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