Methadone effects stem from methadone, which is used as a replacement therapy for those addicted to strong narcotics, usually heroin, but morphine as well. In this context, it mimics the effects of heroin with some important differences.
Methadone is taken orally (usually as a syrup) and is absorbed more slowly than injecting or smoking heroin. This means it doesn’t have the “rush” that addicts crave. It also has less ability to create the euphoric feelings that come from morphine or heroin use. Because of this, it is thought that methadone is less addictive. However, it would be misleading to say that methadone isn’t addictive at all. It has a very high risk for dependence, just not as high as morphine or heroin.
The methadone effects, other than those mentioned above, parallel other narcotics. There is drowsiness, constricted pupils, constipation and slowed breathing. Nausea may also occur. Properly dosed, and in a patient population that has been abusing other narcotics, these methadone effects are minimal.
Caregivers who are licensed to dispense methadone are required to offer treatment to addicts. By itself, methadone will not cure narcotic addiction. It will help with cravings and withdrawal. Research shows that using methadone instead of “street drugs” can reduce the harm caused by narcotic addiction. This comes because of reduced risk for disease transmission, infection, and a chance to escape the “heroin lifestyle.” All of these, in combination with treatment for addiction, shows promise for methadone as a step towards kicking narcotics altogether.
In some ways, addicts can improve their lives and gain hope if they are put on methadone as a step towards abstinence. Because they are no longer at risk of imprisonment and other consequences of an illegal addiction, the stability helps reduce the collateral damage. This is especially important in the areas of getting a job and keeping a family unit together.
A key methadone effects of treatment is that the drug blocks some of the effects of morphine and heroin – meaning that even addicts who try to switch back will not get the same level of euphoria from other drugs. While this blocking is short term, it may be enough for an addict to “make the right choice.”
Criticisms of methadone effects come from a community which would prefer no drugs at all for addicts, rather than a safer alternative.