Are you or any one you know addicted to opiates?

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Methadone is a common and successful treatment for helping patients get off opiates such as oxycodone, morphine, fentanyl and heroin,

Have you ever been put on a Methadone treatment plan? Did it help?

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  • Posted

    Hi Hinazille yes I have personal experience of methadone treatmernt for heroin addiction. Indeed I was maintained on methadone for over 20 years. That is the danger with methadone i.e. that one can get "parked up" on it indefinitely!. It is very hard to come off. Harder than heroin and any substitutes. I did not sleep for months literally! No joke I csan assure you. However methadone has it's place in treatment when it is used on a short term reduction that does not allow the client to get too comfortable. Bupenorphine is the favoured treatment drug these days although some say it is not as easy as it is claimed to be to come off. Speaking from personal experience (and without wishing to sound pompous I do know my drugs!) I reccomend dihydrocodeine 30mg tablets x2 or 3 times a day (30mg x4 for each dose on aversage) reduced at a pace that suits the client and when finally stopped replaced by gabapentin and temazapan. Coming off is far worse in expectation than reality. Belief that you can do it ( self-efficacy) is a crucial indicator of successful outcomes. Fear and lack of self-efficacy are what traps the individual in their addiction along with a non-supportive social and familial environment. Changing your behaviour patterns and social interactions to a recovery focussed background is really important and getting involved in purposeful activity (voluntering , attending NA and SMART groups etc) is crucial. When addiction stops the individual may experience a massive sense of loss and a bewildering loss of motivation when the cycle of scoring and acquiring the money to score stops. There may also be a loss of identity that needs rebuiding. Counselling can help massively here. So to conclude methadone is ok in short term controlled reduction but my personal preference is dihydrocodeine. I hope this helps. Others may disagree. All the best John

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    • Posted

      John! Thank you for your response! I agree with almost all of what you said, particularly the part about self belief and the need for counselling. I am a Pharmacist by profession and deal with Methadone users daily. I posted this question to get a better understanding of peoples experiences on this drug and what kind of counselling they might need from me as a health professional they trust.

      Methadone is an opiate as you know but the premise behind it is to encourage people to get off heroin, oxycodone, fentanyl, morphine, etc and get onto this so that the dose can gently be tapered off. Do you agree that Methadone is beneficial if given with the intention that it is short term (i.e. smallest dose possible for the shortest amount of time without feeling cravings, withdrawal or intoxicated)?

      Reason I ask this is because a lot of patients take MEthadone and then openly tell me they will take a hit later that day because they are forced by courts to be on the Methadone. This invalidates the purpose of taking Methadone from a health perspective, and substantially increases the risk of overdose. What would resonate with a user in order for them to understand this point and wholeheartedly partake in their treatment regimen?

      Thank you once again for your contribution, and congratulations on getting getting clean!

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    • Posted

      In my opinion...  methadone is used for long term treatment, with counsling.  If users are looking for somthing to detox from, then I believe suboxone would be a better treatment.  Most addicts I know,,including myself, have been through a 3 to 5 day detox many of time, just to find themselves relapsing as soon or shortly after they finish the detox.  Methadone is used as a long term treatment to allow addicts to live a normal life, not be out committing crimes, takes away all need and cravings, so relaps is unlikely.  Methadone is also should be used long term because addiction is a habit with the drug use, people, places and things, and humans are people of habit.  Methadone gives addicts time.. time to become unfamiliar with their habits and to learn new, healthy habits with the help of their counslers.  The role of the counsler is to also teach addicts how to cope with every day stressers of life,  to help get their lives in order, be their for the addict during this difficult learning process and to equipped to addict with all they need to live a clean and sober, happy and healthy life.  Only after the addict feels they are strong enough.. they should then taper off of methadone.  Some may never want to get off methadone.  The way I was taught in the methadone clinic, is that addiction is a disease just as cancer or MS.  People with cancer or Ms or any other disease need treatment to treat the disease.  Well, addiction is a disease and needs to be treated as such.  So, addicts should never think of methadone as a scape goat or just using another drug in place of heroin, oxys, ect.   That we were just taking medicine to treat our disease and that we needed it.. until we were strong enough.  Anyway.. I don't think that methadone would be good for short term use just to detox someone... addiction is a debilitating disease that is almost impossible to control on it's own.  Long term treatment is needed to give time to retrain the addicts brain.  These are just my opinions, I am not in the medical profression, but I am an addict of 15 years with 6 years clean.

