Women and Methadone Addiction

Women and Methadone AddictionMethadone is an opioid drug that has been prescribed for decades to help those addicted to opiates. The drug helps prevent withdrawal symptoms while avoiding the dramatic highs and lows of other opiates.

Women’s Prescription Methadone Use

Many women only begin using methadone when it is prescribed to them by their doctor as a treatment for an existing opiate addiction. Widespread prescription use of methadone by women began about five years after it was first prescribed to men. Doctors feared that methadone might adversely interfere with women’s reproductive health and be particularly dangerous during pregnancy. Methadone is now considered to be as safe for women as for men, even though it may depress fertility. While taking methadone under medical supervision during pregnancy carries risks, it is generally preferred over continued abuse of other opiates or the stresses of withdrawal.

Women Abusing Methadone

Unfortunately, many women supply their opiate addiction with methadone obtained outside the boundaries of medical treatment. Although the strict regulation of methadone in the US specifies that the drug is only to be taken as an addiction treatment on the premises of specifically designated methadone clinics, the drug can still be obtained illegally either from acquaintances or dealers.

The effects of methadone may attract women to use it over other opiates. Although methadone rarely gives the user a dramatic rush, taking it in large doses can produce hours of euphoria and confidence. This drug can seem like a better fit for women who use drugs to medicate emotional or psychological problems. It can also be less disruptive to work and family obligations than heroin or other prescription painkillers.

Between Addiction and Treatment

Using methadone without a prescription can also be seen by women as a way to control their opiate addiction without formally engaging in treatment. Although they may recognize they have a problem, seeking formal treatment for addiction can jeopardize their relationship with their children. Women with known drug problems can lose their children, temporarily or permanently, to other relatives or even foster care. Regaining them could mean months of demonstrated drug-free living. Participation in a formal methadone maintenance program may even disqualify women from being fit parents in the eyes of some family court judges.

To avoid these complications, women may take methadone on their own in an effort to control their addiction. Unfortunately, because they must control their own dosing and they are without any counseling, women trying to control their addiction in this way are at a disadvantage.

Getting Help

If you or someone you know is a woman addicted to methadone, call our toll-free, 24 helpline to learn more about treatment options. Whether methadone is a drug of choice or an attempt at self-treatment, there is a better solution. Call now.