Methadone is a synthetic opioid used for analgesia and in opiate replacement programs, also called methadone clinics. Methadone is a central nervous system depressant.Methadone toxicity occurs when the load of methadone in a person’s system, is so great that it slows down the respiratory drive—the drive to breathe.
Thousands of patients die each year in every state from methadone toxicity, because methadone can have a variable half life among individuals. This means that one patient may eliminate half of the methadone from his body in only 9 hours, while another may eliminate half the methadone from his body only after 100 hours. If a person has a slow metabolism of methadone, and takes several days to eliminate just half of it, then repeated dosing on a daily basis can lead to a toxic, or poisonous buildup.