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Methadone Pros and Cons. Is MMT Right for You?

Updated on August 17, 2008

Had Enough of Pills?

Is methadone right for you? Learn the truth, good and bad, about this very controversial medication.

Methadone is not a wonder drug, it is not an addiction "cure" and there are certain negatives associated with MMT (methadone maintenance). It is a medication that has been studied very extensively, and one that has helped millions overcome their abuse of street or illicit opiates.

Methadone is also a very controversial medication, the issue of methadone usage can be emotionally charged, and there is a great deal of misinformation about the drug and the realities of methadone maintenance therapy.

Here is a brief overview of the facts, pro and con, of methadone therapy as a treatment for opiate addiction.

Methadone Benefits

  • Methadone works. It is an effective treatment for illicit opiate users. Methadone users are more likely than users participating in other forms of treatment to stay of opiates.
  • Methadone will greatly minimize cravings and keep "dope sickness" away.
  • Methadone is affordable. It is almost certainly cheaper than the cost of illicit opiates, and generally costs only a few dollars a day.
  • Methadone is legal and if used as directed is very safe. You do not risk arrest or imprisonment while using methadone. Because it is very affordable, you do not need to break the law to get money for drugs.
  • Methadone users greatly reduce their risk of HIV, HEP C and other diseases associated with intravenous drug usage or an addicted lifestyle.
  • The daily routine of visiting a clinic for a dosage, although inconvenient, can help people to get back on a normal and productive schedule.
  • Regular contact with healthcare professionals improves health and well being and keeps you in contact with other people motivated towards change.

MMT Negatives

  • While on methadone you remain physically dependent on opiates. You will need to follow your dosage routine exactly to keep withdrawal symptoms down.
  • Methadone therapy is controversial, and there can be a stigma attached to participating in an MMT program. Employers cannot by law discriminate against you, but they may not be impressed to find you are "addicted to methadone".
  • Methadone maintenance can be a very long term commitment. Some people stay on methadone for decades, some forever.
  • For the first while (long while) you will have to go to a methadone clinic every day to take your dose under supervision. This can make work, travel and family life more difficult.
  • You may have to give urine samples under supervision.
  • You may find that methadone has unpleasant side effects. Some people find that methadone makes them feel "foggy". Others complain of weight gain, sexual side effects, tiredness and aches and pains. Everyone reacts differently to methadone.
  • Methadone is an opiate and you can overdose on it. If you take too much methadone, or combine methadone with certain other medications, there is a risk of death.
  • Methadone is physically addictive and a methadone detox is difficult and painful.
  • Methadone is a long lasting opiate. This is an advantage for maintenance therapy, (you don't need to take it more than once a day) but it means that withdrawal symptoms will last for a longer duration than would occur during withdrawal off of a drug like heroin. Withdrawal can take a month or more.

It's a very effective treatment for addiction, but it comes at a price. It works very well and is well tolerated by some, and others find it unbearable. It is not something to take lightly, but it is something that can work.


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    • profile image


      4 years ago

      I forgot to give you the website for National Alliance for Medication Assisted Recovery and that is please join us. It should be helpful to you and your treatment. You would be amazed at the amount of resources and information we have available for patients. We will help you become more competent about the treatment you are receiving. One of our mains goal this year is to fight for stigma, discrimination

      Oh, by the way We call ourselves National, but we have members and Chapters thought out Europe too. If you plan to travel, we will teach you how to make arrangement and the clinics in other states and countries. We can help you obtain the rules, regulations and laws for the locations you are traveling to. We know from personal experience that this can be a real problem and we can help you make it easier. We may even help you make contacts at those locations if we have them. I travel to Spain a few times, and I was able to make contact with persons in other locations usually. Some of them I obtained thought our message board. I keep promising myself I will do another message board in Spanish. A few years ago we had one. And I meet some wonderful guys.

