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Methadone (meth-a-done) is generally prescribed as an opiate substitute in the treatment of addiction of heroin and other opiates.
Methadone is a long acting analgesic (pain relieving) drug which blocks feelings of pain and anxiousness and produces a general sense of well-being. People using it can experience a steady high compared to the effects of heroin and users may ‘gouch’ (drift in and out of consciousness with pleasant dreams). Other effects include nausea/vomiting, clamminess, sweating and a general feeling of weakness. People who take methadone usually do so because they are dependent.
Methadone usually comes as a bright green liquid which is swallowed. People with a tolerance or who are dependent on opiates often take 20-120ml or more. However, first time users or people that don’t have a tolerance for opiates should not take more than 10ml. A small dose can be fatal for those with no tolerance- ex opiate users are most at risk. These doses should not be taken as recommendations as the strength of methadone varies.
What you Need to Know
If you choose to use methadone:
- Don’t re-dose for at least 3 hours as effects usually take that long to peak
- Methadone has a residual effect, accumulating with repeat doses. If you get 'wrecked' taking a certain dose on the first day, this same dose may lead to overdose if taken over a number of days
- Your driving licence is invalid on a methadone treatment programme unless agreed by the DVLA following receipt of supportive medical advice
- Methadone that's prescribed by a doctor is controlled so you can be sure of its strength and that it has not been tampered with. You can't be as sure with liquid methadone that's bought on the street
- Remember a small amount can kill a non-tolerant adult (especially with alcohol)
- Methadone is sugary and can damage your teeth- brushing regularly can reduce this
- Naloxone can reverse an opiate overdose. Speak to your local drug service to find out more or visit: www.naloxone.org.uk
Class A drug (unless it has been prescribed to you). Penalties for possession are up to seven years in prison and/or an unlimited fine. Supply holds penalties of up to life in prison and/or an unlimited fine. Remember 'looking after' someone else's methadone is still an offence.
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