Methadone blamed for 30 percent of painkiller overdoses

Methadone Alert: Methadone blamed for 30% of Painkiller Overdoses

Methadone was blamed for 30% of painkiller overdose deaths

Many people today have witnessed someone they love, or known somebody who has lost their lives trough the battle of drug addiction. When you hear or think about someone dying of a drug overdose, you wonder what drug took control of that person’s life. Prescription pain killers are the number one cause of overdose deaths in the country. Methadone although only accounting for 2% of painkiller prescriptions in the United States causes over 30% of pain killer related overdoses, this is more than heroin and cocaine combined. Clearly, by hearing this one fact, you can tell how highly addictive and dangerous the drug methadone is.

Methadone on the Rise…

         Since the 1960’s, methadone has been used as a heroin substitute safely in drug related rehabilitation centers. Methadone’s effects are similar to those of morphine which gives the patient a similar feeling of using heroin before they are slowly weaned off completely. Eventually starting in the 1990’s, methadone began being prescribed for pain related issues, which can be directly correlated to the beginning of the abuse of methadone. Now, in the United States more people are prescribed methadone for pain relief than they are for drug addiction treatment. Recently in 2009, thirteen states confirmed that 4 out of every 10 overdose deaths are caused from the single pain killer methadone. The irony of this rise of methadone is… it has not even been thoroughly proven to effectively decrease chronic non-cancer pain.

What Factors Are Helping this Rise of Methadone?

  • The cost of methadone is considerably cheaper than other painkillers. So therefore, insurance companies prefer it to be prescribed for controlling pain.
  • Has a long duration period for pain control.
  • It is available in liquid form for oral use, which may make it seem less intimidating than taking a pill.
  • Most prescriptions for methadone are given by primary care doctors or mid level practitioners (nurse practitioners), but not pain specialists. 


How to Reduce Methadone Abuse

  • Only doctors who are experienced with methadone and pain specialty can prescribe it.
  • To detect and monitor patients who have a history of drug abuse or mental health problem.
  • Prescribe the minimum amount of methadone needed to treat the quantity of pain and the time that pain lasts for.
  • Monitor patients on drug monitoring programs to make sure they are not abusing methadone or other drugs.
  • Doctors should educate their patient on the background of the drug and the precautions they need to be aware of while taking it.

 What to Pay Attention to…

Methadone, like all drugs, if it is used appropriately and prescribed correctly by your physician it can hold the key to amazing results. Unfortunately, methadone has proved to be an extremely addictive and dangerous drug if abused or taken incorrectly. The rise of methadone overdoses, although terrible, will hopefully kick start the development of a new pain management drug that is safer to take and more reliable for patients and physicians around the country.

If you or anyone you may know suffers from drug addiction, the road to recovery is always available. Click Here For More Information