The Addictions Coach: Which Detox is Worse? Oxy, Heroin, or Methadone.
Client, ‘John Doe’, is interviewed by Cali Estes of The Addictions Coach. He shares his experiences with detoxing off of these three drugs, and the one he picks as the worst to detox may surprise you. We can help you recover from your addiction, or work with you to stay clean and sober if you are in recovery. Visit us at www.theaddictionscoach.com or call 1.800.706.0318
This is a first hand, personal account of an opiate user’s detox from Oxy, then Heroin and then Methadone. The most trying detox of the three may surprise you.
In 2009 John moved to Miami having never touched an opiate in his life, but after living in the pain pill capitol of Florida for over a year his curiosity got the best of him. A coworker turned him on to 15mg Roxy which rapidly turned into a habit. For the first 90 days John didn’t seem to detox when he didn’t have the pills, just a little tired. That’s when the whole game changed. Getting bored with the 15mg Roxies, John raised the bar to 30mg Roxy and within weeks increased to two 30mgs at a time.
Around mid 2010, Miami and all of South Florida really cracked down on local pill mills which led to John’s detox from Roxy. The scientific side of this is Roxy has a shorter half-life than other opiates so it leaves the body quicker so you get sick faster and it is very intense, but it is also over much quicker. With the Roxy, just getting through the first 72 hours is the key. Being a touring musician John left Miami for 5 weeks and seemed to have dodged a major bullet. So you would think.
Within 2 weeks of returning from the road, John started looking for pills again with no luck. That’s when his old dealer turned him on to Heroin which was cheaper and much more available. In John’s mind he had struck gold, a $100 a day roxy habit was now a $40 a day heroin habit. But true to form, that $40 a day heroin habit quickly turned into a $80 a day habit and then right back to $100 a day.
This usage lasted 2 years until personal and financial issues put the brakes on his party. This is where our first detox comparison comes in. John had quit Roxy cold turkey and suffered for 48 hours so he went into this situation with the same mindset. Huge mistake! At about the 24 hour mark from his last heroin dose the detox grabbed him physically and began 7 days of living Hell. The first 48 hours of this new heroin detox immobilized John. He couldn’t get out of bed while violently throwing up and couldn’t even keep liquid down which contributed to major dehydration. Days 3 and 4 weren’t any better. Still not being able to eat, John had no energy at all. It took every ounce of will just to walk to the kitchen and bathroom. Thinking he was going to die, John suffered through the insomnia and night sweats until Day 6. Keep in mind, this detox has been much longer than the Roxy detox. Day 6 detoxing from Heroin seemed to give John some hope. Still fatigued with zero energy, John’s other physical symptoms had gone. Now it was just dealing with being tired. By Day 9 he was fine. But how soon we forget the bad part of addiction.
After 90 days of no Heroin or opiates, John found himself craving a few bags of Heroin and temptation gave in and within days he was in full blown usage again. Over the past year he knew he had to stop. He tried a few times but all the memories of the prior detox reminded him that help was needed. He could not go through that 7 day period again. After researching his options John decided to give Methadone a try and at first it worked like magic. 24 hours after his last Heroin dose John took his first dose of Methadone. Expecting the worst, John entered Day 1 with tons of anxiety but no sickness occurred. He continued the Methadone daily and there was never any sickness. Just a little lethargy, but no sickness. After 2 weeks on Methadone John felt safe to taper down and stop.
This is where our final detox comparison comes in. Keep in mind that John only used Methadone for 2 weeks. Methadone has a much longer half-life and can last upwards of 36 hours before it even begins to leave the body. This can give a false sense of security when stopping. You will detox from Methadone and it could take 3 days before you began to feel sick. This is exactly what happened to John. Day 1 and 2 after stopping Methadone showed no signs of detox. But Day 3 was a different story. Complete fatigue set in and John began to fear the worst. Day 4 and 5 was another 48 hour window of complete fatigue. By Day 6 the stomach issues were back in full force along with the night sweats. Day 7 welcomed back the insomnia and for the next week John suffered through no energy, night sweats and insomnia for a total of a 2 week detox off Methadone. Twice the time of detox off Heroin and 3 times the detox off Roxy.
Methadone is a publicly supported maintenance program to detox from other opiates. This account is from an actual opiate user and the above story is his account of each detox. There are alternative methods surfacing to detox from opiates and you can find more information about these methods at www.theaddictionscoach.com