Methadone is one of the many drugs used in a medication-assisted addiction recovery program. This medication is especially useful for individuals overcoming an opioid addiction, as it can help to reduce withdrawal symptoms and combat cravings. Methadone can improve the likelihood of recovery from opioid addiction by allowing individuals to continue to function without their drug of choice.
While methadone is certainly helpful in treating opioid addiction, it comes with its own set of risks. While less potent and addictive than most, methadone is still considered an opioid, and as such comes with the risk of abuse and dependence. Using methadone recreationally only increases this risk as well as the likelihood of experiencing a number of potentially dangerous side effects.
How Does Methadone Work?
Methadone is most commonly offered in pill, wafer, or liquid form. Like other opioids, methadone works by blocking the pain receptors in the brain. This drug will typically provide pain relief for up to eight hours after ingesting it.
Methadone also blocks the effects of other opioids like heroin or morphine, making it impossible to feel the high from these drugs to prevent an addicted individual from continuing to use them. Additionally, people in treatment for opioid addiction can take methadone in order to function normally and manage withdrawal symptoms effectively.
While typically considered safe for use in both a medical and addiction setting, methadone can still be abused for the “high” it can produce. While limited, in high doses, methadone may still elicit a euphoric effect that can include slowed reaction times, drowsiness, and muscle relaxation.
Getting high on methadone requires individuals to take much higher doses than are recommended. Some people may snort, inject, or smoke methadone to experience the euphoric effects of the drug. Unfortunately, increased doses of methadone can significantly increase a person’s risk of experiencing the dangers of methadone abuse.
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Using Methadone Recreationally
Recreational drug use is when a person uses a substance to get high. Like many other opioids, methadone is used recreationally by some individuals. This is especially true in recent years, as opioids like methadone have been prescribed more and more frequently.
Individuals who use methadone recreationally often obtain the drug illegally. For example, someone may purchase methadone on the street or steal it from a person who has been prescribed the drug.
Because methadone is designed to block the euphoric effects of other opioids, much more of the drug is needed to experience a high. This means that individuals using this drug recreationally often take much larger doses than what is recommended. This can cause the drug to build up in the system and result in serious consequences including the risk of overdose.
Snorting, Smoking Or Injecting Methadone
Methadone is a drug that was designed to provide long-lasting pain relief effects. This medication slowly releases over an extended period of time and, when taken as prescribed, does not typically elicit feelings of euphoria.
Unfortunately, the slow-acting nature of the drug means that many people who abuse methadone do so by snorting, smoking, or injecting the substance. These methods of use cause the drug’s dosage to be released all at once rather than over a period of time. This can result in more intense pain relief and euphoric feelings as well as the “high” associated with opioids.
People who inject methadone are at risk for a number of complications, including damage to the heart, arteries, and veins. Methadone is composed of a number of additives, and injecting the drug prevents these additives from being broken down. As a result, these toxins can enter the bloodstream and damage the system.
Smoking and snorting methadone are also dangerous. Damage to the sinuses and lungs can occur due to the additives in methadone. People who smoke methadone are at an increased risk of lung damage, and individuals who snort the drug can develop sinus problems and holes in the nose.
Dangers Of Abusing Methadone
Abusing methadone comes with many potential dangers, regardless of how the drug is ingested. The more methadone a person consumes, the more likely he or she is to experience these dangers.
Potential side effects of methadone abuse include:
- confusion or impaired cognition
- memory problems
- nausea and vomiting
- slowed heart rate and breathing
- impaired coordination
- muscle aches
Additionally, abusing methadone increases a person’s risk of overdose. A methadone overdose can be incredibly dangerous and even deadly if not properly treated. Side effects of an overdose include clammy skin, shallow breath, coma, and convulsions. If you believe someone is suffering from a methadone overdose, seek medical help immediately.
Getting Help For Methadone Abuse And Addiction
Coping with an addiction to methadone can be difficult, especially if you feel that you are alone in your addiction. It’s important to know that help is available and that living a life substance-free is possible. Vertava Health offers several treatment programs designed to help people overcome substance use disorders and learn to live a fulfilling life in sobriety.
To learn more about the dangers of using methadone recreationally or to get more information on the addiction treatment programs we offer, contact an Vertava Health treatment specialist today.