Friday, October 24, 2014

How safe is your Methadone?

 Keep it locked, Keep it safe!!

          If you have made it to the stage of receiving your weekly take-homes (Carries) then you know that you must have a lock box prior to receiving them. You can not leave the pharmacy/clinic with unlocked methadone. Well some places anyhow, but it is of utmost importance that you store your take-homes in a lock box at home. Where we are from it is mandatory that we have a lock box, but other places do not require this, policies are always different from place to place.
Once you are home there is no need to take these out of your box, especially if you have small children, well any children for that matter. Also, if you have friends that act like small children! All kidding aside this is a huge problem and one we see quite often in the media and it is heart breaking. 
Keep your Methadone locked at all times!

Mothers, fathers and guardians being sentenced for the death of their children because they left their medication out or transferred it into regular household cups and their child ingested methadone. Some are ridiculous, such as a woman who poured her methadone into a Gatorade bottle, had a lapse in memory I am guessing and later gave her child the Gatorade to drink, she also gave it to her 5 year old and 8 year old, luckily they made it through, it was the 2 year old that wasn't as lucky. R.I.P little one! On top of this the mother did not even call 911!
The latest story of a 2 year old child who died as a result of her parents irresponsibility, is heart breaking, but the tweets and comments in response to this only prove to us what people think of all methadone patients and this must stop! 

There are many instances of this story and such stories just further fuel the fires of stigma and give great satisfaction to those in opposition to medication assisted treatments. They now get a chance to point their fingers and say "See, didn't I tell you people who take methadone are all low lives"
         Of course people never hear about the success stories. The patients who pick up their medication, follow the treatment plan and live as productive members of society. They are responsible, careful and take their recovery seriously.

The horrid things we hear and see on social media regarding methadone patients, is truly nauseating! For instance, some ignoramus wrote this:
"The rest of society has to work harder, and sacrifice more so these bums can escape reality. We spend far too many resources on the stoners, and we as a society are so tolerant of their behaviour they have spread like a cancer"

It is always such a huge tragedy when a child dies and even more so when they die at the hands of irresponsible parents/caretakers.
Methadone is not the only cause, an irresponsible person will leave out any type of medication, pill, cough syrup, etc. without any thought of what it may do to their children.
The world loves to blame methadone and label it as the evil killer, but in reality it is the irresponsiblity of the parents/caretakers who killed the child.
Many deaths occur due to prescription medication, including buprenorphine, but these medications are not splashed across the media near as much as methadone. Suboxone mistreatment is just as prevalent as methadone, but you take away methadone and the media will begin showing people just the types of problems there are out there, then this too will become a drug everyone loathes.

Here is a case of buprenorphine poisoning, yes this does happen! Everyone is so focused on attacking methadone that they miss stories such as this one.
More than 60, 000 young children end up in emergency departments every year because they got into medicines while parents or caregivers were not looking. These figures include all medications, not only methadone.

 It is essential that your medications be locked and out of reach from children.

Each year between 2007 and 2011, about 9,500 U.S. children younger than 6 years were hospitalized after getting a hold of family members' medications. Three-quarters of those children were just 1 or 2 years old.
Please note this is not only a methadone problem, many deaths occur due to other medications, for some reason the media likes to portray methadone as the main culprit when it is not! 

Example: *For every 100,000 people prescribed buprenorphine, 200 children were hospitalized for an accidental ingestion in the United States. By comparison, two children landed in the hospital for every 100,000 people prescribed Oxycontin 

When it came to single active ingredients, it was found that buprenorphine topped the list. That narcotic, implicated in almost 8 percent of the hospitalizations each year.  Besides opioid painkillers, these include heroin and morphine. In most cases of accidental poisonings, children had taken a combination product of buprenorphine and naloxone (brand names such as Suboxone and Zubsolv)*

        Patient education must be a main focus in clinics and pharmacy's, as well as educating their significant others, and sadly in some places it is not. Many people still consider methadone as they would any other drug. They assume the more you do the more "high" you will get and this can be fatal.  Methadone carries more risks than other painkillers because it tends to build up in the body and can disrupt a person’s breathing or heart rhythm.
Methadone can be toxic to anyone who is not tolerant of opioids and a single dose can cause life-threatening respiratory depression and death.
An opioid-tolerant person can function normally at doses that can be fatal to a non-tolerant person.

Education is essential for safety and could potentially save lives, which is why patients and family members need to have a basic understanding of how methadone works and should be provided adequate information about the signs/symptoms of over medication, which is of utmost importance during the beginning of treatment. 

