Smoking Methadone | Effects & Dangers
Although uncommon, smoking methadone can cause mild sedation as well as unintended side effects like damage to respiratory health. Additionally, smoking methadone increases the risk of overdose and addiction.
Methadone (brand names Dolophine and Methadose) is an opioid agonist drug prescribed for pain relief in those seeking around-the-clock care. Methadone is also used to treat cravings and withdrawal symptoms caused by opioid dependence.
Despite the benefits of this medication, methadone is a Schedule II controlled substance according to the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
Those seeking the euphoric and sedative effects from methadone may turn to smoking the drug. Methadone tablets can be crushed into powder which can be smoked on its own.
Once crushed, those wishing to engage in further drug abuse may sprinkle the crushed methadone tablet on illicit drugs like meth or other crushed pills including depressants or stimulants, which can create life-threatening effects.
Crushing methadone tablets and smoking, plugging, or snorting the powder is a form of methadone abuse. Methadone abuse occurs when you take more of the drug than prescribed, take it without a prescription, or mix it with other drugs or alcohol.
Side Effects Of Methadone Abuse
Because methadone is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant, when combined with other CNS depressants such as benzodiazepines, it can create more serious side effects such as respiratory depression or difficulty breathing.
Additionally, methadone can be smoked with stimulant drugs that may have the opposite effect. Because stimulation and depression of the CNS occur at once, a person may not experience the desired high, leading them to take a larger methadone dose.
Per the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), because of this type of drug abuse, a person may be more at risk of increased side effects.
Increased Side Effects
The effects of smoking methadone occur almost instantly. In fact, methadone enters the bloodstream much more quickly compared to when the medication is taken as prescribed.
When smoked, the side effects of methadone can become heightened. Some of these effects, according to the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), may consist of:
- abdominal pain
- difficulty sleeping
Smoking methadone can increase the above side effects and may cause severe dangers to your health.
Dangers Of Smoking Methadone
Smoking methadone is a serious form of drug use. Although the prevalence of smoking methadone is not as popular as snorting the drug, the dangers of smoking can be severe.
Those who continue to smoke methadone may experience damage to their lung health.
Respiratory issues like lung infections, persistent coughing, and problems with blood circulation may occur if you frequently smoke prescription drugs. In addition, smoking methadone can lead to a sore throat or tissue damage.
The Impact Of Cigarette Smoking
One of the risk factors of developing a more intense high while taking methadone is tobacco use. Smoking methadone and cigarettes can greatly impact lung health, leading to breathing problems.
In fact, according to one study, the number of cigarettes a person has smoked can impact the high they experience from methadone abuse. Continuous smoking of any kind may create long-term health issues.
If you suspect a methadone overdose has taken place, contact 911 immediately. Seek urgent medical attention if you or a loved one are suffering from the following methadone overdose symptoms:
- cardiac arrest
- respiratory depression
- fluctuations in heart rate and blood pressure
- clammy or cold skin
- constricted pupils
Treating Opioid Use Disorder
For those of you struggling with a substance use disorder, addiction treatment options can help. At Ohio Recovery Center, we offer substance abuse treatment programs that include:
- short-term detox
- inpatient drug treatment
- medication-assisted treatment
- evidence-based practices
- aftercare resources and follow-up treatment
To learn more about how we treat opioid addiction in a compassionate healthcare setting, please contact Ohio Recovery Center today.
- Drug Enforcement Administration — Methadone https://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drug_chem_info/methadone/methadone.pdf
- Food and Drug Administration — Dolophine https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2015/006134s038lbl.pdf
- Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics — Effects of methadone on human cigarette smoking and subjective ratings https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/6726650/
- National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus — Methadone https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a682134.html
- National Library of Medicine: StatPearls — Methadone https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK562216/
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration — Methadone https://www.samhsa.gov/medication-assisted-treatment/medications-counseling-related-conditions/methadone