Methadone Maintenance

The Maintenance Programme at CASP

The Methadone Maintenance programme at CASP is run by the HSE

To join the methadone maintenance programme at CASP you must be;

  • A resident of North Clondalkin and,
  • over 18 years of age
    • All maintenance clients are assessed for the programme regarding their suitability.

      Once a place on the programme has been allocated clients are assigned a Key Worker and a Counsellor to support them through their recovery. You will also have access to all services offered by CASP including holistics, primary health care etc

      If you would like to join our programme please contact 01 6166 750.

      About Methadone
      Methadone is a synthetic opioid. It is prescribed to dependent users of heroin and other opioids as a substitute for these drugs over a prolonged period of time (can be indefinite), and can be used where detoxification has been unsuccessful and/or admittance to a substance abuse treatment facility requires complete abstinence.

      In methadone maintenance treatment programs, methadone usually comes as a syrup that patients drink with fruit juice or cordial. "Methadone maintenance makes possible a first step toward social rehabilitation. . ." (Auerbach, 1976 p. 26) by fixing and maintaining the level of drugs in an addicts system thereby avoiding the uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms that abstinence from the substance of abuse initiates.

      Methadone has similar depressant and analgesic effects to other opioids. However, methadone's effects last much longer (24 hours as opposed to a few hours). Methadone does not have the euphoric effects that heroin does.

      If an excessively low dose of methadone is prescribed, effects similar to those of heroin withdrawal may be experienced (that is, flu-like symptoms, nausea, diarrhoea, aches, irritability and insomnia). On the contrary, an excessively high dose can cause similar effects to those associated with long-term heroin use (for example, drowsiness, nausea, dizziness, shallow breathing, low body temperature, slow pulse, heart palpitations).

      Side effects of methadone (not related to the dosage level) can include excessive sweating, constipation, aches, rashes, fluid retention, loss of appetite and stomach cramps. Long-term methadone use causes tooth decay. Taking methadone in combination with other depressants increases the risk of overdose. If someone who is not dependent on opioids takes methadone the effects are very strong and the risk of overdose is very high.

      The Law
      Methadone can only be legally obtained by prescription from a doctor who is a registered methadone prescriber. Injecting methadone, taking more than one dose at a time, or supplying one's methadone to someone else is illegal. Stiff penalties apply to illicit possession or supply of methadone and to illicit prescription of methadone.


      Once you are offered a place on the Methadone programme you will mainly work with the following staff members;

      1. CASP Nurse 2. GP 3. Key Worker 4. Counsellor

      1. CASP Nurse
      The CASP Nurse works with your GP in managing your medical treatment whilst you are a client of our service.

      You are welcome to visit the CASP Nurse for all medical concerns. The Nurse can also assist with the following
      • Vaccinations
      • Issues concerning pregnancy
      • Information regarding safe injecting practices
      • Concerns regarding blood borne diseases and health screening
      • All health concerns

      2. General Practitioner (GP)
      You will be assigned to a particular GP before you start the programme. Your GP sits at CASP one session per week and you will be advised of this time.

      You will need to meet with your GP on a regular basis. At the first meeting your GP will explain how the methadone programme works, decide on a starting dose and answer any queries you may have.

      You will be expected to stop using all drugs and alcohol except what is prescribed to you by your CASP GP. This is especially important because methadone and other drugs/alcohol may not mix well and could result in accidental death.

      You will also be required to provide supervised urines during clinic times Monday and Thursday. This may be subject to change.

      Urine samples are sent for laboratory analysis and results are kept in your clinical file.
      Only appropriate members of your personal treatment team will have access to these results, and only for the purpose of supporting your progression on the programme.

      If you wish for anyone else to have access to these results (or any other information about your status as a CASP client) you will have to provide written permission.

      3. Key Worker

      You will be assigned a Key Worker when you start the Methadone programme

      As mentioned previously, your Key Worker will meet with you when you start the Methadone programme, and will develop a Client Care Plan with you. Your Key Worker is expected to meet with you at least once every six weeks and will review your Care Plan and your progress at these meetings

      Your Key Worker will meet with you regularly whilst you are on the programme and is available to help/support you with any practical matters including organising training, help with job seeking, assistance with housing/accommodation issues, support in contacting other agencies, getting a medical card, support in issues you may be involved with and many others areas.

      Key Workers also run the clinic and groups at CASP

      4. Counsellor

      You asked whether you would like a Counsellor when you start the Methadone programme

      If you would like to see a Counsellor you will be assigned a suitable, trained practitioner who will make contact you will organize counseling sessions to assist and support you in achieving your goals and addressing issues or concerns you may have.

      The CASP Dispensing Clinic is open Monday to Friday (4:30pm-6:30pm) and Saturday/Sunday (10:00am-11:00am). The Clinic is staffed by a Pharmacist and two GA’s from the Health Board, and supported by CASP staff.