Chemical Dependency Health Services

Offering Hope, Promoting Change, Reuniting Families and Rebuilding Lives


                                                       Here at C D H S, we are happy to answer your questions.



We try to anticipate questions you might have about our PRODUCT / SERVICE and provide the answers here. If you need additional information please contact us.


What is Methadone?

Methadone is a medication used to alleviate symptoms of addiction and in some cases it is used to provide relief for chronic pain. Methadone is a synthetic narcotic and mimics the action of opiates on opiate receptor sites in the brain.


Who uses Methadone

Methadone /Suboxone maintenance is used by those who are addicted to pain pills, heroin, or other opiates. Most have tried to stop using these drugs but have not been able to stay drug free for the long term. For over 40 years, and despite negative publicity Methadone Maintenance remains the most effective intervention for treating opiate dependency. It is the "gold standard" for pregnant mothers who are opiate dependent and methadone/suboxone is safe for persons who are HIV positive or who have Hepatitis-C.


How Does it work?

All opioid drugs affect the chemistry of the brain in similar ways. Because of this, Methadone/Suboxone can be safely used to replace the opioid drug the individual is dependent on. Methadone/Suboxone improves the  opioid dependent person's sense of well being by preventing withdrawal symptoms and relieving drug cravings.

Methadone is long acting (about 24 hours), and usually only requires one dose per day. Suboxone is in pill form and can be dispensed in smaller doses several times a day.  Other opioids ,such as heroin and pain pills require much more frequent doses in order to avoid withdrawal.

Methadone is in liquid form and may be diluted with water and prepared as a drink. When a stable dose is taken orally on a daily basis, it does not have a euphoric effect or interfere with a person's thinking. It does not alter the ability to work, go to school or care for a family. It is non-toxic to the liver and does not contribute to health issues like other opiates. Additionally, it  blocks the euphoric effects of heroin and other opioid drugs, thereby reducing the attraction of using those drugs.

Methadone/Suboxone works best when it  is combined with other services, such as drug counseling and case management.


Why do people need Methadone/Suboxone?

Addiction to drugs can have a devastating effect on people's lives. Seeking and using the drugs becomes a full time occupation. Ties with family and friends may be stressed or broken and the ability to pursue a career or school is often compromised. The person's health and finances may suffer and he or she may be in trouble with the law. Using Methadone/Suboxone allows a person to stabilize and improve their lives. This can be said of any addictive substance. Research shows that people addicted to opiates have the least amount of success in traditional treatment modalities. Treatment becomes a revolving door and avoiding return to active use seems near impossible. This is due in part to the detrimental effects of opiates on brain cells and the central nervous system.  Addictive drugs such as opioids trigger the brain's reward system to make people feel good and want to keep taking more of the drug. Repeated use of prescription painkillers or heroin can cause physical changes in the brain. After long-term use, these changes continue even after the patient has stopped using the drug. Opiates change brain function!The alterations in neurological functioning may be permanent, making opiates the most difficult class of drugs to overcome.  


How long will I be on Methadone/Suboxone?

Treatment is a very individual process and change takes time. For patients with chronic pain issues who must be treated with opiate based pain medication and who have become addicted to opiates, methadone offers hope over the long haul. In the absence of chronic pain issues, people can participate in a Medically Supervised Withdrawal (MSW) plan and work towards total abstinence. There are no set time frames for beginning MSW but there are some objective criteria that research cites as a good basis for decision making and successful outcomes. CDHS provides an MSW assessment that helps gauge one's condition and chances of success against known outcomes. As a general rule, most of the people who are successful (do not return to active use) proactively work a recovery plan and participate in counseling, goal setting, and making lifestyle changes for about 1 1/2 to 2 years before attempting MSW.

Fundamental to the understanding that Methadone is maintenance treatment is the concept that opiate addiction is a chronic, relapsing, incurable but eminently treatable illness.  This of course, is precisely the orientation to diabetes, hypertension, coronary artery disease, ect., and has been the universally accepted foundation for over half a century of the approach to the disease of alcoholism. The objective of methadone maintenance treatment flows out of this orientation: to improve function, lessen symptoms and discomfort, and lower the rate of mortality associated with addiction. As measured against each of these key criteria, methadone maintenance is extremely effective..


Does Methadone/Suboxone interact with other medications?

Pharmacotherapy is increasingly complicated by the introduction of  new drugs and the use of multi drug regimes for acute chronic diseases. During clinical use spanning over 35 years, oral methadone has been proven to be  a well tolerated medication with minimal reactions when prescribed in appropriate doses and in combination with other drugs. However, there are certain drugs that produce adverse affects when used with methadone either by increasing or decreasing its affect. It is imperative that you inform CDHS staff and your primary care physician (PCP) of all medications. Methadone drug interactions may occur when taking prescribed medications, illicit drugs, OTC products, and other substances that can be difficult to predict and may be potentially harmful. A list of drugs that interact with methadone can be obtained at any methadone clinic and possibly at your doctor's office.  A list will be provided to you upon request.