Andrew Horn is our pal from Regina. You might remember him from his detailed account of a to the methadone clinic or that time he showed us his awesome Taint-zine. Well, now it's time for you to learn how to kick the habit and whether or not methadone is right for you.
Uh-oh, now you’re in trouble. You’ve been the life of the party for as long as you can remember, and now that the party is over, you’re shitting your pants and convulsing in pain. You’re addicted, and I hate to say it, but you better hurry up and smoke some more down or load up another dilly eight to slam for breakfast. Then, when you stop puking, let’s seriously consider your options. There are a few ways to go. You could kick dope the good old fashioned way on the floor of a motel room: moaning, groaning, and shitting yourself while you’re running to the toilet to puke. Not so glamorous, and rather painful. You could go into a detox centre and they’ll medically assist your withdrawal with a benzodiazepine like valium or ativan, along with clonidine. This helps calm both you and your Michael J. Fox shakes. There are also opiate blocking meds and implants you can get. The implants will make your detox faster and more difficult than it already is. There are cases of people cutting out their implants because the pain is too much. Then there is methadone, which if it’s right for you, can work wonders and totally save your junkie ass, and I say that with love my little drug addled dumplings. Although it can quickly help with your problems, I strongly advise that methadone is not a quick fix by any means. Methadone will become your master, but you’re already used to being a slave, so it’s not really that big of a change. It’s no cure, but it is a strong step towards de-scumbagging yourself. You will be replacing one physical dependency with another, and you’re newly developed one has a much longer withdrawal duration. Now how the shit is that of any help? The difference is that it’s government regulated (bite your stoned conspiracy theorist tongues). You can’t pick up the phone and get more because you want to. No more shooting up multiple times a day, no crushing pills, doing bumps in the bathroom or scrambling to hide sheet after sheet of burnt tinfoil from freebasing. It can also prevent other opioids from getting you high, similar to an opioid blocker. Those destructive, yet sadistically comforting and familiar actions will cease, and it will help stabilize you while you relearn how to live life. Don’t get me wrong, you can still smoke all the meth and crack you want, and shoot all the coke you please, but we’re trying to get sober here, right? This program isn’t going to do shit unless you genuinely want to kick drugs. The problem arises when the program is misused by people who really don’t want to clean up, but simply just want to tie themselves over until their welfare cheque comes, or until they can flip that ounce of coke or suck enough dinks to score some dillies or a worthwhile bag.
So, to begin: first, get your scabby ass to your closest clinic, and I say closest because you will be going there loyally: rain, blizzard, or nuclear meltdown. Call ahead and do your research, sometimes they have limited intake. Maybe do one last whack before going so you aren’t puking on the front of the building like I was, just don’t O.D., okay? You’ll be interviewed to verify addictions. If you are a valid candidate for the program, you’ll be subjected to a full physical. This includes stripping and showing your track marks. Finally, you give a piss sample. I hope for you, depending on the way your clinic is facilitated, that you get your first dose the day you walk in there. Otherwise you’re back out on the street for a few more days, and anything can happen in that time.
Generally, you are started with a dose of 35mg, increased the next day to 40mg, and then 50mg where you will stay for the rest of the week. Then you will have a consultation with your methadone doctor deciding where to go. When methadone is mixed with juice and enters the stomach, it’s fully absorbed into the bloodstream within around 30 minutes and is metabolized through the liver. If you puke 30 minutes after ingestion, you’ll only lose the juice itself, so go ahead. Afterwards, it takes about three hours to reach its peak concentration within the bloodstream. When metabolized by the liver, half excretes as methadone into your urine, and half into the metabolite EDDP, which locks onto your opioid brain receptors. This satisfies the brain so it does not require and crave opioids. With oral administration, any “highs” or euphoria rapidly diminish. The first day you take methadone, you will get stoned, and it pretty much feels like morphine/heroin. However, I personally found by the end of my first week I wasn’t getting high at all anymore. For a month or so afterwards it still presented a distinct sensation, but it was more like a heavy feeling in the pit of my stomach, and I was aware of (but not high from) the presence of a narcotic in my bloodstream. After a few months, I literally feel nothing. The drug has a half-life (how long it exerts a therapeutic effect) of 25-32 hours. Other opioids have a much shorter duration, that’s why methadone withdrawals last longer in comparison. It takes about five days to reach a steady state, and if you’re still using some dope at the beginning, don’t beat yourself up, because it’s pretty much expected of you. In regards to blocking other opioids, if you are on a dose strong enough (approximately 70mg or higher), other opioids will not be strong enough to take over the receptor sites in your brain. The danger here though, is someone might dose a few times in a row thinking nothing is happening, and when finally the EDDP metabolite is knocked out, they’ve overdosed. Their respiratory system fails, followed by an inevitable heart attack, unless an opioid antagonist like Naloxone is administered. This program is not right for everyone, but if you put in the effort and actually try, it can really help you remain stable while evading dope sickness and getting high altogether. Well kiddies, I know this has all been rather text book, but I hope it’s not too dry. A little information never hurt anyone, right? My close friends never got into drugs as hard as I did, I used needles in secret or alone, I taught myself how to shoot up, what to inject, and how to cook (if necessary) and filter different drugs. I would always appreciate finding an unbiased, basic, yet informative article that helped me be as safe as possible. When considering methadone as an option, I was lucky enough to have a friend who previously worked in the very clinic I am now a patient at. Most people don’t have that resource within their friend pool, so perhaps this article may answer a question or two for someone needing it, but I don’t want to flatter myself. Being a drug addict sucks big time, and no one really wants to be one, but if you are there is no point in being ignorant on top of it. Educate yourself, be aware, and stay safe. Drugs can make you feel incredible, when in fact you’re just a drunk coked out loser who pissed their pants. Eventually they are going to start ripping at the pretty little pages of life. Drugs have their own agenda, and they don’t give one fuck about you. Make sure you know what you’re messing with. I remember being in a jib session passing the meth pipe around, and there was a younger girl in the circle, half-shouting: “I like to get fucked up!” I cringed and mustered up some mild disgust, and thought to myself: “You have no fucking idea what you are messing with right now.” Then I dismissed her and took another hit off the pipe.