Methadone and buprenorphine, when administered at the appropriate dose, ‘occupy’ the brain receptor sites affected by heroin and other opioids. As a result, they suppress withdrawal symptoms, block the euphoric and sedating effects of opioids, and relieve the craving for opioids that is a major factor in relapse. With stable dosing and in the absence of other medications that may produce euphoria or sedation, these medications do not cause euphoria or intoxication, thus allowing a person to lead a normal life. The appropriate dose is determined by a certified health care professional in conjunction with the patient and is calibrated to the individual’s medical and physiological needs.
Source: Attorneys at the Legal Action Center authored, Know Your Rights: Rights for Individuals on Medication-Assisted Treatment. HHS Publication No. (SMA) 09-4449. Rockville, MD: Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2009.