So if we as patients are going to help reduce this stigma related to our methadone treatment, we must absolutely ensure that we keep our medications properly stored and share the proper information with others. It only takes one pill or one small dose to kill anyone who has no tolerance! Even if you live alone and have no children, do not get lax in proper storage, friends and family still visit!

Be Smart about Storage Always

  • Always store your methadone in a lock box. Make sure the key isn't left in it, it defeats the purpose of keeping it locked!
  • Always keep it in a safe location, far from the reach of children
  • Always take your methadone at one time, so you don't leave an open bottle with methadone in it.
  • Always rinse out the last bit with a touch of water and drink it or just rinse it period! 
  • Always put your empty bottles back into the lock box, so they are there for your next pick--up and the pharmacy/clinic can dispose of them. 
  • Always Keep medicines in their original bottles! There is no reason they need to be taken out!
  • Always put your medication away, even if you have to run to telephone for a moment. 
  • Always talk to your children about the dangers of medication and the dangers of taking other people's medications.

Absolutely Never
  • Never let your child see you drink your dose, child like to imitate their parents
  • If a child ingests methadone you may not know right away because of the the peak effect, which is 2-5hours after
  • Never, Never give your child a bit of methadone to make them sleepy or to "relax" them NEVER (An instance of this can be found here)
  • Never take methadone unless its prescribed to you, there is no way to know how methadone will react in your body. Not everyone responds the same way to methadone.
  • Never tell children medicine is candy, NEVER!(Instance of child thinking drugs are candy
  • Never leave your open bottle on the table/counter if you have to run to answer door/telephone. It only takes a second for a child to ingest it
    E-pill Kitchen Safe with Interval Timer E-pill Kitchen Safe with Interval Timer

We were scrolling through the net and found this! It is called an E-pill Kitchen pill safe with interval timer lock. 
All you do is put your pain medications or regular medicines inside the clear bucket, set the timer (in Minutes, Hours, Days from 1 minute to 10 days), close the lid, and you are locked out until the interval timer reaches zero.
Perfect for those with take homes!
They even state it is perfect for methadone bottles and your marijuana! 

 **Please note that the above slide will be much easier to read in full screen mode!**

We decided to try an experiment on our own bottles to see exactly how much is left over in our bottles! We were surprised by the results as we generally throw our heads back and try to get every last drop! We took our bottles from their respective lock boxes and placed our medicine dropper in, what we pulled back was 0.3 to 0.4ml from each bottle.
Stixx and I have all of our take-homes (6 each)
So after doing some simple math it turns out that 12 bottles on average contain 4.2ml
Shockingly enough a teaspoon is equal to 5ml, on average. Less than a teaspoon has been known to be fatal to a baby! Scary stuff!
 Ensure you know the signs of overdose, see our post on Overdose Awareness and also over at

If you believe anyone has ingested methadone, 
call 911 immediately!

Poison control center Ontario 1-800-268-9017
(416) 813-5900 (Greater Toronto Area)  

For Poison Control Centers throughout Canada, visit this site!

We love hearing from you, so please leave a comment below! If you have any ideas for future topics or if you want to share your story, please let us know!

Your Friends in the maze,
 Chixx & Stixx

Monday, October 13, 2014

Biotene Update from Myth #1!

I would like to thank @adam420598 for the update on his experience with Biotene, we will definitely be looking into it!

Your Friends in the maze, Chixx & Stixx

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Methadone Myth #1 - Methadone Rots Teeth!

Methadone has many myths attached to it, and one of these myths is how methadone rots your teeth. So is this true or is this false? I hate answers that say yes and no, what is that, it is either one or the other right! But in the case of methadone and teeth this is true! Methadone itself does not cause your teeth too unfortunately rot, does indirectly cause your teeth to rot!  

So "No" to methadone causing tooth decay
"Yes" to it indirectly speeding up tooth decay

This is due to the drying nature it has in your mouth, it decreases saliva flow, but this is not unique to methadone solely. Many medications cause dry mouth, the fancy medical term for dry mouth is "Xerostomia" (Zero-stow-mia) but for most of us it is called the "pasties" or "cotton mouth" among other hilarious sayings such as: "My mouth is drier than a popcorn fart"?! Ya okaay! That term is not something that should be used in conjunction with your mouth! Just saying!

