Methadone tied to one-third of prescription painkiller deaths
July 3rd, 2012
02:44 PM ET

Methadone tied to one-third of prescription painkiller deaths

If you are not grappling with cancer-related pain, you probably should not be taking prescription methadone

That is the message spiraling out of startling statistics suggesting using methadone inappropriately is linked to one-third of prescription painkiller overdose deaths.

Methadone accounted for a mere 2% of prescriptions in 2009, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data that spans 10 years and 13 states, but was responsible for 30% of prescription painkiller deaths. 

"Methadone is riskier than other opiates for treating non-cancer pain," said Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the CDC, who added that there is limited scientific evidence it works for chronic non-cancer pain. "It should only be used for pain when other drugs haven't been effective."

Frieden distinguished between methadone that is used to treat addiction to heroin, for example, and the increased use of prescription methadone as a first-resort for treating chronic pain.

It appears that some methadone deaths may be traced back to the 4 million prescriptions written for the drug each year in the United States. But according to the CDC report, "Studies using medical examiner data suggested... that most persons who overdosed were using it without a prescription."

And while there has not been a dramatic increase in the number of prescriptions written for methadone over the years, the overdose rate from 1999 to 2009 increased about six-fold.

CDC data do not characterize how methadone overdose deaths occur, but it is known that prescription opiates can depress the functioning of the central nervous system. Taking too much methadone - or mixing it with other CNS-depressants like oxycodonehydrocodone or even alcohol - could effectively stop breathing. 

"(Methadone) acts differently in different people's bodies," said Frieden.  "They take a small amount but it could last days in their bodies and cause serious problems."

What can be confusing for patients taking the drug is that methadone is long-acting - it tends to linger in the body. That means that after the pain-relief wears off, the drug could still be circulating in someone's system. Patients get into trouble when similar-acting drugs are also introduced during this time.

But methadone can also be deadly alone. According to this week's CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, methadone accounted for about 40% of  single-drug opioid deaths.

The risk of overdose is higher when methadone is first prescribed, if the dose is increased, or if your doctor recently switched you to methadone from another medication, according to consumer information about the drug posted on the National Institutes of Health website.

Methadone may owe its status as a preferred painkiller to the fact that it's cheaper than other prescription opiates, according to Frieden.  But cheap does not equal effective.

"Using methadone for pain is pennywise and pound foolish," said Frieden.

"The societal costs of saving a dollar or two from a pill," in terms of deaths, addiction and other problems, he added, "are just too great."

Some solutions to the prescription opiate problem may lie in actions already being undertaken by some states, including prescription drug monitoring programs.

And the onus is also on doctors, according to the CDC's most recent Vital Signs report.

"Providers should use methadone as an analgesic only for conditions where benefit outweighs risk to patients and society," according to the report.  "Methadone and other extended-release opioids should not be used for mild pain, acute pain, 'breakthrough' pain, or on an as-needed basis."

soundoff (320 Responses)
  1. Elixir Martian

    Reblogged this on NosyAss®.com and commented:
    People think prescription drugs are safe! Not Likely

    July 3, 2012 at 15:57 | Report abuse | Reply
    • hillbilleter

      I don't think people believe that prescription drugs are safe. But they are safe when used as prescribed, by those for whom they are prescribed. The people who use them in an unsafe manner are the ones who have the problems.

      July 3, 2012 at 16:34 | Report abuse |
    • Randumb

      I'm plugging my site at BLAH DOT COM and you should give us hits and ad revenue.

      July 4, 2012 at 03:07 | Report abuse |
    • Michael Patmas, MD

      This is no surprise. Many of us predicted this catastrophe when the feds began promoting more aggressive treatment of chronic pain in 2000. Because of its half-lfe, Methadone is responsible for 1/3 or opiate overdose deaths. The remaining 2/3 are due to other opiates. The problem is not so much the opiate, it's the mistaken notion that these drugs are taken for pain in the first place. 1/3 of opiate prescriptions are diverted for illicit resale. Another 1/3 are consumed by addicts for whom no dose is high enough. If awakened from a narcotized stupor, they ask for more. Only 1/3 of patients taking opiates for chronic pain actually have an identifiable medical condition. The federal government created this mess.

