When a person is going to the methadone clinic, when is a reasonable amount of time for then to be completely off street drugs?



My husband has been going to the methadone clinic sunce february 2018. His dose is increasing and the amt of street drugs he says he requires has gone way down but when is it a reasonable amount of time to be completly off the street drugs


I can imagine the incredible amount of stress and pain that this long process has caused you and your family. Having a family member actively battling addiction is one of the hardest tests in life. While there is great hope for the future, with your husband taking the step to get on a methadone program, continued use of street drugs is concerning.

Methadone programs are designed to help the patient to stop taking the street drugs completely, and gradually taper off the methadone or use it at a low maintenance dose.

A little more on Methadone:

  • Methadone is a long-acting opioid medication that reduces cravings and withdrawal symptoms. It satisfies the areas of the brain that opioids act on and can block euphoric effects of heroin and other short-acting opioids. Methadone can have a “leveling effect” with fewer highs and lows.
  • People taking a prescribed dose of methadone that is right for them report feeling “normal”, can continue to work, and can usually perform activities of daily living. Because it controls withdrawal symptoms and blocks cravings, people addicted to opioids tend to stick with methadone treatment as it helps them rebuild a life in recovery.
  • Methadone can be started at any time, meaning there is no need to wait after the last use of an opiate for withdrawal symptoms to begin, but providers will not begin methadone treatment with anyone who seems to have just used or appears intoxicated.
  • After the first dose of methadone, people tend to stay at the treatment center for a few hours where a nurse or doctor can check on their reaction. If the individual experiences withdrawal symptoms two to four hours after the first dose, another small dose may be given.
  • The goal is generally to find the dose that controls withdrawal symptoms with the fewest side effects by beginning low and increasing slowly.

Street drugs these days can be quite dangerous, so it is important to have a physician monitor his treatment program.

Regarding timing:
The decision about how long to take methadone is an individual choice people discuss with their doctor or treatment provider. Methadone treatment for less than 90 days usually has little effect. People who stick with treatment and take the medication for a year or more have the best success rates. Some take it for many years and other taper off of it gradually under medical supervision.

The road to recovery is not the same for everyone, as each individual has their own pains to overcome, but the north star to work towards = empathetically encouraging your husband to completely stop (if possible, or taper off) use of street drugs and work his program. And it would be best to work together with his physician on this.

I’m happy to chat 1:1 via Private Message to give a bit more tailored guidance if you’d like.


I would say by now he should be on a stable dose where he’s not using any street drug’s (opiates). I have seen many people get stabilized & then start getting high off other drug’s.


Checking in here @Carrie_Mitchell. How are things going now? How are you? Your husband?