Not all people are affected by though, but for the majority it is the case. Many addicts had bad teeth prior to methadone treatment and methadone just potentiates tooth decay. This was the case for me, I had bad teeth coming into treatment due to heavy drug use, it's not because I didn't care for them, it's because of chemicals and how they affect some people's bodies. Luckily my back teeth took the beating. It greatly affects people's self-confidence, they don't want to smile, they try to talk differently so that their teeth do not show as much, they avoid certain social situations. Of course stigma increases this as well, you are constantly pointed out as an addict, a dirty junky, or a no good for nothing pill head due to your teeth, what nicotine stained fingers are too a smoker, bad teeth are to an addict. It is absolutely horrible.
The effects of some drugs can be disastrous to the teeth, as well as dry mouth and this is not limited to just us "drug addicts", but society sees it that way. There is an idea which is used in "Junky land" that Stixx often went by in order to obtain drugs in a new place where he would be playing with one of his bands,  if he needed drugs he looked for the person who was constantly eating sweets or had bad teeth Lol! But it is no laughing matter just a thought we'd throw in to show you how people view addicts, yes even other addicts. The stigma and stereotypes associated with us are ridiculous and we need to change this.

When you look at some addicts, you will notice right away that they have little to no teeth. The teeth they do have, usually are discolored, a greyish to black color. This is caused from the chemicals which are a big part of every drug. This discoloration is started from the inside out in many cases.
         The big misconception is that all drug addicts do not take care of themselves or their dental hygiene. This may be true in some instances, but not all. It is usually just the wear and tear of the drugs on their teeth. It does not matter how many times per day an addict brushes or flosses their teeth, chemicals are disastrous to some people. By becoming drug-free you can save your teeth from "chemical warfare"
When teeth lose enamel, which protects the dentin, the decaying process is now sped up and they become past the point of no return. You cannot reverse this at all. 

A mouth must remain moist to prevent bacteria from growing rapidly, and since drugs are drying to the mouth, bacteria grows faster than normal.The medical term for this is hyposalivation.
This saliva acts as an anti-bacteria; therefore, when this reduces, the chances of tooth decay increases. The chances of dental bacteria in your mouth exacerbate.
       Sugar cravings, need I say more!! This is a subject all on its own which we will also discuss in the future. But as ravenous sugar munching people we need to ensure that we properly care for teeth and remove sugars  which can lead to tooth decay as well.
Tooth decay can also cause halitosis, which just means "bad breath". These problems can be prevented by some of the following suggestions:
  • Regularly rinse your mouth
  • Brush and floss your teeth after eating something. Brush with flouride toothpaste before/after you get your methadone
  • use circular or gentle scrubbing/brushing movements along your gum line and brush again before bed, which is the most important time to brush if you can not brush at other times throughout the day
  • If your gums bleed, don't stop brushing, but see your dentist
  • You can also constantly chew sugar free gum because it increases the saliva in your mouth
  • You can also use mouthwash to completely cleanse your mouth
  • Drinking plain water helps with dry mouth
  • Your dentist can also prescribe toothpaste with more flouride to prevent tooth decay
  • You can go to your dentist regularly for cleanings

There is a product on the market which we have been looking into called Biotene. It is made specifically for dry mouth caused by medications. We would like to include that just recently we had made mention of this product to a fellow twitter follower @adam420598 and he has gone and purchased a tube. It is a bit on the expensive side at $12.99+taxes, but well worth it if it helps to combat dry mouth while on medication of any sort. He will be letting us know what he thinks about it. He said there is many types to choose from, so at the end we will try to put the different types and what they do! 
        The destruction of your teeth will always be a constant reminder of your life in active addiction and will affect your self-esteem and self-confidence long after you have become clean and sober. At this point removal of your teeth is a definite and dentures will replace that horrible reminder of the effect drugs had on you physically. Others decide that caring for their teeth at this point wouldn't matter much at all, but inadequate dental hygiene can cause numerous problems, not only to your mouth but throughout your whole body. Abcesses are terribly painful and left untreated time and time again, can eventually cause the infection to enter your blood stream, which can be deadly.

       Some believe that getting regular dental checkups is something you do only when you are younger but that's not the case. When you eat or drink, what`s left behind turns to bacteria quickly. This bacteria is what causes the majority of problems. 
Regular routine cleanings are crucial because no matter how hard you try there is likely to be little microscopic bacteria lying around in your mouth.
Poor diet can lead to significant dental problems, especially when there is a tendency to indulge in foods with high sugar content. Eating foods that are high in vitamin and mineral content will help defend against potential dental difficulties. Keep your dentist informed about what goes into your mouth or if you grind, click, or clinch your teeth or jaw.

