Methadone is an opioid medication and is used as part of detoxification/withdrawal management for opioids and maintenance programs. Methadone suppresses withdrawal symptoms and reduces or eliminates drug cravings. Methadone is not a “cure” and is part of treatment and recovery. Through treatment, people who have Addiction involving opioids receive the medical and supportive care they need to stabilize and improve their lives. They are encouraged to engage in recovery to optimize health and wellbeing, as abstinence alone is not enough.
Methadone is a long-acting opioid drug used to replace the shorter-acting opioids such as heroin, oxycodone, fentanyl or hydromorphone. Long-acting means that the drug acts more slowly in the body, for a longer period of time. The effects of methadone last for 24 to 36 hours. In contrast, a person who uses short-acting opioids to avoid withdrawal must use three to four times a day.
When taken at the correct dose, methadone prevents withdrawal symptoms and reduces drug cravings without causing the person to feel high (euphoric) or sleepy.