Methadone is a synthetic man-made narcotic. Street names include Amidone, Chocolate Chip Cookies, Fizzies, Maria, Pastora, Street Methadone, and Wafer. Methadone is available as a tablet, disc, oral solution, or injectable liquid. Tablets are available in 5 mg and 10 mg formulations. As of January 1, 2008, manufacturers of methadone hydrochloride tablets 40 mg have voluntarily agreed to restrict distribution of this formulation to only those facilities authorized for detoxification and maintenance treatment of opioid addiction, and hospitals.

Manufacturers will instruct their wholesale distributors to discontinue supplying this formulation to any facility not meeting the above criteria. Methadone can be swallowed or injected. Abuse of methadone can lead to psychological dependence. When an individual uses methadone, they may experience physical symptoms like sweating, itchy skin, or sleepiness. Individuals who abuse methadone risk becoming tolerant of and physically dependent on the drug.

When use is stopped, individuals may experience withdrawal symptoms including anxiety, muscle tremors, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal cramps. Although chemically unlike morphine or heroin, methadone produces many of the same effects. The effects of a methadone overdose are slow and shallow breathing, blue fingernails and lips, stomach spasms, clammy skin, convulsions, weak pulse, coma, and possible death.

Methadone is a Schedule II drug under the Controlled Substances Act. While it may legally be used under a doctor’s supervision, its non-medical use is illegal. German scientists synthesized methadone during World War II because of a shortage of morphine. Methadone was introduced into the United States in 1947 as an analgesic (Dolophinel).