What is Methadone?

Methadone is a drug that belongs to the family of drugs called opioids. This group of drugs are often referred to a depressant drugs as they slow messages which travel from the brain to the rest of the body.

In the 1960’s it was discovered by two chemists in New York, Vincent Dole and Marie Nyswander, that regular use of methadone can work as a reliable treatment for opioid addiction. Since then, the drug has been adopted as an aid to those people who are addicted to other drugs in the same group of opioid drugs, namely heroin, morphine and codeine.

How does methadone work?

For those that are addicted to opiods, taking Methadone every day can eliminate physical withdrawal symptoms. The drug also helps to control the cravings for opioids and, for those that do use opiods, it will also neutralise the high effect from opioid abuse.

What does methadone look like?

Methadone, when prescribed by a doctor for heroin withdrawal, is normally a green liquid which is swallowed. The drug can also be found in tablet form. It can also be injected.

What are the effects of methadone?

The effects of Methadone can be felt quite rapidly and can last for hours.

Some effects include:

  • Lowering of physical and psychological pain
  • Body functions start to slow down
  • A pleasurable, warm and relaxed feeling
  • Lowered anxiety
  • Slow pulse and shallow breathing
  • Risk of fatal overdose.

Can you get addicted to methadone?

Methadone has similar effects to heroin and and, like heroin, it is also very addictive, particularly if you are using Methadone to get “high”. Regular use builds up tolerance to the drug meaning that you need to take more to achieve the same effects. Withdrawal can be difficult if stopped suddenly. However, methadone withdrawal starts more slowly and is less intense than withdrawal from heroin.

Methadone and the law

In the UK, methadone has been classified as a Class A drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act. Unless you are under medical treatment, it is illegal to have, sell or give away the drug. Possession of methadone can get you up to seven years in jail.

You are not permitted to drive a car whilst receiving methadone treatment unless you receive permission from the DVLA following medical consultation.

Is there a methadone drugs test?

Yes – a urine drug test for Methadone can be purchased from Zoom Testing. Various multi-panel drug tests are also available that will detect methadone at the same time as other drugs of abuse. The widest-ranging multi-panel drug screen is the 12D test which detects methadone and 11 other drugs.

Many saliva drug tests for methadone exist, including the 7 panel classic drug screen and the 8 panel saliva drug test with integrated cup.

Photo Credit: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade on Flickr

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