I was speaking with someone the other day about methadone and they asked me if methadone was the same thing as “meth”. They had heard about “meth labs” on the news and people being arrested for manufacturing “meth” in their homes to sell illegally on the street. This individual was wondering if “meth” and methadone were the same thing. They are not!
“Meth” is a slang term often used in print and TV media to refer to the illegal drug crystal methamphetamine. Crystal meth is a highly addictive stimulant drug that can lead to devastating effects for its users (paranoia, hallucinations, heart attack, stroke, and death). Addiction often develops rapidly, and users are left with severe depression and fatigue as they crash following use of the drug. Crystal methamphetamine wreaks havoc on the brain’s neurotransmitters, and it is estimated that around 20% of those who abuse it develop psychotic symptoms similar in appearance to schizophrenia.
Unfortunately, crystal methamphetamine can be manufactured relatively easily. Consequently, it has sprung up around the country as small home operations began to make and sell the drug for easy profit.
It is easy to see how the general public could confuse methadone and “meth”, not realizing they are completely different substances. It is important that people understand the two have no connection, and that “meth labs” are referring specifically to the illegal production of crystal methamphetamine, not methadone.
Methadone is a leading medication-of-choice in the treatment of opioid addiction. As stated on this site numerous times, methadone is one of the most well-researched medications in history with a proven track record of efficacy in helping opioid dependent individuals avoid illicit opiate use and live productive lives.