As a powerful opiate with potentially addictive qualities, addicts chasing a methadone high can be alarmingly common. Others were given this drug to treat heroin addiction. Unfortunately, a history of drug dependency puts these people at a far greater risk for abusing the substance, and in this instance, it often begins with taking higher doses than recommended.
How Addictive Is Methadone?
Methadone, a synthetic opioid, is prescribed for moderate to severe pain. It is commonly given to patients undergoing treatment for opiate addiction, especially heroin, as it can help reduce painful withdrawal symptoms. It was classified as a Schedule II drug by the FDA. While it has legitimate medical use, its users are also more likely to develop dependence.
Although it may only cause mild euphoria, it has several other side effects, including drowsiness, sedation, low blood pressure, reduced reaction time and attention span, muscle weakness, droopy eyelids, and little to no reaction to light.
These side effects become more severe with increasing doses. Its euphoric effect can likewise increase based on the method of administration, such as IV use.
How Do People Induce a Methadone High?
One can experience this in several ways, all of which are atypical to standard medical use. If you are looking for warning signs that a loved one is using, knowing how they use it will help.
One of the fastest ways to create a methadone high is through snorting. Some people crush the tablets to accomplish this. It bypasses the liver, so it’s absorbed quickly in the mucous membrane of the nasal passages. It is then delivered faster to the brain via the blood-brain barrier.
Smoking methadone is also possible, but it’s not like smoking a cigarette. People heat the substance and inhale the vapor this produces. This delivers the drug to the bloodstream more quickly via the lungs and enters the heart before being pumped to the rest of the body. It brings an intense and immediate, but short-lived, methadone high.
Another way someone might take methadone is plugging. Rectal administration is an unusual route but is effective. The drug can reach the bloodstream faster because this technique also bypasses the liver. Many users may try plugging out of curiosity or to avoid injection marks.
Injecting methadone, also referred to as IV drug use, is another common way to abuse the drug. People crush the tablets into powder form and then mix with water. This converts the drug to IV immediately. Using a needle, it is then injected into a vein.
Many people who prefer a faster methadone high use injections. The drug gets to the brain directly because it does not need to be absorbed and digested in the GI tract and metabolism in the liver. However, this has a higher risk of infection, especially if the needle is not sterile.
How Long Does It Take for Methadone to Kick In?
Methadone, as discussed earlier, is available in different forms and can be administered through several methods. Each has its own dosage and speed for taking effect. In legitimate medical cases, a person will experience pain relief for about 4-8 hours. How long the effects last depends on the dosage and individual metabolism, but its half-life is approximately 24-36 hours and it can stay in the body for up to 5 days after the last dose.
How Does Methadone High Feel?
Like other opioids, methadone can slow body functions to extremely low levels. It alters the brain chemistry and repeated use makes the drug seem like more of a necessity. A methadone high can produce the following effects:
- Feeling of detachment
- Reduction of physical and psychological pain
- Relief from anxiety
Extremely high doses may leave the user in a coma.
How to Help Someone Addicted to Methadone
Despite the need for a prescription, methadone for recreational use is not as difficult to access as it should be, with many even accessing pills online. This increases people’s risk of drug addiction.
It is never easy to stop seeking a regular methadone high once you’re addicted. Abruptly stopping use can cause uncomfortable side effects, hence the need for medical supervision. It is very important to consult with a doctor on a regular basis before discontinuing the use of methadone.
The first step to recovery from methadone addiction for most patients would be a medically assisted detox program. Medications are given while slowly decreasing the dosage of the drug, with proper monitoring. The withdrawal process, however, may not be sufficient to recover fully from a substance abuse disorder. Other therapies are needed to address the problems that drive patients’ behaviors, rectify these issues, learn coping skills, and develop a long-term plan for sobriety.
Treatment at a Christ-based recovery center is highly recommended. At Haven House, a Nashville recovery center, we work closely with patients to reduce their dosage over time and transition the patient off methadone safely. We help them change for the better by helping them strengthen their faith and grow spiritually. We also have group sessions, therapies, and life skills training. We allow them to work at our thrift shops so they can learn new things and practice discipline and teamwork. This will help them prepare for the future and real-life challenges outside our facility.