Methadone Category: Opioids
Also called: meth, juice, phy.
How it’s used
Methadone is a green or blue liquid which you drink. It can only be prescribed by certain GPs. Methadone can help you reduce your cravings if you are addicted to heroin. It is an opiate, from the same family as heroin and morphine.
- Drowsiness, sleep
- Slower, shallower breathing
- Reduces cough reflex
- Reduces pain
- Dry eyes nose and mouth
- Your blood pressure goes down
- Long-term constipation
- Small pinpoint pupils
- Sweating, itching
- Pain in your bones
- Teeth problems, so it’s important to brush your teeth
- Your risk of overdose goes up if you take a break and then start using again as your tolerance will be lower
- You are more likely to overdose if you drink alcohol and use benzos while on methadone
- Methadone is poisonous to people who do not use it regularly so it is important to keep it out of reach of children or others in your home who may drink it by accident
If you are pregnant
If you are addicted to heroin, your doctor can prescribe methadone to stabilise you before your baby is born. Your baby may go through withdrawal symptoms after birth. Only use methadone under medical supervision and only during your middle trimester (3-6 months of pregnancy).
Methadone is physically and psychologically addictive, so your body craves it and you feel you can’t cope without it. You can build tolerance so you need to take more to get the same effect.
You will start withdrawal within 72 hours of your last dose. Withdrawal is less severe if you reduce your dose gradually rather than stop suddenly. Opiate withdrawal symptoms include aches, tremor, diarrhoea, sweating and chills, sneezing, yawning and muscular spasms. You may have sleep problems, cravings and mood swings for weeks.
How long does it stay in your system?
Methadone shows up in a urine test for 2-3 days. (The length of time depends on the test used, the amount you take, if you have other medical conditions and your own metabolism. Please use this figure as a guide only).
What help is available?
- Self-help support such as Narcotics Anonymous
- Counselling or psychotherapy
- Support from your doctor to reduce, stabilise or withdraw from methadone
- Complementary therapies, such as acupuncture
- Residential treatment programmes (clinics)
- One to one or group family support
- Contact the Drugs Helpline 1800 459 459 to find out about options in your area