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    • Posted

      Hi hinzalle absolutely I would agree that methadone has it's place in short term reductions and even long term reductions. However as you correctly point out it often results in a dual addiction with clients taking their methadone in the morning (supervised consumption) and then scoring heroin later in the day. I think a lot of users don't take on board the fact that a methadone habit decreases the effect of heroin. Really people get it or they don't and sometimes they get it later after they have reflected on what they have learned. Methadone is given as a damage limitation initiative in the hope that it stops users from criminal activities. Nowadays treatment agencies are less the kind of "script and go" attitude of the past and more focussed on an experiental /educative process that hopefully proves conducive in the long term to real change. In my view the biggest and most valuable tjhing you can give a drug dependent person who experiences prejudice and criticism from nearly everyone on a daily basis , is empathy and non-judgemental acceptance.

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    • Posted

      Yes... I actually know of many addicts that are in the methadone clinic that actually abuse the treatment program by still getting high on heroin or other drug of choice.   I find it very disturbing.  The program really does work... BUT.. only if the addict wants to get clean.  So for someone who isn't really ready or has been court ordered to take the methadone, the program will not work.  At the clinic that used to go to, they did random urine screenings.  The first "hot" urine you receieved, you were givin a warning and extra counsling.  The second "hot" urine, you were kicked out of the program and rapidly tapered off the methadone.  I'm not sure how other methadone programs work though.  For myself.. I knew I was ready to get clean and the program worked wonders.  I never had an urge to use again.  I have been clean since the day I walked in their doors.  I could only hope that other methadone maintnance programs are such as strict, to prevent addicts from abusing the programs and to also make room for the addicts that really want and need the help.  As the program I was in, had a long waiting list.  So, it's sad that alot of thoses spaces are being taken up by addicts who are not as serious in becoming clean and living a normal life as others may be.

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  • Posted

    No I've never been on methodone. But I am just coming off of fetanyl patches. Took me 2 months and I'm still not sleeping normal. Plus my pain level has risen a lot. I need something else in addition to the Percocet that I am taking daily but I am afraid to try butran patches because I will get hooked on them. I've seen multiple doctors who offer no clean and concise way off healing me. I am so tired of living with pain each day and only looking at new ways to mask it The surgeons in our country are a bunch of idiots with no clue how to heal anyone

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    • Posted

      Very sorry to hear of the pain you live with daily, I know it can be debilitating and severely affect the quality of your life. Fentanyl, oxycodone (in percocets) and butrans are all opiates and actually butrans is the weakest of the bunch.

      How many percocets are you taking daily and what strength? Also what pain are you suffering from may I ask as I might be able to give you some options to try/discuss with your GP?

      I understand how frustrating it can be to just mask the pain or to essentially deal with the symptoms and not the root cause of the problem. Have you tried any natural alternatives? Some of them have been found to be as effective as NSAIDs in dealing with pain.

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  • Posted

    I agree with most of what John says. The principal benefit of Methadone - and the reason it is used - is that it is cheap. However, of itself it is addictive without being pleasurable.

    subutex/ Suboxone is far better. The course is comparatively short.

    it is essential that you plan what to do after the detox. Narcotics Anonymous gives lifelong support, is free, requires no commitment (beyond a desire to stop using) and is widely available. 

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    • Posted

      Subutex is a shorter course for some but in my experience, I have seen patients be on that long term, only to be transferred onto Methadone after due to it not being so successful.