      July 5, 2012 at 12:04 | Report abuse |
    • Orange Mandarin

      Michael, I cant comment on the accuracy of your statistics but I dont for a second doubt them. I do, however, see a problem with extrapolating your data to cover methadone. Is a particularly poor drug for recreational use which is evident from its use as an opiate treatment. While I do imagine a significant portion of opiates make their way to the black market I would argue that methadone is likely one of the lesser culprits. In fact, I cant seem to keep an opana around for two hours but I have 40mg wafer from two years ago that nobody wants. Methadone, like suboxone, has a black market value but its in its ability to prevent withdrawals that its found its home. As long as theres a better option methadone will not be bothered with by anyone who has a clue what else is available.

      July 5, 2012 at 17:08 | Report abuse |
    • darryl

      Orange, it sounds like you know your stuff but methadone is actually really potent. I was addicted to opiates for four years. For a solid year I would drive an hour a few times a week to pick up a bunch of methadone and because it lasted so long and was so potent, it was my drug of choice before going IV.

      It's really misleading to compare methadone to suboxone because suboxone has an opiate antagonist in it, making it very difficult to OD on. I've never known anyone to use methadone to stop withdrawals but I do know people (and used to) get suboxone illicitly to stop withdrawals. It (subs) lasts so much longer than suboxone and if your tolerance is high (you're addicted) you can't get (noticably) high from it.

      While abusing methadone, I was lucky my blanket was flame retardant as I dropped lit cigs in my lap at night so many times I can't count, due to what is know as the 'dope fiend lean' where addicts are so messed up, they pass out while sitting up, nod out for a minute, and wake up when they start falling down or their cig burns them.

      This post is not surprising in the least.

      P.S. If you're reading this and addicted to opiates, PLEASE SEEK HELP! For me, I needed to OD before I got the help I required. I am very lucky to have a very supportive family but it would have been much easier if I'd have come clean myself. I've been sober for a year and two months thanks to great therapy, a supportive family, and a wonderful suboxone doctor who, contrary to what people think of doctors, actually listens to what I'm saying and takes an active role in my recovery. Don't wait for something to happen to get help, because whatever happens to force it will be awful and will stick with you for life. Seek help NOW!

      July 9, 2012 at 01:55 | Report abuse |
  2. Peanut

    Prescription drugs, when used as advised by a doctor for therapeutically and monitored conditions, are very safe.

    July 3, 2012 at 16:07 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Max Brooks

      Marijuana is safer

      July 4, 2012 at 08:30 | Report abuse |
    • David

      Who is going to monitor them? The new Obamacare monitoring committee?

      July 8, 2012 at 08:02 | Report abuse |
  3. boh1066

    "Pennywise and tom foolish". Really? And from the director of the CDC. Hopefully he was misquoted. Pennywise and pound foolish is the saying.

    July 3, 2012 at 16:13 | Report abuse | Reply
    • stryker

      Unless they updated the article, he does say " 'Using methadone for pain is pennywise and pound foolish,' said Frieden."

      July 3, 2012 at 17:17 | Report abuse |
  4. hillbilleter

    How are the increased number of street users getting all the pills, if the prescription rates haven't really gone up so much? Patients need a better way to secure their prescription meds from theft, as well as some way of tracking it onto the street once it is stolen.

    July 3, 2012 at 16:40 | Report abuse | Reply
    • All41

      Many of them are in Methadone programs for heroin withdrawal etc... Only they enroll in multiple county clinics in different counties and because of HIPPA the clinics cannot figure out if they already are getting methadone elsewhere. These clinics only give out one dose each morning. So then they spend all morning driving around to get their free methadone, which they can either use excessively themselves or sell on the street. Its free because most states give out methadone for free in the hopes of resolving heroin junkie thefts.

      July 3, 2012 at 17:26 | Report abuse |
    • mfmaine

      People who go to methadone clinics are not treated for pain with methadone, it can only be legally prescribed for pain by a primary care physician or pain management specialist. It is almost impossible for a clinic patient to receive doses at more than one clinic because there are practices in place that make that unlikely. Lastly, the vast majority of methadone on the street does NOT come from methadone clinics. The majority of clinics provide methadone in liquid form rather than pills.

      July 3, 2012 at 18:13 | Report abuse |
    • warsteiner

      Well in Connecticut it would be impossible to enroll in multiple programs. Drugs hit the streets in many ways,some get taken from the distributors,some are procured by sales people and doctors,some are stolen from warehouses, If there is a way to get them people will think of it. Drug addicts are not stupid and lazy contrary to popular belief. Drug addicts are slice of us all,they come from all walks of life

      July 4, 2012 at 05:38 | Report abuse |
    • Rodboy

      They need to be home to do this, plus they need to pay attention to their children , instead of giving them toys to play with and sending them ontheir way.