      Good luck and help us help you.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Am no longer on methadone, but I found no many problems with Methadone and treatment as a whole. People who make methadone controversial are not familiar with it appropriate use, research, and how one can make methadone work for you. My problem with methadone was not the medication itself but with the Clinic System. I think it leans itself to staff abuse of authority and abuses that not many patients are familiar with. So when it happens to them they do not know how to go through the maze. Not all clinics are the same, and some are better informed by other. If yours is being runner by 12Steps believers of Narcotics Anonymous. There is a good chance that their policies are being created based not on federal regulations but on the 12Step Program which I consider them incomparable. Mainly because the 12 Step Programs do not understand the medication and have been ignoring Evidence Based Treatment Standards. Not all clinics are bad and not all 12yStep staff are bad either but they are oblivious to how bias they are and how this effects the patients. For the most part both good and bad staff (like the rest of our society are science illiterate)

      There is a book out publish by the Federal Government, I believe SAMHSA that tell patience on methadone what their legal rights are. There have been a number of cases in court lately and the patients have been wining. It can be downloaded from the internet and you can get a free copy from them also. I do not have

      Just recently there was a case in New Jersey where a pregnant women was being charged with child abuse and endangerment because she was a patient on methadone clinic. This was the most ridicules case I have ever heard, given that methadone has been vastly studied with pregnant women and wins ha.ds down about it safety on the mother and the fedest.

      Lastly I would like to invite all patients who come to this website to consider joining The National Alliance of Recovery through Medicine. It used to be the National Alliance of Methadone Advocates. Its member are patients like you, and staff clinicians and medical doctors that we know have the patients best interest in mind. Some clinics are only in for the money

      We manage and active Message Board. At We Speak Methadone.

      Our website

      Our membership c0st is less than the cost of most clinics daily dose. You will get some great information for you and we usually have an active member on your state that we can help support any problems you might have with your treatment of clinic. We have contact with the States Methadone Authorities that also help you resolve your problems. For the most parts they are reasonable people but there are too many states and we can not guarantee the mood they maybe in the day we contact them. We also have some contacts at the federal level too.

      We have not paid staff so all the membership money is use to help pass the word that methadone is a safe and effective treatment for opiate addiction. I like this gentleman's article on Methadone. He tried to be succinct as possible because there is much more to know about.

      The National Alliance of Recovery through Medicine can help you obtain standards and guidelines for the treatment you are receiving. You can compare to see whether you are being treated fair. There are several free publications that will help you become more familiar with

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      That's all bullshit I do t know who you would tell but that's first of all by him knowi g the judge and the lawyer conflict of interest and before I started reading he was a business man I was already telling myself he def paying the court off for him to obv win , come on now. !!

    • profile image

      5 years ago

      the courts r all corrupt its who u know period....

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Hello. I would like to know what happened in your case. I am also going through something similar, but in Nashville, Tennessee.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      look what happened to Mindy Mccreedy, she was fortunate enough to get a judge with heart who believed her story and got her child back after her struggles with addiction and losing her child to her mom! (And all the money she had didn't even help)

    • profile image

      Julie 70 

      6 years ago

      I believe your story Amy, the same exact thing happened to me. I was also a stay at home mom who also got supervised visits after being forced out of the house I shared with my then husband and daughter. I had done nothing wrong except I was a methadone patient. A biased judge didn't even let me speak in court, he simply ruled against Mr. I continued to fight and eventually won joint custody but it was a hard road. My heart goes out to you Amy..keep fighting. Calk NAMA and get an advocate on your side. Keep fighting!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      ....Methadone is still a drug. If you want your child that badly, which I'm sure you do, get off of it. My step dad is on it and it does have affects that prevent him from taking good care of his daughter, my sister. Judges are biased against any parent taking any kind of drug and placing a child into their custody. So you have your answer, stop taking drugs.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Yea out of the countless guys I know not one of them ever gets the kid.

      Beside the point I really still don't think we've gotten all of the details

      +one reason you might be wasting your time on here is because you've got a serious grudge with him not case related too many woman play the sympathy card and poor poor me, I'm just sick and tired of it so excuse me if I like to take things like this with a grain o salt

    • profile image


      6 years ago


      This is the only site I am on first of all.

      If you were educated at all you would realize that we are no longer in the 1980's and mother's would always get custody no matter what, fathers get custody all the time now, it is very complicated and has alot to do with who has the most money and who you know.

      If you read my story fully you would understand that.

      Also, why on earth would I come on here and lie? what would be the point in that?

      This is not a place to come on and pick fights with others Steve, you have no idea who I am or what has happened, why would you send such a thoughtless message to someone who is fighting every minute of every day to bring the injustice of America's Judicial System into the light? Please do some heavy research on this subject before you decide to post something you have absolutely no idea about, it is truly unkind.

