Diversion of methadone to illicit use can result in opioid overdose and undermines the therapeutic rationale and effectiveness of MMT. Injection of methadone carries significant additional risks including sorbitol toxicity, bacterial infection and transmission of blood borne viruses.

  • Research into methadone related deaths has consistently shown that between one third and two thirds of all methadone related deaths occurred in persons not prescribed methadone treatment.

  • The major source of diverted methadone is take away doses prescribed for patients in MMT (see also Section 3.4).
The risk of diversion of prescribed methadone can be reduced by:
  • Ensuring that, in general, methadone is consumed under supervision.

  • Careful selection and monitoring of patients eligible to receive takeaway doses taking into account the patient's stability, reliability and progress in treatment.

  • Limiting the number of consecutive takeaway doses.