        Grinding your teeth can be very damaging and possibly cause them to break or crack, the term for this is "Bruxism". At night I now use a mouth guard, which Stixx bought at the pharmacy for me. This greatly helps to save my teeth from excruciating pain and breakage. Your teeth have a tendency to crumble like sand, literally, I have experienced this and many I speak too about this also experience it. This caused by the dry environment in your mouth and enamel loss. Also calcium can get leeched out of your system when you are on certain medications.

Mouth Guard
Dry mouth is a big concern for Methadone patients and if you are new to MMT it is essential that you begin caring properly for your teeth by keeping hydrated at all times, to prevent future decay.
Below is a list of the various Biotene products available. There are other types of products which you may find in your area, or you can visit your dentist for other recommendations or prescriptions that may be available.

Biotene Oral Balance Gel
  • Now with an improved pH balance formula and more moisturizers and lubricants.
  • Great for use at night or at any time.
  • Small, portable tube is easy and discreet to use
Biotene moisturizing mouth spray
  •     Biotène Moisturizing Mouth Spray is alcohol-free
  •     Spray when mouth feels dry

Biotene PBF Oral Rinse
  •        Alcohol-free.
  •        Soothes irritation caused by oral dryness.
  •        Refreshing, gentle and non-burning oral rinse cleans, while providing added relief of oral dryness

Biotene Oral Rinse   
  • Now with an improved pH balance formula.
  • Alcohol-free.
  • Special formula soothes Dry Mouth symptoms and protects against odors

Biotene PBF Dry Mouth Flouride Toothpaste

  • Provides essential fluoride protection and fights cavities.
  • Contains no Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS)
  • Gentle with a mild flavor

Biotene Dry Mouth Flouride Toothpaste Gentle Mint or fresh mint original
  • Helps provide essential fluoride protection for Dry Mouth sufferers.
  • Contains no Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS).
  • Gentle with a mild flavor.

We hope this post has helped to answer some of your questions regarding tooth decay and methadone! If you have any further questions about tooth decay, methadone or any other topic, please feel free to contact us! 
~The information contained within should not replace the advice given from professional doctors, dentists, etc. It is solely based upon our experience and research~

Sources used:

Your Friends in the maze, Chixx & Stixx

Thursday, October 2, 2014

The Many Guises of Methadone in the Maze

We hope you enjoy the slideshow which we have put together for you! We have done a lot of research on methadone and methadone formulations, etc. So please enjoy and let us know what you think in the comments below!

Your Friends in the maze, 
 Chixx & Stixx

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The best and the worst of methadone:

View from a couple on Methadone Maintenance Treatment

This post was written for who had approached us to write in their amazing Ezine. This was published in the September issue. The link for the best and worst of methadone!

The debate continues on about whether or not methadone is a good tool in recovery or if it is just a hindrance. we will share with you the pros and cons of methadone from our perspective as a couple who are currently on methadone in Ontario, Canada.

As opiate addicts looking for a way out of the lifestyle after *18 years of heavy drug abuse for myself and *24 years for Stixx, and having tried other ways to succeed, methadone made sense to us. There are many people who have had both positive and negative experiences, as people would with any other treatment form. There is no wrong way in recovery, it either works for you or it doesn't. I believe people are entitled to their views, but pushing the form of treatment that worked for them on others is not right. If abstinence programs worked for everyone, there wouldn't be such a problem.If it worked for you great, but if it doesn't work for your friend, don't be negative, we are all in some form of recovery thats all that matters.

When I first began mmt I didnt really know what methadone was other than an orange drink that took away your sickness. I was so naive, I had only known two people in the past who were on methadone but it wasn't something that I had really spoke about with them nor considered for myself at the time. I remember one girl passing out at the cash register in a hardware store while looking for money in her purse, the cashier looked at me and I at her. so I thought that was what it did, to each their own I thought! I didn't realize that it would really help save my life a few years later.

Stixx knew what it was but he wasn't interested in it at all, as it was juice and something you drank, not interesting to a person using needles! He had started MMT a few months before me, at this point I didn't know him. We started seeing each other a year into our recovery and have been going strong since. Our heads are in the same place regarding recovery, so it works!
The stigma attached to methadone is unbelievable, if used as a bridge for those with severe addictions, mental health issues, disease, years of drug abuse and having tried many different ways to be rid of the lifestyle addiction places you in, it can work.

