Methadone High: What the Effects are and How It Works

Last Updated: June 24, 2020

Authored by Olivier George, Ph.D.

Reviewed by Michael Espelin APRN

Getting high on methadone is not a rare thing. People who start using the drug to treat heroin addiction become more at risk of abuse because of drug dependency history. Some patients use higher doses than prescribed, making methadone recreational use fairly common.

Can One Get High on Methadone?

Methadone, a synthetic opioid sold under the brand name Dolophine, is prescribed for moderate to severe pain. It is commonly used to treat opiate addiction, especially heroin, and reduces painful withdrawal symptoms. It was classified as a Schedule II drug by the FDA.

Although its euphoric effect is limited, it causes several other side effects, including sedation, reduced reaction time and attention span, drowsiness, droopy eyelids, muscle weakness, low blood pressure, and little to no reaction to light.

These side effects are worsened in high doses, creating an actual “high” feeling. The methadone euphoria effect is also increased based on the method of administration, such as IV use.

How Can One Get High on Dolophine?

There are several ways to get a feeling of methadone high. Different routes of administration can cause overdosing with no trouble.

Smoking

Smoking is one of the techniques to get high on an opioid. Smoking methadone also allows fast delivery of the substance to the bloodstream via the lungs. Some users prefer this route because of its immediate and intense high effect. However, it is extremely dangerous and may result in lung obstruction and overdose.

Snorting

Snorting methadone allows quick delivery of the drug to the brain via the blood-brain barrier because it skips liver metabolism. However, this causes severe nasal damage.

crushed methadone pills

Plugging

Another dangerous way to take methadone to get high is plugging. This technique also bypasses liver metabolism. Hence the effect is fast and heightened, so are the side effects as well.

Injecting

IV use is one of the most common ways to use a drug. While shooting liquid methadone is easier, others crush the tablets into powder form to mix with water. This converts the methadone PO to IV immediately. It is then injected directly into a vein. This does not require absorption and digestion in the gastrointestinal tract, as well as liver metabolism.

Parachuting

Users who want to secure a faster and prolonged 10mg methadone high effect while avoiding the unpleasant taste of the drug do parachuting. The drug is folded and rolled in a piece of paper. There is a sustained release of the drug because the paper acts as a parachute.

This technique, however, is hazardous. If the paper is accidentally inhaled, one may suffer from airway obstruction and a bowel perforation.

Drug Interactions

Some of the best methadone potentiators include alcohol and other prescription drugs. For example, methadone and oxycodone are both central nervous system depressants that are used for pain relief. The additive effects of these substances can amplify side effects and cause a “high” feeling. 

Many people also mix Dolophine and alcohol purposely in an attempt to experience the high that these substances can produce. Even an average methadone dose can bring on the nervous system side effects when mixed with alcohol.

bottle with methadone pills

How Long Does It Take for Methadone to Kick In?

Methadone, as discussed earlier, is available in different forms and can be given through several means. Aside from the dosages, the route used to administer the drug will affect the speed of drug delivery and its effects.

How long the effects of methadone last will again depend on the dosage and individual metabolism, but the average its half-life is about 24-36 hours, and it can stay in the body for up to 5 days after the last dose.

How Does Dolophine High Feel?

Like other opioids, this medication can slow body functions to deficient levels. It can alter brain chemistry, and repeated use makes the drug seem like more of a necessity. A high methadone dose can produce the following effects: 

  • Warmth
  • Euphoria
  • Feeling of detachment
  • Reduction of physical and psychological pain
  • Relief from anxiety

Extremely high doses may result in a coma.

Who is More Likely to Get High on Dolophine?

Recovering heroin addicts often rely on this medication to help relieve withdrawal symptoms. Is methadone addictive?  Yes, it is. After regular and prolonged use, physical dependence and tolerance may develop. Patients will soon start asking for higher doses to get the desired drug effects.

Recreational Use of Methadone and Addiction

Despite being a prescription drug, methadone recreational dose is very easy to purchase. With access to these highly addictive pills online, abuse is relatively common. This increases people’s risk of drug addiction.

It is never easy to go off the drug. While a methadone antidote is available and helpful in saving patients overdosing on opioids, abrupt removal of the drug can cause uncomfortable side effects, hence requiring medical supervision. It is always recommended to consult a doctor before discontinuing the use of this drug.

Look for an accredited rehabilitation facility or free methadone clinics for treatment options.

Medications are given to help relieve withdrawal symptoms while slowly decreasing the dosage of the drug. Some patients, however, may require additional treatment to fully recover from a substance abuse disorder. Behavioral therapies are helpful in securing long-term sobriety.


Page Sources

  1. https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2006/006134s028lbl.pdf
  2. https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a682134.html

Published on: March 13th, 2017

Updated on: June 24th, 2020

About Author

Olivier George, Ph.D.

Olivier George is a medical writer and head manager of the rehab center in California. He spends a lot of time in collecting and analyzing the traditional approaches for substance abuse treatment and assessing their efficiency.

Medically Reviewed by

Michael Espelin APRN

8 years of nursing experience in wide variety of behavioral and addition settings that include adult inpatient and outpatient mental health services with substance use disorders, and geriatric long-term care and hospice care.  He has a particular interest in psychopharmacology, nutritional psychiatry, and alternative treatment options involving particular vitamins, dietary supplements, and administering auricular acupuncture.

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