Methadone Addiction Overdose

Methadone Addiction Overdose

Is Methadone Killing More Than Just Pain?

For anyone that isn't familiar with methadone, this article will help you get a better understanding of how useful this drug can be as a prescribed methadone treatment and just how dangerous and lethal it can be when methadone is abused.

Methadone is a man-made synthetic narcotic that's prescribed to treat severe pain and also medically prescribed for the detoxification and maintenance of the heroin addiction and dependency. Methadone is a Schedule II substance because there's high potential for abuse of this drug.

Because methadone is quite similar to morphine, it helps in reducing heroin withdrawal symptoms in many individuals. For the treatment of pain, many times this drug is used for individuals suffering from cancer or terminal illnesses. Methadone has been available legally since 1947 in the United States but unfortunately now, is considered a drug of abuse. When used as prescribed, there are many benefits to this prescription drug.

Not only is methadone treatment successfully helping many people with heroin addiction and withdrawal symptoms, but people are abusing this narcotic in many ways. The abuse of methadone leads to tolerance, dependency and addiction as well as a methadone overdose for many individuals. Because methadone became so widely prescribed by physicians in the past and the dispensing of this controlled drug wasn't closely monitored, the use and abuse of methadone was responsible for drug related medical emergencies. In 2001, methadone was involved in 10,725 emergency department visits.

Florida keeps very detailed data and in 2007 they listed methadone as a cause in 785 deaths. In 2003, there were 367 methadone related deaths. As you can see, methadone abuse and overdose is definitely increasing.

What are the causes of Methadone Overdose?

One way a methadone overdose can take place is if an individual takes more of the drug than recommended or prescribed. Another cause of methadone overdose is when an individual takes it along with painkillers like Oxycontin, Vicodin or Morphine. Methadone overdoses are associated with the following:

  • Severe respiratory depression
  • Decreased heart rate and blood pressure
  • Coma
  • Death

Mixing alcohol with methadone can increase the risk of respiratory depression and sedation. Many individuals are taking handfuls of different drugs at a time to get a euphoric high and drinking alcohol on top of it. It's important that people understand that abusing this drug or mixing methadone with other drugs is extremely dangerous and has proved to be lethal many times.

Not long ago in June, a married couple in Clearwater died in their apartment from an accidental prescription drug overdose. Both he and his wife had taken OxyCodone and Methadone. The husband died from a methadone overdose and the wife died from an overdose of multiple drugs. They were both only 35 years old. They had four children and they died one day before their oldest son graduated from high school. Four children, and in just one day they lose both of their parents to drug overdose. Their lives will never be the same due to methadone and drug abuse.

Much tighter restrictions are in place now than there was a few years ago but there is still much needed improvement when it comes to regulating and prescribing methadone. There are also still many doctors and healthcare professionals prescribing this drug without monitoring it the way it should be. Nevertheless, there are still individuals out there abusing this drug and methadone dependency and overdose is still an issue.

A press conference in Harrisburg Pennsylvania was held last month associated with a Methadone Accountability Package that's designed at increasing the safety and accountability for reducing the illicit use of methadone and methadone overdose deaths. Due to increased use and abuse of prescription medications like methadone and buprenorphine, drug overdoses have dramatically risen in recent years.

Methadone is a different type substance, if an individual is opiate intolerant or has a low opiate tolerance, one pill or dose can be lethal for that person. There have been fatal consequences for some individuals who took methadone a day or two earlier and then a couple of days later mixed alcohol or other drugs.

Just recently in August, a 19 year old young man overdosed on methadone, his name was Barret Peterson. He went out drinking with some of his friends and sometime during the night he took methadone, came home went to bed and never woke up. The chief medical examiner's office said that they are seeing more deaths linked to methadone and in the last three years there were about 6 overdoses connected to methadone abuse.

His parents and loved ones join the many other families out there who are emotionally and physically suffering from the loss of a loved one due to methadone overdose. To look at this young man's bright smile and knowing someday he would have so much to offer the world is devastating to think he's gone.

Symptoms of Methadone Overdose

There are symptoms to look for that are extremely important. As with any overdose, it's vitally important to seek medical attention immediately. The following symptoms are associated with an overdose of methadone.