      I wholeheartedly agree with you that counselling and therapy should be provided to ensure that the users remain clean from a lifestyle perspective. With regards to your comment about it being addictive, yes it absolutely is, but once the patient is on a treatment plan the dr can cut the dosage by minute amounts (usually mls) to gradually wean the patient off. This is really where its success lies.

      I'm really asking this question so I can better counsel my patients and also because I would like to ensure that loved ones who may be searching for answers about Methadone or opiate addiction treatment options can get a feel for what the individual may be going through on a daily basis, so I write articles addressing this (and other health) issues online.

      Thank you for your input!

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  • Posted

    I was actually in methadone maintnance for 4 years.  It has helped me tremendously!  Since the moment I went into the program, I never touched another drug again, nor even thought about it.  It has helped me live a normal life.  I am very grateful for the program.. but with that being said, it truly is hard to come off of.  I actually couldn't do it and ended up switching to the suboxone program.  So, now I have been on subutex for 1 and a half years.  I am at 1 8mg pill a day and I am having trouble coming down lower.  I would agree though that the subutex is a little easier to taper off of them the methadone.  It just has to happen slow.  They are good at working with you to make you comfortable though.  You can come off when you are ready.. if ever, and they allow me to control my dose and to go down or up on the dose as needed.  If I could have went back knowing all this.. I would have went to the suboxone program to begin with.  But I didn't have the choice at the time because there was a 2 year waiting list to get the suboxone program. So.. yes, I would say that perhaps you should look into the suboxone program.  But both programs are good.  You do not get high off either methadone or suboxone.  You may feel good for a couple weeks but then you just feel normal. It does what it's suppose to and stops all cravings and allow you to live the normal life.  Best wishes....

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    • Posted

      Thank you for your caring response Melissa. Firstly let me say that you are doing a brilliant job, not only because you are successfully off other opiates, but also because you are consciously trying to reduce your dosage and get off the Suboxone completely too. It is commendable that you are not trying to remain on it for life, because I know how addictive it can be.

      Secondly, I think I should have made it clearer in my question - I am not an addict, have never used opiates, I am actually a Pharmacist and deal with Methadone, Subutex and opiate dependent patients daily. My aim in asking this question was to understand the problem points Methadone/Subutex patients might feel so that I could better counsel them and also my own patients.

      You make an interesting point about the Methadone being harder than the Subutex to come off of. Many find that the Methadone is easier as it can be so minutely reduced in dosage, so its hard overall, but a little more manageable than the subutex.

      What kind of withdrawal are you experiencing when you try to cut the suboxone dosage? and what amount of mg are you trying to cut down by and every how many weeks?

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    • Posted

      I should have read your respons to me firt before replying on someone elses..lol.  I thought you were asking if methadone should be just used for short term, more of a detox.  Anyway.. im my experience, as I mention some above, counseling should include in retraining the addict brain. Addicts lived in a life were they didn't have to deal with life or their problems, so they need to be taught how to make life choices, how to deal with their problems, mentally and physically.  They need to relearn how to live the "normal" way all over again.  They most likely will have either depression, anxiety or both, so they will need to learn to how to handle these and the healthy way to treat them.  They will need help and guidance in changing their people, places and things.  This a big one.  I have learned the hard way, many times, that you shouldn't walk past the house you used to get drugs from.. take the long way, and you also have to find new friends.  An addict cannot hang out with people they used to use with and expect they are strong enought to not use too.  Like I mentioned above.. humans are people of habit, so they must learn good habits to replace the old habits.  It's next ti impossible to just get rid of bad habits and not replace something in their place.  For example... an addict lives their life to get money, get drugs, get money, get drugs, so this pattern needs to be replaced with healthy hobbies.   A counsler maybe can help the addict decide what kind of job that would be good for them, maybe if the addict is a spiritual person, the counsler can help encourage them in growing spritually.  That was a big one for me.. I replaced my bad habits of thinking of drugs and that old life with God.  I now think about God just as much as I thought about drugs.  God is my new drug..  My counsler is amazing, she helps me make up life goals, small and large and encourages me to accomplish them and helps guide me with ways to accomplish them.  I believe it's all in retraining the brain.  Also, to find something to replace the drug use with.  I know for me, after times that I have tried to get clean, I would come home from rehab and find that I was bored.  I didn't know what to do with myself.  Addicts are so use to that fast life, that when that stimulation is stopped suddenly, they find themselves bored and confused.  For an addict to become clean and stay clean, they literally need to relearn how to live.. mentally and physically and a cousler can help give the addict guidance and clairity.  Anyway.. I wish you luck as a counsler.  Be patient with addicts that are just becoming accustommed to the clean life.. they are just like baby's.. needing to be retaught everything.   Best way I could put it...lol.

