3 Dangerous Complications of Methadone Abuse

3 Dangerous Complications of Methadone Abuse

Methadone abuse can result in overdose

Methadone is commonly used in the treatment of drug dependency, especially heroin dependency, and is used to manage pain. The abuse of methadone is remarkably higher than it was in the late 1990s, and research by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) has shown a 390 percent increase in methadone-related deaths from 1999 to 2004.

While the drug offers several medical benefits, the increasing shift of its abuse has solidified the overall concern regarding its prescription frequency. Doctors have favored methadone when it comes to prescribing a drug for pain relief as it is much cheaper than other pain relieving medications like OxyContin. When a drug is more commonly prescribed, it becomes more accessible for everyone. Furthermore, if the drug is a cheaper alternative to heroin or other opioid narcotics, abusers will be inclined to purchase the cheapest option for their high.

There are several dangers of abusing an opioid drug like methadone, especially when it is abused with other drugs or alcohol. Three dangerous complications of methadone abuse are as follows:


Prolonged abuse of this drug can lead to physical dependency and psychological addiction. When users decide they want to quit or they cannot maintain their addiction, they may experience several withdrawal symptoms, such as anxiety, irritability, mood swings, nausea, agitation, paranoia, bodily aches and pains, sweating, and drug cravings. The need to overcome withdrawal and adhere to drug cravings can lead to desperate behaviors, such as stealing, lying, borrowing money and engaging in self-destructive behaviors.

Overdose and Bad Drug Interactions

In 2012 the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released data showing that methadone accounted for nearly 30 percent of all painkiller overdose fatalities, and many of these cases involved alcohol or another drug. Methadone abuse takes many forms, but for those with pure recreational intent, it is common to mix the drug with other substances to magnify the effects. Mixing methadone or other opiates with alcohol is volatile and can lead to respiratory depression, heart failure, death, and liver disease. Mixing methadone with other drugs increases the risk of overdose considerably.

Medical Illness

Methadone is linked to the development of several medical illnesses, most notably hepatitis C. Taking methadone intravenously is common, and this form of drug administration is the second most common means of contracting AIDS/HIV in the US and the most common means of contracting hepatitis C. Research shows that an average of 67 to 84 percent of people being treated for methadone addiction have been infected with hepatitis C. Methadone use is also a major contributing factor of mental health illness since the drug alters the brain’s normal chemical makeup. On average, close to 50 percent of those with substance abuse disorders also have a co-occurring mental health illness.

If your drug use is putting your health, wellbeing and quality of life in jeopardy, please take this moment to think about getting help. If you have any questions and concerns or want to learn more about your options for treatment and recovery, you can call our toll-free helpline and speak with a trained admissions coordinator who can help. We are happy to provide you with the guidance, advice and information you need to make the best decision for your future in recovery. We are available 24 hours a day. If you’re ready to put an end to drug abuse or addiction, give us a call to hear more about how we can help you achieve your recovery goals.