      Just to let you know that my story is real I will let you know that the "Commission of Judicial Conduct" in the state of NY has reviewed my case and has started a full investigation on the Judge Pulver, it seems that he has been sanctioned many times and has had hundreds of grievances filed against him.

      NAMA has also shown very much interest in my case and has appointed an advocate to accompany me to my next court hearing to educate the Judge on the laws of the ADA and how he has broken them.

      I am also working with a local news reporter who is interested in writing a piece on Catskill Family Court.

      Since I posted my story here I have had the privlige of being able to choose between 5 attorneys who were interested in taking on my case.

      So Steve, what has happened to my daughter and I is VERY real, and I have said NOTHING but the truth.

      I hope you can understand aliitle better now and possibly refrain from posting hurtful and thoughtless messages about other peoples situations that you know nothing about.

      I am sorry if you are suffering with your own personal issues, but trying to hurt others will not make you feel any better in the long run.

      Good luck and God Bless.


      - Amy

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Maybe this is why you lost your daughter. You travel on websites blogging, and looking for the answer u want. Plus how often do men ever get full custody unless the parents completely fucked in the head your leaving some info out let us know the truth then the help will start

    • profile image

      billy bob 

      7 years ago

      Well id give you my daughter if i had one Amy

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      God Bless you Heather. I am a christian also and the Lord is the ONLY thing that has kept me alive. If I did not believe I would no longer be here.

      Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your encouraging words and prayers Heather, it means EVERYTHING to me to know that there really are people who truly care and understand what I am going through. Unfortunetly, the world is full of cold and cruel people who lack any empathy towards others in pain. I know it is hard to believe, but my story is UTTERLY and COMPLETELY TRUE, there is NOTHING left out or not said, but instead of understanding and empathy that my daughter has lost her mother COMPLETELY UNJUSTLY, I have to hear people say "Something is not right", and YES,, NOTHING about what has been done to us is RIGHT! That is why I have spent every spare moment of my life FIGHTING for justice, filing grievances, contacting agencies,and working with professionals who have chosen to help us.

      God Bless Heather, and thank you again for your kindness.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Amy I have read your story and I am the 1st person that would be like there's something that's not being said but I believe what your saying I also am a mmt paitent and I no the stigma attached to it like were poison or something its wrong and people that hasn't the slightest clue about anything that its about and one of those people is my own husband n it makes me very upset anyway I'm very sorry about the unnecessary situation u have found yourself in I feel for you in my heart I really do cause I'm a first time mom myself of a 2yr boy and I'm a stay at home mom since he's been born and have spent every waking moment w him also he's never even stay with anyone not even my mom he has stay w my dad n his wife for bout 2 hours every other thurs evening so I know how u could feel like ur world is gone cause if some1 was 2take him from me I don't know if I would wanta live either and these people who say get off. Methadone must have never been on it themselves or hasn't ever no what it feels like to be an addict and what to get better but can't stand the sickness called being dope sick n even after that your endorphins are shot to hell and so your not normal as every1 else is due to you have made your body. Stop making the endorphins that your body has to have 2b normal so starting the mmt program make people like me be normal I'm not high or impaired I'm normal I'm a good mother a good wife a good Christian that's what I am and yes I'm a recoving addict but. That has put a stigma on me even though I'm no different that the lady next door all but that I go to a clinic just like a doctors office 2times a month to get my meds for the next 2weeks and amy I feel so bad for u and will be praying for you and ur daughter cause I no she needs n wants you as much as u do her and all them mean people are only thinking of themselves not the most important one your daughter he is just doing this to hurt u and to keep from payin u child support he's not hurting u he's hurting that baby and all this is going do is hurt her now and him in the long run cause its going make her hate n b cold to him when she's old enough to c what is really going on so let him keep on kickin himself in the nuts men are nothin but mean asses and amy u keep ur head up girl always remember the Lord will never give u more than u can. Handle and he's always there when u need him put ur faith n trust in him and it will all b ok and I do believe you cause I no judges like that and ones that do things cause on account they no a person or some1 that donates money and things like that cause they have a lil pull in town w the important people well if you put ur faith in God then u have more pull with the biggest most important one there is so keep ur head up and if u ever feel like talking or need an ear to hear u n listen I'm no one important but I will I don't mind u can repost5 on hear if u want and I can send u my email or whatever u need so u can reqach me God bless

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Nick, why would you say that something is "not right here?" Unfortunetly, the judical system in our country is in a downward spiral, especially in the Family Court. What is "not right here" is the fact that individuals on MMT suffer EXTREME stigma, discrimination and bias, no matter what their own personal situation is for bringing them to MMT.