  • Body muscle spasms
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Shallow-slow breathing
  • Breathing has stopped (can be fatal within 2-4 hours)
  • Pupils are pin-point in size
  • Skin is bluish in color
  • Fingernails and lips are bluish in color
  • Spasms of the stomach and intestinal tract
  • Constipation
  • Pulse is weakened
  • Low blood pressure
  • Drowsiness
  • Disoriented
  • Coma

Methadone Withdrawal Symptoms

When methadone is used on a regular basis, whether you are legally taking this drug or not, if you abruptly stop taking it some of the following symptoms will likely occur. Withdrawals from methadone are uncomfortable, but not life threatening. Withdrawal symptoms tend to be more severe than morphine or heroin withdrawals. Methadone Withdrawal Symptoms include:

  • Sweating and chills
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Pupils will be dilated
  • Irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Diarrhea
  • Sneezing along with runny nose
  • Anxiety
  • Possible panic and paranoia
  • Tremors
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Itching
  • Sweating
  • Fever
  • Hallucinations both visual and auditory

An individual should never just cold turkey the use of methadone but should seek the assistance of a qualified treatment center, detoxification facility or healthcare professional for assistance and treatment.

As you can see, methadone abuse is extremely serious and methadone overdose is real. Not everyone is fortunate and lives through it. Don't let this happen to you or someone you love and care about. Call 1-800-559-9503 and find help now. Don't let the next fatal overdose news article I find be about you or someone you love.

Websites used in this article
National Drug Intelligence Center
Stop the Drug
New York Times:
Methadone and Methadone Addiction:

Topic Discussion

  1. Addict

    I myself started on the Methadone maintnance program about 1 year ago! I am a 28 yr old female, and though methadone did help me some what with my drug addiction to opiates, i do wish that I would of used differant avenues of sobriety! Now I find mysel addicted to something all over again. Almost trapped to going daily to my program where I take my methadone daily! i also found that using the methadone I had the urge to use cocaine or a stimulant to keep me up during the day. I am very afraid of the day when i decide its time to come off. For I definitly want to have children. There are many perks to being on this, but many down sides too. Just amke sure you weigh out all the pros and cons!!!

  2. Addict

    I was addicted to opiates for almost 5 years and never had any problems with overdose when i started a methadone program i felt so good it was undiscribeable first time i was able to put away heroin addiction
    in 20 daysit was so easy i just could not believe it the reason i relapsed was it was too easy to kick heroin habit oneof the most dangerous addictions in the world, but after 3rd and the fourth i was so used to methadone i decided to forget about hard drugs and their way of life, methadone was so great the beautiful rush it has ,it makes you so happy ,and its effects are nothing like using heroin ,only administer the medication once a day, it can easily go up to 36 hours,and seems to you like you can use higher and higher doses and nothing will happen, also it is easy to drink lots of alcohol and maybe antidepressants that is where it will strike,I overdosed 4 times in 3 months I was lucky I did not die,worst of all is when some people mix it with myth because that way, and for methadone seems like you do not get addicted to myth when you use both of them you can not feel the lack of not having myth in you so they do a lot of them, and that is the end of the line o.d like that is extremely easy many have died mixing those two,methadone can be a wonder drug if used under supervision of a medical doctor but using it to get high will take you to where you don t want to go.

  3. Addict

    The worst day of life was my family telling my 33 year old brother overdosed on methadone. Please be aware that the side effects include a warning label for death. You don't know how your body is going to take this... Wishing you all the best of God's blessings in your recovery.

  4. Addict

    I recently found out my daughter 22yrs old is addicted to Methadone...I was shocked that I hadn't seen it before, she hid it very easy..she has a 4 yr old little girl. This little girl is so confused she has no idea what is going on in her life..My Daughter was a wonderful caring Mother, that girl is gone..
    She has pushed us all away.. She has began to avoid all her life friends..she is ignoring her Child, and worst of all I think she is just heartless..
    She has a friend they are always together, been that way since she was 3.She was suppose to be in her wedding..She never returned her call's..She had another friend that she has been with for the last 18 yrs.

    • Addict


      You cannot force any to get help until they are ready. If you force them then they are more likely to relapse but if you give them the option for treatment and they choose to go on their own terms they are more likely to be successful.

      Your child is not heartless and more often than not when an addict starts pulling away it is because they themselves are scared, ashamed and don't want to hurt the people they love nor do they want you to see their weakness. Addiction is just that a weakness.