 We have seen many people in the clinic who have only been addicted to opiates for a short time and have never tried other options at kicking the habit, addiction hasn't even yet ruined their life and these people should really consider other treatment forms first! Some they are their soley to get it as a crutch between their next high, it is difficult for doctors to screen people and sort out who has or hasn't a severe addiction, people lie as they do at any doctors office just to get what they want. 
You must have a strong desire to succeed in treatment and methadone should be used in conjunction with some form of counselling/therapy to help you identify underlying issues that could cause you to slide back into addiction.

Methadone is the choice of those seeking treatment, as it is with someone going to an in-patient facility or choosing to go cold turkey, nothing is pushed on them, if they feel that's the treatment for them then that is their choice. Anyone who is looking into treatment should thoroughly research their options, that being said here are the pro's and con's of methadone maintenace treatment:

  • Allows you to focus on cleaning up your life right now, such as getting off the streets, getting to work, getting/keeping your kids, etc
  • Allows you to begin living without worry of withdrawals until you feel as though you are strong enough to begin a taper, you are not rushed to taper.
  • You can break the habits that come with addiction.
  • Improves your health and well-being all around
  • Lowers criminal activity associated with feeding your habit.
  • Many times addictions and mental health issues go hand in hand, methadone allows you to focus on those issues before having to deal with the physical withdrawals of addiction.Without doing that your chances of relapsing and possibly falling deeper into despair are much higher.
  • Methadone has been used for 45 years, effectively and there are many studies that show this.
  • Don't have to wake up to that sick feeling everyday
  • Don't have to go hunting for pills everyday,finding money,finding a place to do the drugs, etc.(Wheeling and dealing!)
  • Allows you to find a stable dose, unlike being on fentanyl, morphine, etc., where you need to continually increase dose to feel same effect
  • You drink methadone once a day, rather than using needles which could possibly be contaminated, thus contracting diseases such as Hep 'C', HIV, Etc. You no longer have to worry about dangerous infections from abcesses.
  • Methadone is much more preferrable than trying to quit, relapsing, trying to quit and so on.Each time this happens your chances of overdosing are high. On methadone you no longer have to worry about that and come off slowly while leading a normal life.
  • Methadone stabilizes the brain chemistry that has been destroyed during drug abuse.
  • Methadone eases the worry of not knowing exactly what is in the drugs you are buying, as methadone is dispensed from a certified pharmacy.
  • You do not get high and are able to function normally without looking like a drug addict. 
  • You can hold down a job, own a home and raise a family, which was impossible for some to do while in the depth of addiction.
  • Allows you to stay in treatment longer and receive proper care.
  • The cost is much cheaper than what your addiction may have cost you
  • Methadone does not cause a euphoric rush
  • Methadone is a great harm reduction tool

  • The stigma that surrounds methadone is sometimes a barrier to receiving treatment.
  • Side effects such as sweating, weight gain, libido loss, etc (Some side effects will not occur if your dose is fairly low, higher doses increase chance of some of these side effects, but not in all cases)
  • Some of these side effects can really affect your relationship and cause extra problems you don't need while in recovery
  • Overdose can happen if you take other pills in combination with methadone, or take more than you are prescribed. This happens usually in the beginning of treatment when you still haven't reached a stable dose to keep you drug free (We continued using until we reached that level, but overdose was possible each time we took pills and due to the "Blocking effect" (antagonist) methadone has. You take more pills until you feel them. This is dangerous!
  • The possibility of losing employment if screened for drugs, as some people consider methadone to be illegal and illicit. There is much stigma in being employed as a methadone patient
  • You are forever going to the clinic until you can receive carries or take-homes
  • You have to make arrangements to go out of town. So you are kind of limited as to where and what you can do I.e camping, job related travel, Etc. If you do not have carries and have to dose daily, you are unable to go, unless your clinic/pharmacy is lenient and allows you to carry a day or two.
  • Transportation costs/finding ways to get your dose for some people living in rural areas or if your town does not allow methadone clinics/pharmacies.
  • Having to plan your life around the methadone clinic

Despite the drawbacks of methadone, it is better than the lifestyle of addiction and the pros far outweigh the cons. Again, always research a treatment option rather than jumping straight into it.If you are unsure if this treatment is for you then please read our article, "Who should or shouldn't take methadone" it can be helpful in seeing if methadone is a choice for you. We hope this has been helpful and we hope it helps at least one person take a positive step in the right direction.

*(these years are not exact, it is hard counting back the exact amount of time, I think we lost a couple years somewhere, Stixx is more like 27 and mine is more like 19.5 or 20 LOL, it matters more to us the length of time we have been clean!)

Your Friends in the maze,
 Chixx & Stixx