Why Does Dr. Drew Hate Methadone???

The short answer is: I don’t know. I have tried to find out; I have sent him two letters, one in care of the Pasadena Recovery Center, the site of his “Celebrity Rehab” show, and one to Hazelden, the well-known addiction recovery center in Minnesota that published his book “When Pain Pills Become Dangerous.” Pasadena sent my letter back to me, with a haughty “recipient not at this address” scrawled across it, and I got no answer at all from the letter I sent to Hazelden.
Judging from the remarks I’ve heard on his shows, I’m guessing he dislikes methadone because it is so difficult to taper off of, and the withdrawal lasts longer than other opioids. I agree with him about this. But he is treating different patient types than I am. He is treating celebrities, who seem to have the money to spend prolonged time in an inpatient treatment setting. This is a wonderful option for the people who can afford it. But many addicts don’t have this luxury, and to condemn a medication that can be life saving for so many suffering addicts is irresponsible.
For patients without financial resources, methadone can be life-saving, and Dr. Drew should be aware of the forty years’ studies that prove this.
I wish Dr. Drew could talk to some of my patients, to hear from them how much these medications can help. There are thousands of people in this country leading perfectly normal lives, who take a daily dose of methadone or buprenorphine (Suboxone). No one knows they are on these medications, because they don’t want to hear the negative comments stemming from the persistent stigma against these medications.

So Dr. Drew…if you’re out there, I’d like to hear from you.

7 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by kimmie on March 14, 2011 at 6:22 am

    your explanation on methadone is WAY OFF!! If someone was given painkillers after a surgery and then became addicted to them, you can’t say it’s b/c they’re a heroine addict! Methadone is for the people who can’t (n may hav tried 2) want to b able 2 get off of ANY opiate!! It cld b Heroin,vicodin, norcodin,oxycotin……etc. ,etc. Ijust think that everyone looks @ this as anyone who takes methadone (no matter the dosage)is ALWAYS looked @ as a “drug addict” n it really irks me cuz that DEFINATELY IS NOT the case @ ALL!!!!!! people ALWAYS just form an opinion on some1 n that’s the problem with this world n EVERY1’s JUDGEMENT!!! PEOPLE NEED 2 GET A LIFE N STOP JUDGING PEOPLE!!!!!!


    • Huh?

      At first I didn’t understand what you were saying, but I think you may be confusing the disease of addiction with physical dependency. True, some pain clinics use methadone to treat chronic pain. That’s not what I was talking about.

      I’m talking about methadone prescribed and dispensed at opioid treatment programs for the treatment of addiction. Opioid treatment programs don’t treat pain, but addiction. True, sometimes people with both pain and addiction feel better on methadone, but the primary purpose of the methadone in this setting is to treat addiction.

      Many people start on opioids for pain, then develop the complication of the disease of addiction. I don’t see that as a judgment. It’s a disease. Sometimes I forget the pejorative effect the word “addict” or “addiction” has in other people’s ears. I don’t mean it as a judgment. If there was an easier phrase I could use without the negative connotation, I’d use it, but most of these phrases are rather awkward.”Person with the disease of addiction” takes longer to say than “addict,” perhaps.

      Anybody have a suggestion for a new phrase?


      • Posted by leasa on February 15, 2012 at 5:56 pm

        An addict is an addict is an addict, Doesn’t matter how you got there. I am one. And methadone maintainance saved my life.

  2. Posted by Scott on July 27, 2012 at 6:52 pm

    I am an addict that used IV heroin or any other water soluble high-potency full opiate agonist I could get my hands on for 17 yrs. I am currently on buprenorphine (Suboxone) and am entering my senior year at the University of Cincinnati in their Substance Abuse Counseling program. If it were not for life-saving medications such as methadone and buprenorphine, I would most likely be dead today. Instead, I am earning a college degree and being educated to treat “my people.” I hope to work specifically with opiate addicts in the future. It is my opinion that folks like Dr. Drew have their sights on publicity and their own little agenda that does not coincide with the FACTS. I LIVED IT for nearly two decades and am nearing having my degree and can attest to the value in these medicines. I am not sure why people want to “hate” the fact that people are taking a medicine for their condition. If it works for me, why do you care? Why are you so against it? It makes no sense and I usually cannot find any validation in their arguements. Thank you Dr. Burson. You truly save lives!


  3. Posted by Nick Phillips on August 2, 2012 at 11:14 pm

    Thank you. Dr. Drew has my mother brainwashed.


  4. Posted by Concerned parent on June 1, 2015 at 3:21 am

    My 26 year son takes Methadone daily for chronic back pain. Once addicted to Oxycontin, due to a work related injury. Can you confirm for me that taking 4 pills a day for a long period of time will be okay? He lacks emotion, drive and of course has bowl problems because of this drug. But it’s better then being in pain, I would think. I’m trying to look passed the stigma of the drug, but need to know if I am being naive.
    A concerned parent.


    • Posted by Race on August 17, 2015 at 6:24 pm

      It all depends on how your son is taking his medicine.
      If he has already had addiction issues, then being on methadone for back pain is most likely going to cause further addiction problems.
      The difference between this methadone, and the methadone people take for maintenance is the way it is prescribed. With this prescription method, he can abuse his medicine at any time because he has it all on his person.
      When on maintenance, you are in a strict program that supervises your medicine intake.
      It sounds to me like he may be experiencing back pain BECAUSE he knows (more like his brain knows) (subconsciously) that it will get him the drugs his receptors are screaming for.
      This situation is VERY familiar to most addicts, as opiate addiction commonly starts out this way.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: