains buprenorphine. So opiate receptors are activated enough to stave off cravings but does not get a person high. Unless haven’t used opiates in awhile and only in first day or two. I am now opiate free, thank goodness.

11:12 am February 22nd, 2012

Thanks for sharing your experiences, Frank and Smart 1. Methadone treatment is certainly one of the most talked about treatment therapies for opiate addiction. And although methadone clinics can provide many positives in people’s lives, there is also a darker side to the medication. We appreciate your points of view.

Chante
4:43 pm January 28th, 2013

My boyfriend is an addict. but he got “help” 3 weeks ago and went to a Discovery House, to help him live a normal life without haveing to get high just to live. So the doctors gave him Methadone 60millagrams a day! But.. i don’t know? because he always wants to go to there in the morning just to get his dose. If he doesnt he is very mean. but… when he’s on the methadone his eyes are small and all like he still acts like he is high. What’s that mean? Please email me back! Thank you soo much! God Bless!

2:30 pm January 29th, 2013

Hi Chante. 60 mg methadone is the standard dose for heroin addicts. It helps occupy the opioid receptors in the brain that heroin used to affect…without getting high. Do you think that you boyfriend is taking methadone AND still using? Does he take frequent drug tests?

d.t.w
4:16 am February 21st, 2013

I don’t know exactly what others mean by high but I do know my boyfriend sure acted high when he was taking it. Dozin off, behavior was different and if he didn’t get to go get it exactly when he wanted it was like it was the end of the world and he was mean and tramutizing. I got to where I wouldn’t even let him drive because he would get all glassy eyed and doze while driving too. It was scary. But I don’t have to worry about it after awhile because he lost his license. I know he wasn’t doing anything other than the methadone so I don’t believe one bit that it don’t get you high or mess with you. I don’t understand these progams they are just giving you another addicting drug to replace the other one it should take you three years to get off the methadone. And I don’t think people should be allowed to take there kids to places like this I could not believe it when I seen people going in and out of the clinic with kids babies. I know all people are different but I was sick of putting up with my boyfriend being high and going to the clinic so I told him it was me and the kids leave or him stop going. Its been almost a year now and since after the withdrawl time (which wasn’t that bad like I thought it would be) we are still together their has been a couple times when things got hard like him losing his job he has wanted to go but I refused to take him and told him if he did that was it.

ryan
8:40 pm March 5th, 2013

I am have been addicted to methadone for around 6 years. I go through severe withdrawels when I cant get it, and yes I buy it off of the street i have never actually been prescribed methadone. In the beggining i was told it would help me stop abbusing opiates. I do get very high off of methadone especially after i go through a binge for a few days. i sleepwalk, I experience sleep apnea, i do alot of strange things while binging, recently my entire body broke out into some type of hives also related to overuse of methadone i know have scars in place of those hives, my tounge always breaks out in a very painfull thrushmouth. I believe all of these side effects are caused by seripuse overuse and abuse of methadone but it owns me I cant stop even though i realize i am killing myself

Blonde
1:13 pm September 26th, 2013

Hi I have also been going to MMS for 3&1/2 yrs,I”ve gotta say methadone is the only thing that’s keeping me from slipping off and using.I try to take mgs.lower when I can,to start the process of tapering off..It takes time..And for those who had never been an addict you have no right to judge b/c you have”nt been there..You expect users to be tapered off methadone in a month or so,but when addicts was on streets using,you expected them to quit in that short of time?Its a working progress!

Josiah
5:46 am October 16th, 2013

I’ve been abusing oxycodone up to 200 mgs a day no less than 80mg in a day since May but I have a history of heroin oxy and benzo addiction and have recently started back on the oxy May and for some reason this time I just cannot quit like I did in the future the cravings are to much so I was thinking of going to the clinic in the morning but I don’t want to overdose but I don’t wanna be sick either what should I do??? Please help I’m really conflicted about all of this

3:49 pm October 22nd, 2013

Hello Josiah. You seem to be aware of what’s coming. A detox clinic can help you during opioid withdrawal and can prescribe anything from buprenorphine to methadone to naltrexone to help manage symptoms. Make the first step, and you’ll be on the road to getting off the Oxy. Best of luck to you!

loving life
11:15 pm November 29th, 2013

after many years of suffering from chronic pain and the terrible breakthrough pain caused by regular opiates my dr prescribed methadone. I was horrified after watching my younger brother (who is an addict on mmt) nod off constantly from double dosing only to detox in two days from running out of his methadone. Well after some thought I filled my script and began my new medication and low and behold it was literally a life saver. I soon realized it was him that was abusing the medication because never once have I nodded out from my dose nor have I experienced any breakthroug pain since I have taken it. This being said I not only take it as prescribed but it works so well that I often have to set alarms to remind me to take it because it lasts long and unlike the roxy that I was on before I don’t wake up after 4 hours of sleep by terrible pain. I was told to be aware that this is a hard medication to detox from and it does have some ugly side effects. I came into this knowing that no matter what i’ll always be on medicaton so withdrawls are not even an issue but the side effects were not so nice which is why I take “Vitadone” it’s really helped with the sweating, irregularity, craving of sweets, weight gain, and decreased libido so I don’t mind the $25 a bottle what so ever. Anyway, good luck to anyone out there considering this medication and remember there are a good side and bad side to every medication and this one has been abused so much that most people don’t like it. Also if your pain is not gonna be permanant then don’t start it because getting off of it is not as easy as the other narcotics. Good luck to all of you.

Sami
2:45 am March 27th, 2014

Hi, i just got prescribed methadone to help with oxy addiction. I have been taking my dose everyday for two weeks. My dose has been from 20 to 50mg. It makes me feel great (high). My mood is great, i have alooot of energy and im always talkative. Two days ago i took an oxy 80 with my dose and i fell asleep and my alarm didnt wake me up. I went to get my next dose and four hours later i was dosing off, i went to the hospital. Today my doctor cut my dose in half for safety reasons. Im worried that methadone isnt safe for me but i need it to live a normal life drug free. Should i switch to suboxone if meth doesnt workout?

Ms. marshall
3:38 pm May 14th, 2014

My mothere is not a herion addict but she is taking methadone to get high. She live in the city of Detroit and people with a medicaid card can receive this drug even if its not need. She had to be rush to emergency yesterday because she is also a diabetic and taking this methadone, she was at diabetic coma level when she reach emergency, I confuse how can they prescribe this drug to a person is they are not a herion addict?

12:58 pm May 15th, 2014

Hello Ms. Marshall. Sometimes, people can game the system. Have you thought about connecting with her prescribing physician to sit down and have a discussion about your concerns?

Ms.Marshall
6:30 pm May 15th, 2014

Yes, but she insist it wasn’t prescribed to her that she call a number and if you have medicaid you can receive methadone with out a doctors ok. I find this hard to believe or is that possible

7:38 am May 16th, 2014

Methadone is a prescription drug only available through a doctor. But it’s pretty tightly controlled. It’s possible she’s buying it. Does your state have a law against harming yourself? Contact the state attorney general’s office. It’s possible that you can report your mother and she may be required to attend mandatory drug abuse treatment. I feel for you!!!

Maeghan
11:47 pm August 10th, 2014

I took 150 mg of methadone in two days . How long till it’s out of my system ? For a urine screen.

Ivana @ Addiction Blog
11:17 am August 11th, 2014

Hello Maeghan. The metabolism of methadone can vary from one individual to another. Although your system can rid itself of the methadone within about 72 hours in most cases, traces of methadone can still be detected in your urine for up to 3 weeks. It can be detected even longer if you get a blood test.

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