      July 4, 2012 at 09:09 | Report abuse |
    • Orange Mandarin

      Also, methadone isnt free at any methadone clinics I'm aware of. I know many methadone maintenance patients and I have two friends who work for clinics. If anything, a methadone clinic is the greatest con known to man. $17 a day, everyday for something that cost less than a dollar. And they tell you from the get go its for life.....

      July 5, 2012 at 17:11 | Report abuse |
  5. McIver3

    I have a friend who is taking prescription opiates for chronic pain and they use a medium sized safe to store their pills in. So unless someone was to steal the entire safe, the meds are safe.

    July 3, 2012 at 17:57 | Report abuse | Reply
    • arkansas

      We do the same thing for my 85 year old father's methadone which he takes for chronic pain. He lives with us and we carefully monitor all of his meds. Methadone in better than the oxy class of drugs for his condition.

      July 6, 2012 at 10:37 | Report abuse |
  6. Canadian 013

    man are the States sad, used to love going down there now its just so toxic racially, politically, health care wise and banksters... good lord have mercy on the good ol'USA cuz it needs it, you guys need to learn to work together again that's when everyone loved America now its just a state of self first and soul second... no faith, no future.

    good luck friends, your in a fight for your tomorrow.

    July 3, 2012 at 18:05 | Report abuse | Reply
    • warsteiner

      Thank you for doing all of us the favor of not coming to our country. Its always obvious when you come because the air becomes fowl with stink.

      July 4, 2012 at 05:40 | Report abuse |
    • Rodboy

      Can, I don't think we cornered the market on Morons here in the US. If you watch the news, there are many countries headed down the road. In Canada, they just let it happen and take care of themselves.

      July 4, 2012 at 09:15 | Report abuse |
    • Bowtie

      Well said Canadian 13. The good old boys club has gone south and has taken the money, job's and the future of all Amercians. Mexico is the New United States

      July 4, 2012 at 09:33 | Report abuse |
    • David

      I no longer take dual citizenship for granted!

      July 4, 2012 at 18:07 | Report abuse |
  7. Ugly Fool

    Watch how you mix and match you pills Mr. Limbaugh!

    July 3, 2012 at 18:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Tonya1968

    I am glad there is finally some spotlight being put on all the methadone related deaths. Unfortunately they are downplaying all the deaths that occur from the methadone clinics due to inadequate physician training and diversion. Most of these deaths are greatly underreported due to the fact that most patients taking methadone are also taking other prescribed medication and therefore the cause of death is listed as polypharmacy when actually methadone is the real culprit! Please visit http://www.stopmethadonedeaths.com for more information.

    July 3, 2012 at 20:11 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Bx


      July 4, 2012 at 07:31 | Report abuse |
    • Orange Mandarin

      Actually they drug test regularly at methadone clinics to make sure you arent taking anything else. They also make you get a form signed from any doctors you see stating they are aware of your methadone dose etc. The biggest issue with methadone deaths is the first month or so when they give you 30 mg to start and up you 3-5mg per week until you are "stable". Some folks take months to get "stable" and they supplement their methadone with whatever it takes to keep from getting sick while they work up the dose. This is the danger period and its mostly from mixing methadone with benzos, not other pain killers.

      July 5, 2012 at 17:15 | Report abuse |
  9. saveus

    Good job big pharma! Making one drug to take the place of a illegal drug. Lets get the addicts hooked on something that you make a profit from. Its no different, an addiction is an addiction regardless of the drug. Only the sad part is, the big pharma is making money off these people dying and over dosing on prescription meds.

    July 3, 2012 at 20:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. ERP

    I'm guessing that there is a lot more methadone getting diverted to the black market because more opioid addicts are using buprenorphine. As such, the number of prescriptions should have gone way down. Since it has remained steady, all of those un-needed pills are being sold on the black market.

    July 3, 2012 at 23:48 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Orange Mandarin

      actually methadone comes from a clinic where there is not a prescription issued so clinics do not show up in the statistics given in the article. That means suboxone's rise has no net effect on prescriptions written for methadone as its only prescribed in pill form for pain. Methadone from clinics is liquid form so theres no pills to hit the black market as you state.

      July 5, 2012 at 17:18 | Report abuse |
  11. in u mouth

    @ all41 nt free an some pay its based on income an sowe get a weeks worth an @ canadian 013 its nt all like that an u got drugs an place thats just as bad

    July 4, 2012 at 00:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. yahmez

    The Taliban has something that will help you get over methadone addiction...