      THAT is the issue I am currently facing.

      I am very happy to say that NAMA is helping me greatly, after filing a grievance with them regarding the discrimination I am up against they decided they would take my case and send their lawyers to court with me,,, this is VERY rare, but my situation is VERY real.

      I DO have a job, I am a wedding planner and I am going to school to become a paralegal, I only have 5 months left to go in my schooling.

      So Nick, with that said, you are correct,,There is DEFINITELY SOMETHING NOT RIGHT HERE, and that is the sad ignorance and lack of education and knowledge that prevails every day in the United States court systems.

      Thank you for your comment.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Get off methadone safely, get a full time job, and then petition for your custody. But sorry, something is not right here.

    • Aimeee80 profile image


      7 years ago

      To Whom it May Concern,


      My name is Amy Andersen and my purpose for writing this letter is to make a formal complaint regarding the misconduct and illegal discrimination I have received under

      Judge George Pulver Jr. of Greene County Family Court in

      Catskill, New York.

      My case involves the custody of my 7 year old daughter who was taken from me by Judge Pulver by illegal discrimination and hearsay.

      My story is very complicated, but I will do my best to keep things short and to the point.

      On July 11, 2011 my ex-husband Lars Andersen was given full custody of my daughter and I was to receive supervised visitation. This is what happened.

      Up until last year, my husband, my daughter, and myself lived together, I was a stay at home mom and dedicated every minute of my life to raising, nurturing, and loving my little girl, we were NEVER apart, that is up until Lars met another woman that he wanted to be with.

      Within one week I was forced out of our home and unable to take my daughter with me because the only place I had to go was to my mother in CT and I was not allowed to take my daughter out of state.

      Over the ten years I stayed with my husband I endured unspeakable abuse, both mental and physical, but I never reported it for fear of what he would do if I did.

      I immediately petitioned the court for custody of my daughter.

      On our first day of court my ex-husband accused me of abusing my legally prescribed medication Vicodin, which I took to control the pain of my Fibromyalgia.

      Upon hearing that false accusation, Judge Pulver did not order me to take a drug test, as he should have, he merely went on the lies of my ex-husband and remanded me to join a drug treatment center in CT with monthly reports sent to him regarding my progress in treatment.

      We were in the court room for less then 5 minutes, I was not allowed to approach and defend myself in any way, I was in absolute shock and dismay because I was not abusing my medication and I was denied my legal right to take a drug test to prove it.

      Because of this indiscretion my-ex husband was given temporary full custody of my daughter and I was to receive supervised visitation once a week until our next court date 3 months later.

      The next day I frantically researched the facilities in my area and found a great program in my area called the APT foundation, I was immediately assessed by their physician, and upon telling them that I had to stop taking Vicodin unless I would loose my daughter permanently, they decided it would be in my best interest to start Methadone Maintenance Therapy.

      This was chosen due to the fact that it is illegal to discriminate against persons on Methadone Treatment, and that includes discrimination regarding child custody.

      Methadone does not impair cognitive functions; it has no adverse affects on mental capability, intelligence, employability, or parenting skills.

      It is not sedating or intoxicating, nor does it interfere with ordinary activities such as driving a car.

      During the next few weeks I made sure reports were being made for Judge Pulver (which were all completely positive)

      I felt very confident that there would be no further problems because I did EXACTLY what the Judge ordered and was completely assured that discrimination towards me was completely illegal under the laws of the ADA.

      Unfortunately, I would find out I was very, VERY wrong.

      During my wait until our next court date I met with 3 lawyers in my area to discuss my case and make sure I had all my bases covered, I was told over and over, by my clinic, by lawyers, and through hundreds of hours of extensive research online, in person, and with speaking to law students I met during studying at the Yale Law School Library, that I was absolutely and completely protected from the discrimination that Methadone causes, by the ADA.