      I am not saying your daughter is weak. Once addicted to a substance you cannot just stop using as your body will continue to crave that drug. Without the appropriate treatment that craving is to powerful and the addict is powerless.

      I would tell you to let your daughter know you are there for her if she wants help but for no reason should you give your daughter money. She may tell you it's for food, shelter, ect.. but that money will just be supplying her fix and that will make you the enabler. Tough Love Sucks and is hard but you need to be the strong one.

      You need to also find a friend or family member that you trust and lean on them as you will need support. As far as your granddaughter in my opinion you take your daughter to court and get custody. You do what you must to keep that baby safe as she is an innocent victim in all this.

      Down the road you could try an intervention. Find an intervention specialist near you to help you gather as many close friends and family to confront your daughter. Her seeing that her addiction is hurting the people she loves and cares about the most could push her toward accepting treatment.

      You can also call 1-800-559-9503 to get information on intervention specialists near you.

      I wish you the best. Where also here for support. Keep us informed.


  5. Addict

    Imo, I think that the problem with methadone is not so much the fact that people are selling their drugs… that will always happen as long as addictive analgesics are available… the lack of control the clinics have over how much medication they’re dispensing and the lack of education that kids have about the dangers or opioid analgesics are factors that people tend to overlook. I read an article about a study that found that over 80% of students surveyed thought that you couldn’t die from overdosing on methadone, only heroin.

  6. Addict

    My Mom died in 2009 at the age of 49 from Methadone toxicity. I still have so many questions about this drug and the way she died...this is how I found my way onto this website. I never knew she was taking Methadone. She was not prescribed it. I do feel that if her doctor would've done random drug testing, the methadone would have been discovered and she may be alive today. But, this isn't a perfect world and her doctor is known for being a pill peddler. So why would he drug test? She left behind three children with me being the oldest and only daughter. She also left behind two grandchildren at the time, now three but she never met her first granddaughter (my daughter). I'm sure that if Methadone is taken correctly and monitored loosely, it is a helpful drug. However, I see it as the killer of my mom that is gone way too soon. If anyone out there is reading this and you are taking this med without it being prescribed, please know that this can happen to you and you will leave family and friends behind that wish they could've done something to help and that bane themselves.

  7. Addict

    I lost my sister one week today. She was being treated with methadone at a clinic She missed her appointment and I was unaware of all this she has been on it for five years. She almost died last Jan. She did not tell my sister and I none of this. I was told she was getting it off the street from another girls contact and she passed away on Dec 26 last yr. I am at wits end with all this info. Can anyone help?

  8. Addict

    My son passed away just 8 days after his 28th birthday on Jan 12th, 2013. I found out he was taking Methadone with other pills and he went to sleep and never woke up. We are devastated! Please think about what you are doing before you mix drugs. We miss him so much!!! He was trying to come off other drugs on his on and thought he could handle it! I love you...Lil B forever!

  9. Addict

    I have been on 80mg per day of methadoe with 60mg per day oxycodone as a back up for 10 years, then 30mg per day dilauded with codone, for two years and now back to the 80mg methdaone. I am on it cause of the mesh problem with hernias. I am in extreme pain nonstop. Some days are better than others. I also take lots of advil per the doctor as well. On top of it all I go through severe rounds of depression and have been close to taking my life a few times if friends didn't stop me. With the current back up drug and drinking once in a blue moon should I be worried? Is the methadone one of the causes to the depression since I hate being on it and try not to take the drugs of any kind? Can this combination kill me?
    Thank you for any information you can give.

Leave a comment


To protect the integrity of our site all comments are reviewed prior to being shown, we apologize for the small delay, but this brings a better experience for our readers. SPAM & rude comments are not tolerated. Using the 'Connect with Facebook' option will get your comment up faster!

Contact A Substance Abuse Counselor

We help people take the first steps toward getting help for their drug and alcohol usage and having drug-free lifestyles. To contact an alcohol/drug abuse counselor, please call 1-800-591-6474(Info iconWho Answers?).

Socialize with us
Close Icon

Where do calls go?

Calls to numbers on a specific treatment center listing will be routed to that treatment center. Additional calls will also be forwarded and returned by a quality treatment center within the USA.

Calls to any general helpline (non-facility specific 1-8XX numbers) for your visit will be answered by a licensed drug and alcohol rehab facility, a paid advertiser on

All calls are private and confidential.