Q&A: Does Methadone Detox Work?

Methadone has three medical uses: pain control, maintenance and detox.


In maintenance programs, the addict is given measured doses of a less-intoxicating drug that will allow him or her to function better — take care of business, hold down a job, etc.

While this form of treatment, using Methadone, is popular due to government programs, most addiction professionals consider it unacceptable, as it does nothing to help the person recover from the addiction. The methadone, itself an addictive drug, simply keeps the brain accustomed to the presence of drugs, and does nothing to remove either the need for them or the craving. Put simply, the addict remains an addict — still dependent on drugs in order to function.  Combine, with the foregoing, the fact that it is quite possible to get high on Methadone itself, or use it to maintain in between bouts of using other opiates, and you can see that it is not all that it’s cracked up to be by the folks with vested economic and bureaucratic interest in its continued use.


Methadone detox is likewise undesirable. At best, an opiate addict has an uncomfortable time in detox. Methadone itself has a longer and more difficult detox than heroin and most other opiates. That means tapering someone off on Methadone will take longer and, if the detox protocol is not followed precisely, the patient is likely to go into full-blown withdrawal. The most common result of that is relapse to the drug of choice.

The bare fact of the matter is that heroin itself is a better choice than Methadone for detox, but it is not legal to use it that way.

The most effective, safest detox protocol is a medically-supervised inpatient program using Suboxone. Opiate detox with Suboxone, properly done, is far shorter and more effective than with other substances, due to its narcotic agonist/antagonist action.  The likelihood of relapse is substantially reduced over other drugs and methods, provided that the patient really wants to remain clean.

Having said that, we must caution against the outpatient Suboxone detox that has become widely available in the US and other countries. Outpatient detox is rarely effective, and the doctors providing it are usually not trained in detox procedures. Many of them are storefront operations that, essentially, get the patients hooked on Suboxone and continue to administer it, rather than detoxing the patient and assisting them in finding further help.

6 thoughts on “Q&A: Does Methadone Detox Work?

  1. Bill Post author

    If you can’t do an inpatient detox, try to find a doctor who will taper you on suboxone as an outpatient. Make sure it’s a slow taper, though, not just another substitution scam. If you are going to detox with Methadone, taper it off extremely slowly. I’m talking over months. Methadone detox is one of the hardest to do “cold turkey.” It rarely works. Tapering is best. Good luck!

    Keep on keepin’ on!



  2. Ashley Delaney

    ur info has giving me a lot of insite but I can not afford to get off the methadone as a metical detox so I am going head on into at home detox and im going to have someone take indetailed descrirptions of what I am going thru everyday n im going to have to do this I feel like my life is revolving around the methadone clinic I cant afford to get the correct help n hell to b honest I cant afford the methadone n e more I need help n I cant find it here or n e were close to my family I haven’t the money to take off n go to another state and do there treatmeat because believe me if I could I would be gone in a beat of a heart but I have a 10yr old child that I need to be w and use the money on instead of using it on just another drug that I have yet again became addicted to w all intentions of not be addicted to it and actually getting help im cry for HELP and I feel no one hears me so yes im going to do this “at home detox” at a family memders home where I kno ill b save and my lil girl will b at home w her father but if n e one doesn’t like that im going to do this then please feel free to tell me what I should do cause this is is today is Monday and tomarrow is my last doseing day and then the detox begins so please if u have a heart pray for me everyday or atleast keep me n ur thoughts thank u for ur time!


  3. Bill Post author

    As stated, methadone works, but it takes longer. As with most drugs, it’s the post-acute withdrawal that is the tough nut to crack, which is likely the reason for your lack of success staying clean. Check out the article on this website.


  4. JON SLEPIAN 954-867-6763

    ive been on and off opiates for 25 yrs and have succeeded with methadone as my detox agent 3 out of 3 times. I bekieve if a base line of a 20% reduction every 3 days is followed within 15 days combined with alot of vitamin b complex and a well balanced meal plan exercise and rest aided with a low dose of zanax like 1mg at bed time and no more then 40mg per day,20am +20pm day 1 and 2 then 20%down UP TO 50% DOWN EVERY 2 DAYS UNTIL REACHING1/4PDAY FOR 3 DAYS THE PROCESS WORKS ALMOST EFFORTLESSLY! joN 954-867-6763


  5. zvasik

    Good for Brian. It is rare to kick off Methadone by himself. I never met even the one who ever did it. I was on Methadone for 3 years from 30 to 90 mg a day. I tried to kick it off few times. Every time terrible pain pushed me back on Methadone . Eventually i decided to undergo rapid medically assisted detox in Belgrade ( I am serbian. Live in UK) at Vorobiev Drug Clinic. I cant say that it was easy. But anyway after 7 days I was ready for Naltrexone. 4 months after I am still clean. And so far so good. Next month i am going for the next implant.


  6. Brian

    I received a long letter from a gentleman named Brian about his self-detox off Methadone. He went into great detail about the method he used. However, because I cannot in good conscience encourage anyone to try it, nor ethically suggest a protocol, I am not publishing the letter. I feel badly about that, because he clearly went to a lot of trouble to write it, and is justifiably proud of himself for having had the guts to do it on his own.

    There are good reasons why Methadone detox should not be attempted at home. One is that self-detox from Methadone is rarely — and I mean rarely — successful over the long run. Second, our tolerance to opioids drops rapidly when we are not using, and it is easy to exceed it if we relapse. The corollary to that is the possibility that a person will decide to relieve the detox symptoms by using either Methadone or another opioid drug, causing an overdose.

    Another reason is simply that it doesn’t have to be all that bad. There are detox protocols that can make Methadone detox relatively comfortable, even though it lasts longer than other detoxes (except for Suboxone). Finally, while detoxing in a medical setting, we have the opportunity to learn something about our disease and the nuts and bolts of recovery from experts.

    I congratulate Brian on his success, thank him for his efforts, and I sincerely hope that he remains clean and sober.

    And I hope he’s careful. Once you escape the monster’s teeth, you still have to deal with its PAWS.

    Keep on keepin’ on,



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