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Methadone and Benzodiazepines

There has been a recent surge in Methadone deaths since 1999. The reason being is the recent upswing in prescription methadone for pain. This is not to be confused with the Methadone that is prescribed by clinics for addiction, as this is monitored. Methadone can suppress symptoms of withdrawal when used for addiction for up to 24 hours, when used for pain, it only lasts 8 hours. Methadone, however, stays in the body’s system for as long as 59 hours. Patients using methadone for pain may use more methadone before the body has cleared the initial dose, and when doses are too high, toxicity levels increase which can lead to devastating changes in breathing and the function of the heart. Many doctors prescribing methadone as well as many patients are not aware of these dangers. Further dangers include the prescribing and use of sedative medications with methadone, specifically benzodiazepines. Persons prescribed both of these drugs increase their chances of overdose or respiratory distress.

In an effort to ensure the safety of our patients, The Healing Way is not in agreement with the use of Methadone with benzodiazepines. Alternatives can be discussed by the Intake counselor.

Recovery from drug addiction is a lifelong journey. Drug addiction can only be treated so life can go on normally not “cured.”

Drug addiction is recognized by the American Medical Association as a medical disease that upsets normal brain function. Drug addiction does not go away on its own, but only gets worse without proper treatment. Methadone for an opioid-addicted person is like insulin for a diabetic.

Methadone was discovered in the 1940s as a substitute for morphine. Drugs as morphine are known as opioids, acting in the brain on pain, mood, and other emotions. Other opioids that can be addictive are Heroin, Demerol ®, OxyContin ®, and Vicodin®.

Yes, Methadone is an opioid, but it has special qualities that make it very useful as a medication for treating opioid addiction. Taking a “maintenance dose,” methadone helps restore normal brain functions.

A proper oral dose of methadone does not make the person feel “high” or “drugged” like other opioids do. The proper dose lasts for 24 hours and takes away drug cravings.

During MMT many people say that they feel normal for the first time in a long time. While on treatment a person can live a better and healthier life by going to school, work or other activities.

The longer the person receives treatment the greater are the chances for a successful recovery.
Many persons take methadone for a lifetime but others try a complete drug-free approach. The drug-free approach should always be discussed with clinic staff.

During recovery you can help your loved one by showing support and offering encouragement. Recovery can be difficult, especially in the early days. Let your loved one know you are there for them, that you want to help, and that you notice a change for the better.

Methadone is not a cure it is it is only treatment for addiction. By avoiding bringing drugs and alcohol into the home brings the loved one, one step closer to a successful recovery.

If you know someone in recovery you can help by:

  • Learning more about addiction and treatment. Try to introduce yourself to the staff and ask them for more information or any questions you have.
  • Become involved in support groups that are for family and friends and in clinic events.