Is Methadone an Opioid?
Yes, methadone is an opioid medication; however, this opioid is NOT used as a pain reliever. Rather, methadone is used to treat individuals who are addicted to heroin and other opioids. Methadone reduces debilitating withdrawal symptoms without causing the euphoric high associated with the drug addiction. Methadone is used as part of drug addiction detoxification, Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT), and recovery and drug maintenance programs.
How Does Methadone Work?
Methadone works by changing how the brain and nervous system respond to pain. It lessens the painful symptoms of opiate withdrawal and blocks the euphoric effects of opiate drugs such as heroin, morphine, and codeine, as well as semi-synthetic opioids like oxycodone and hydrocodone. [SAMHSA]
This opioid medication is given by prescription for people in heroin dependence and addiction recovery programs. It works by reducing cravings for heroin and/or other strong opioid drugs and is only given at special methadone clinics or from a certified pharmacy.