Can I Mix Methadone and Alcohol?

Methadone is a long-acting synthetic opiate that produces similar effects to other opioid drugs in milder and more gradual way. Methadone can be very beneficial for treating chronic pain. When combined with counseling, drug monitoring, and other resources, it has also been proven effective in the treatment of heroin and opioid addictions by suppressing withdrawals, reducing craving, and blocking the effects of other opioids. Like heroin, methadone users can develop a tolerance which can leads to dependency and addiction and withdrawals from methadone are notoriously painful.

Methadone Risks

Methadone can be a tricky medication and its usage does come with some risks. Because methadone is long lasting and has a gradual onset, unintentional overdoses are a major concern. Methadone works 24–36 hours and abusers often think that the drug has worn off sooner than it really has. Abuse of methadone has serious health risks and has been linked to a growing number of deaths. Sadly, many users take so much methadone that they fall asleep and suddenly stop breathing, suffer cardiac arrest, or they vomit and die by asphyxiation.

According to the 2012 report from the Drug Abuse Warning Network, “The number of methadone-related emergency department (ED) visits involving nonmedical use rose 71 percent between 2004 and 2009 (from 36,806 to 63,031 visits).” The 2009 ED visits involving only methadone were 21,932 (35%) and alcohol was involved in an additional 6,493 (10%) of the visits.

Mixing Methadone with Alcohol

alcohol and methadone

Mixing methadone with alcohol is dangerous.

It is never a good idea to mix methadone with alcohol. Methadone and alcohol are both central nervous system (CNS) depressants which have the ability to decrease breathing and heart rate. Combining the two is beyond dangerous, it can be fatal.

Methadone has a slow metabolism and its effects last longer than other opioid drugs. When combined with alcohol or other drugs, the mixture results in intensified and more potent effects. You may feel drunker or more euphoric, and at the least, your judgment becomes more clouded. Alcohol, like most substances, interferes with the metabolism of methadone and a normal dose can result in accidental overdose or methadone withdrawal depending on the whether the body metabolizes too much or too little. Mixing methadone and alcohol can make it difficult to achieve an adequate methadone dose and this can defeat opioid addiction recovery.


How our helpline works

For those seeking addiction treatment for themselves or a loved one, the MethadoneClinic.com helpline is a private and convenient solution.

Calls to any general helpline (non-facility specific 1-8XX numbers) for your visit will be answered by American Addiction Centers (AAC).

We are standing by 24/7 to discuss your treatment options. Our representatives work solely for AAC and will discuss whether an AAC facility may be an option for you. Our helpline is offered at no cost to you and with no obligation to enter into treatment. Neither MethadoneClinic.com nor AAC receives any commission or other fee that is dependent upon which treatment provider a visitor may ultimately choose.

For more information on AAC’s commitment to ethical marketing and treatment practices, or to learn more about how to select a treatment provider, visit our About AAC page. If you wish to explore additional treatment options or connect with a specific rehab center, you can browse top-rated listings or visit SAMHSA.