(physeptone) is an opiate drug commonly used to counter
the effects of opiate withdrawal syndromes without
the euphoriant effects of heroin or morphine. The
effects of methadone are longer lasting than for heroin,
such that it is common to prescribe a daily dose,
whereas a heroin user would need to take the drug
every 4-6 hours.
prescribing of methadone is tightly-regulated, with
safeguards to prevent diversion of supplies to the
illicit market. For this reason, heroin addicts under
treatment are commonly prescribed oral linctus to
be taken under supervision by the dispensing chemist
or clinic. Only once users have complied with a treatment
programme for some time would they normally be allowed
more than one days supply at a time.
dosages range from virtually nil up to around 100mg
per day, more in special cases, depending on the severity
of addiction and stage of treatment (i.e. in a reducing
maintenance regime smaller doses are prescribed over
time). If too much is prescribed, methadone may be
sold on to other users, sometimes with tragic consequences
for naive users with no tolerance level who may overdose.
However, the general prescribing practice is to allow
the addict the minimum quantity required to stabilise
his/her condition - the tendency is to underprescribe.
If too little is prescribed, addicts will usually
supplement their prescription with street heroin.
was included in the list of named drugs in the IDMU
survey for the first time in 1999.. A total of 93
respondents (4.3%) had ever used the drug, (based
on age of first use responses rather than frequency
data) of those 11 used daily - a relatively high proportion,
and similar to the incidence of daily heroin use.
Only nine users reported monthly spending, of whom
6 reported "free" (suggesting prescription)
and 3 reported positive spending - one at £90 per
month, probably reflecting purchase of illicit supplies;
the other two spent £5 and £10 respectively, possibly
reflecting prescription charges.