While you may be familiar with other teen drug problems, you might be less clear on what exactly teen methadone addiction is, or whether it is possible to abuse methadone in the same way as other drugs. Part of the confusion revolves around the term ‘meth.’ While ‘meth’ is sometimes used to refer to methadone, it more commonly refers to methamphetamine or ‘crystal meth,’ which is a different class of drug that is also abused. With both of these substances, there are very real dangers and high potential for addiction, for which drug treatment centers for teens can help.

What is methadone?

Methadone is an opioid that is used, like many other opioids, to treat pain. Methadone clinics also use it as a replacement or maintenance opioid for those trying to cure their heroin addiction. Methadone is slower acting and less potent than drugs like heroin, and can help those who struggle to give up heroin ‘cold turkey.’ Despite this, methadone can lead to serious drug abuse problems in its own right, and its medical use means it may be more accessible to teens in some circumstances. Mixing methadone with alcohol and other drugs increases risk, and there is the potential to overdose from methadone, just like with any other opioid. This can lead to respiratory depression with potentially fatal results.

Signs and symptoms of methadone addition

Methadone addiction can lead to the same symptoms of other opioid addictions, including trouble sleeping, restlessness, itchy skin, vomiting, breathing issues, and heavy sweating. Severe constipation is another characteristic feature as opioids act to slow or shut down the digestive system. Someone who is severely addicted will try to maintain their access to methadone, which is usually in pill or tablet form. If this is not possible, they will in all likelihood transition to other, more dangerous opioids, including heroin.

What to do

Methadone drug abuse in teens needs to be treated like the serious drug abuse problem that it is, given its risks and the likelihood to turn to other risky drugs like heroin and prescription or illegal pills if the methadone supply becomes unavailable. If you are concerned that your teen is abusing methadone, do not act irrationally but instead come up with a plan to address it. Hopefully, your teen will be co-operative and want to seek help which is the best prospect for a successful outcome. Treatment at a teen rehab center may be needed.

If you know of a teen struggling with methadone addiction or another substance abuse problem, contact the Anthony Louis Center to learn about the various programs available to help them overcome their addiction.