News from Scotland around methadone overdoses highlights the need for better access to detox, rehab and extended care – to help people stop taking methadone and heroin safely. Since 1996-97, 4,479 people have been hospitalised following a methadone overdose – including 222 hospital admissions in 2017-18.
When methadone treatment is properly planned and supervised, it can provide people with a safer alternative to buying and consuming street drugs like heroin. Taking methadone instead of heroin can reduce risks to health and personal safety, as well as incidents of drug-related crime.
However, black market supplies of methadone, double dosing with heroin or other opioids, mixing alcohol with methadone and using methadone long-term can all lead to health complications and fatalities. Research shows that the older you get as a methadone user, the greater your risk of dying from methadone-specific causes.
What is Methadone Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder?
Methadone is a synthetic opiate drug, prescribed by clinicians as a substitute for heroin or other addictive opioids. Methadone treatment for opiate addicts should always be carefully planned and supervised by qualified professionals. Therapeutic rehabilitation should always be offered alongside methadone substitution, to help people overcome their psychological addiction to drugs.
As part of an effective care plan, there should always be a goal of reducing and stopping the doses methadone over time. People should be offered addiction therapy from the outset, to support them becoming drug-free and maintaining recovery from opioid addiction.
How to Stop Taking Methadone – Safe Detox, Rehab and Extended Care
Methadone works by targeting the same receptors as heroin and other opioid drugs. Although the effects of methadone are different to heroin, it is still a physically addictive drug. The higher the dose of methadone, and the more you take it, the greater the likelihood of withdrawal symptoms if you stop taking methadone.
As with all opioids, Addiction Helper advises a clinically supervised detox for methadone. This is best managed in a residential detox centre, where doctors, nurses and qualified drugs workers provide care and support, 24 hours a day. For people with co-occurring mental illnesses, we will recommend a facility with dual diagnosis expertise.
Whilst you’re detoxifying safely from methadone (and any other physically addictive drugs or alcohol), we recommend that you participate in a structured methadone rehab programme. The addiction treatment centres we work with tend to run their detox programmes along side rehabilitation – so you’ll benefit from addiction therapies and alternative treatments from day one.
Most people feel comfortable and supported during a methadone detox, so they participate fully in the rehab programme from the start. In the rare cases where people feel unwell, you can still benefit from sitting in on group therapy sessions. Hearing the experiences of recovering peers will give you insights into your own addiction. Working with trained therapists will help you develop relapse-prevention and recovery strategies, so you can look forward to the future.
Methadone Extended Care
At Addiction Helper, we can refer you to addiction treatment centres that provide extended care, beyond the first phase of treatment (primary care).
Extended care is structured addiction treatment, which has a greater focus on community reintegration and independent living. Sober living housing can support your goal to stay drug-free, helping you to build recovery support and restart your life.
If you’re already in primary treatment for addiction, we can also advise on you on transferring to another facility for extended care.
The Addiction Helper team are here to take your call, day and night. Please get in touch about methadone detox, rehab and extended care programmes.