Since the 1960’s, methadone has been prescribed to patients overwhelmed by opioid addiction. In contrast to naltrexone (which you can learn more about here), methadone is an opioid agonist, meaning that it triggers opioid receptors in the brain instead of blocking them. Therefore, it is used as a replacement therapy for other opioid agonists like heroin (Stotts, Dodrill, & Kosten, 2009).
Methadone makes opioid withdrawal more manageable by changing how the brain feels pain, stabilizing cravings without the euphoric feelings that make opioids so addictive. In other words, a person on methadone treatment will not feel the effect of opioids; this makes taking drugs while on methadone even more dangerous, since you might choose to take even more opioids than usual in an attempt achieve the same effect (The Drug Policy Alliance).
The ideal length of time and dosage of methadone a person needs varies individually; some people may need methadone treatment for longer than others, even years. It is available in three different forms (pill, liquid, or wafer) and taken once a day, with relief usually lasting up to 8 hours (SAMHSA, 2016).
Whatever the ideal dosage may be, anyone interested in methadone treatment must receive the medication from a licensed physician. Eventually patients may be allowed to take the medication at home, but because methadone can also have addictive properties, it is imperative that a treatment regimen be followed exactly. Only opioid treatment programs (OTP) licensed by SAMHSA are allowed to dispense methadone.
OTP-certified methadone clinics in Memphis:
Behavioral Health Group Memphis
- Midtown 1734 Madison Ave, Memphis, TN 38104 • 901-722-9420
- South 4539 Winchester Road, Ste 111, Memphis, TN 38118 • 901-205-7869
- North 2165 Spicer Cove, Ste 5, Memphis, TN 38118 • 901-581-9804
- Initial visit costs $60, then increases to $100 per week thereafter. Insurance is not accepted.