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    • Posted

      Oh.. and about your question on tapering off the subutex.. I was on the subutex for 1 and half years now.  I had to go on subutex because of bad side effect of the nalaxone in the suboxone.   I started on 3 8mg pills a day and am down to 1 8mg a day.  To taper off.. I'm not actually cutting the pill and measuring..lol.  Though I should.  I just break a little piece off the pill for the day and only take the rest.  I do this for a while and break more and more off of the pill.  When I start to feel bad.. I stop before I go any lower.  Somtimes I actually feel too bad and have to go up a little before I can go low.  This works for me.  Symptoms I have when I just go too low are, clammy feeling, slight neausea, insomnia and fautigue.  I believe the trick to tappering off, for me anyway, is to just go slow.  Like I said.. sometimes I actually have to go up a little for a couple days before I start to go even lower again.  I hope I was able to share at least some valuable information with you.  Best wishes to you!

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  • Posted

    I started on Oxycodone for degenerative discs in my lower back around 7yrs ago before being put onto Oxycontin by my GP at a dose of 800mgs per day. At times I was taking around 1500mgs per day due to my addiction. I have never taken illegal drugs in my life, not even weed of any kind before this.

    My GP that got me on Oxycontin never once told me how addictive they were & how they would totally destroy my life which. They did, big time!!!

    I have been on methadone now for around 3 months after changing GP surgeries due to the GP that put me on Oxy refused to see me any longer when i needed help to get off it

    I'm on 105mgs methadone per day. I did manage to taper down to 320mgs of Oxycontin but I couldn't drop no lower no matter how hard i tried. I just couldn't do it.

    Although I haven't touched Oxy since going onto methadone I still get cravings for it. I don't get any counseling at all from the substance misuse service, I just go every two weeks to pick up my script & that's it.

    I've also been told that I really need to be off methadone by April 2017 due to the fact that this service will no longer treat people addicted to OTC medication or opiates prescribed by a GP. I am also told that I am the only person being treated by them on Oxy. Everyone else they treat are heroin addicts.

    I know no one put a gun to my head & forced me to eat all this Oxycontin but, no one told me how addictive it was either & how it would totally destroy my life.

    So now not only have I been through 7yrs of pure hell, I now find myself being forced to get off a dose of methadone that I am not as yet at a stable dose on, as i still at times get leg cramps at night, runny eyes, constant yawning etc etc, before I'm forced off of it come April & then what????

    My only option I am being forced to take is heroin, that way at least I will get treated by the same service that is kicking me out because I am addicted to a drug that is man made heroin that the NHS put me on in the first place.

    And anyone that tells me Oxycontin is not like heroin as a lot of people in the UK have said, I'm sorry but they don't call it "Hillbilly Heroin" in the states (where it has killed 1000's through overdose) for no reason!!

    I would like to thank the GP that prescribed me this drug from hell 7yrs ago that said "you can't get addicted to it" i now know that was Purdue Pharma sales rep probably talking. It may even have been one of the reps that got a $70k or $250k bonus in around 2004. So the reps & Purdue Pharma got richer while thousands of people's lives were ruined by Oxycontin.

    What a lovely world this is that we live in!!!!

    Ritchie

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