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


  1. You are so awesome to post stuff like this! Wow do people need to be educated about this stuff. Even top professionals out there, as a matter of fact they are the worst! The government, the judicial system, EVEN, (sad as this is) the health professionals!!!! There are just waaaaay too many uneducated people that do not really know the success stories or good that comes with the treatment. There is no doubt that any accidental over dose of a child is the parent, or supervisor of that child is to blame. Not blame them for being in treatment, but blame them for not being responsible. Thank you for all of the facts you put out there! You're amazing!

    1. Thanks Jessica, that means so much! Yes people need to be educated on this stuff, there are far too many deaths that occur due to improper storage. Thank you for commenting Jessica! We appreciate your support so much! :-)

  2. Thanks for posting this. Really important for people to understand we are not all careless. It really can happen with any kind of medication, targeting methadone doesn't help anyone. At my clinic you have to bring all your bottles back or they don't give you your next drink. I've had to bring my methadone to work with me to take it at my usual time. Taking it early would mean me not feeling good at night. Anyways I didn't like having an open bottle in my purse at work even though I work alone. Safety really is important. Now with a baby on the way its even more important to me to not forget to relock my box after each dose. It really only takes forgetting one time and something bad can happen. I got in the habit of locking it and hiding it when I had roommates because I didn't want anyone stealing my much needed medication, but living alone has made me a lil too relax. Will definitely get into the habit again of not forgetting to relock my box. Thanks for this great post. :) its good to be reminded that accidents can happen very quickly to anyone at any time.

    1. Thanks for commenting Chelsie! It is very important, it only takes one time for a child to drink it or take any type of pill and there is no coming back from it. Yes, we have to do the same thing also with bringing our bottles back or we don't get our drink! You will never see a methadone bottle laying around town.It is good practice to keep them locked up, especially with a child! Thank you chelsie!

  3. Hey Methadone Maze,
    Thanks for doing such a wonderful public service. I agree that the stigma needs to end. There are so many more people who are doing the next right thing. It's not fair to hold a whole group of people responsible for the acts of a few.
    Keep On, Keeping On

    1. Hey Pearl! Missed you girl! Thanks for commenting and thanks for the support! We need to catch up girl so DM me anytime k! Take care!


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