      I was assured that the law states clearly that I had the same rights as a woman with diabetes that is being treated with insulin.

      The REAL discrimination and misconduct started at our next court appearance.

      Upon entering the court room, my court appointed lawyer (who did absolutely NOTHING for me) informed the judge of my program.

      She handed him a personal letter from my clinician.

      Immediately upon hearing the word “Methadone”, Judge Pulver had no interest in hearing ANOTHER word.

      He awarded my abusive ex husband FULL CUSTODY of my daughter, I was given SUPERVISED VISITATION with the court appointed supervisor once a week.

      I was once again DENIED a drug test to disprove further allegations by my ex of taking several anti-depressants and xanax, the Judge gave no reason for this denial.

      I was given the absolute harshest sentence, a sentence that would ordinarily be given to child abuser or a murderer.

      Judge Pulver had ABSOLUTELY NO REASON to give this order, I have not left out any details, this is exactly what happened.

      From the very day my daughter was born I was a stay at home mom, I spent every waking hour loving and nurturing my daughter, my ex was never around, and when he was he was drunk.

      My ex husband, Lars Andersen is a very wealthy business owner in the town where this case has taken place, he donates thousands to the town, he sits on the town board and “rubs elbows” with everyone who is anyone, he has even admitted that he knows Judge Pulver personally and exactly this would happen if I EVER challenged him.

      He also told a very close mutual friend that he had my daughter’s lawyer “wrapped around his finger!”, as you know, she is the person who the Judge listens to most, the child’s lawyer writes a report to the judge and is supposed to be completely unbiased.

      Judge Pulver has completely, illegally discriminated against me due to the details of my disability, he has had a personal biased opinion of me since day one, and he did not take one moment to educate himself regarding the laws he is currently breaking, nor does he care to due to his extreme partiality towards my ex husband.

      I truly believe that the only solution to this is a change of venue, which I am sure Judge Pulver will never agree to.

      These are the reasons I believe that Judge Pulver has acted with misconduct, bias, and discrimination:

      *His willful failure to uphold and comply with the law

      *His extreme prejudice and bias towards me

      *Denying me my full right to be heard

      *Deprivation of my right to due process, equal protection and basic fundamental fairness guaranteed by the United States and New York Constitutions

      * Judge Pulver did not sign my custody order, In fact nobody did.

      Judge Pulver has completely DESTROYED my daughter’s life, she is suffering more then I can ever imagine, she BEGS for her mother and nobody will help her, I cannot even call her to reassure her that I love her and I am fighting for her. As for me, I am completely consumed in my grief, I dedicate every waking moment of my life into finding someone, ANYONE who will listen to my story and look into Judge George Pulver.

      I am attaching some findings I have discovered about Judge Pulver.

      If you need to speak with me or my mother, (she was with me during each appearance) please do not hesitate to call, I am even more then willing to submit to a polygraph test.

      My next order of business is to write to:

      *Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman

      *The Inspector General in Washington DC

      *My State Representative

      Please, I am pleading for you to take my story seriously, as I have told you every detail in complete honesty.

      Please help me to bring my little girl home to her mother where she belongs.

      Judge George Pulver Jr. has completely destroyed our lives.

      With Much Respect,

      Amy Andersen

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      You still get high, you still get opiates, and your still addicted!!!It's great for the user, but for everyone else it's crap, but then again users only do what benefits them and their habit. The only benefit is financia

    • lafamillia profile image


      7 years ago from Soutcentral Europe

      Very nicely said facts, nice and short Hub about what is methadone - in general. U have me as follower. :} I hope you will enjoy in my hubs too.

    • profile image

      to bafparkside 

      7 years ago

      cutting back on the methadone will prepare you for your final step detoxing from this drug: remember how sick you were coming off the other opiates? well the biggest and most important result for you is that you will be clean,healthier,happier knowing that you will not have to walk this road of misery ever again.remember that everyone reacts differently to taking the same steps as you are,you will prevail.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      i am currently in iop at a mmt clinic and i am very nervous being on methadone because i know when i decide i want to start detoxing off the methadone i will experience withdraw all over again and the point for me stopping using opiates was to never have to feel that again so does anybody have any advice???

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Would like to no wat happens if u tk opiates after u tk suboxone


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