    July 4, 2012 at 02:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. gavsmom

    the law in the u.s. is if u go to a methadone clinic all clinics within a 400 mile radius is notified to prevent people from using multiple clinics

    July 4, 2012 at 03:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. gavsmom

    excuse the error. i meant are notified. anyhow the point is it would be extremely hard to drive 400 miles there and back every single day to get methadone if it's even possible as most clinics only dose in the mornings and a few thru early afternoon

    July 4, 2012 at 03:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Bx

    A pharmacy delivered to wrong door methadone..my brother died 11 years ago today.I also had a young friend cremated after talking in October.They don't even know they died!

    July 4, 2012 at 07:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Shawn L

    My girlfriends brother just died two weeks ago from taking methodone and drinking alcohol. He was bi-polar, was in the hospital for mental health issues, and then released and found dead that morning at a gas station.

    July 4, 2012 at 08:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Dolce21

    If used as prescibed by a physician who knows and is a specialist in substance abuse, this medication (which it is) is a great help to those who use it for herion abuse. It has a proven rate!

    July 4, 2012 at 10:44 | Report abuse | Reply
    • doc

      THis is a social myth; there is nothing life threatening about narcotic withdrawal; and methadone is only trading one narcotic addiction for another. Furthermore, one of the biggest arguments for using methadone is so the herion-hopped up folks wont steal from others to support their habits. Truth be told, lots of studies show the thiefs rob and then do herion with all that extra money; not starting drugs then reverting to stealing.

      July 5, 2012 at 15:08 | Report abuse |
  18. Bud Buzz

    Therapeutic bong hits

    July 4, 2012 at 13:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Laura

    Comeon, CNN, give some relevant numbers.
    "Methadone accounted for a mere 2% of prescriptions...but was responsible for 30% of prescription painkiller deaths" is not a relevant comparison.
    What percent of "prescription painkillers" did methadone make up? If methadone was, say, 90% of prescription painkillers, then it means it is safer than the others. If it's only 10% of prescription painkillers, then it is less safe.
    So what's the number CNN?

    July 4, 2012 at 14:14 | Report abuse | Reply
    • doc

      not really; if teh deaths occured in those without a script; seems like those with a methadone script like to share, or leave their drug around for others to abuse...?

      July 5, 2012 at 15:01 | Report abuse |
    • Orange Mandarin

      Close doc. Remove those who take methadone for pain as prescribed by a doctor from the equation. They make up next to zero percent of the deaths. Now consider someone who abuses oxycontin and cant get any but finds methadone. Do you know how much methadone it takes to feel as good as 30mg of oxycontin? Hell no you dont because no one does. No amount of methadone will ever feel anywhere near as good as a minor amount of oxycodone. The inexperienced drug user will learn that eventually if he doesnt die from an overdose of methadone along the way. Thinking all pain killers are the same and only the doseages differ is the heart of the od problem. 200mg of methadone may well kill you but it wont feel as good as 5mg of oxycodone. Sadly, stupid kids think taking another one is the answer to the problem.

      July 5, 2012 at 17:24 | Report abuse |
  20. bencoates57

    I've been taking one 10mg oxycodone / 325 APAP a day for 2.5 years and it does wonders for my mood, capabilities, energy, creativity, and eliminates background stress and fatigue and makes me happy. There's been no damage as a result of this. People don't understand it's the acetaminophen that's worse for you than the opiates. Keep to 650 or less on acetaminophen. Beers, Tylenol, and even coca-cola are worse for you than opiates. Take as prescribed and keep the acetaminophen low and you'll be fine.

    July 4, 2012 at 15:34 | Report abuse | Reply
    • martha c

      Sounds like you are addicted....it also sounds like you are taking methadone to help your mood/get high, not to control pain!

      July 5, 2012 at 00:22 | Report abuse |
    • Orange Mandarin

      Martha, he said he was taking oxycontin, not methadone. And it sounds like youre a bit judgmental.

      July 5, 2012 at 17:26 | Report abuse |
    • Jeff

      Sorry bencoats but I don't believe you. ONE pill a day for 2.5 years.? Your tolerance to one pill was built up 2.3 years ago. One pill does nothing for you. You are taking more so seek help.

      July 7, 2012 at 10:48 | Report abuse |
  21. dave

    Why even prescribe methadone, that stuff is terrible and I can only imagine it's for legal or political reasons. Give them some real opiate with less side effects.

    July 4, 2012 at 17:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Donnie

    I can say, unequivocally, that methadone maintenance therapy saved my life. I had tried every possible method multiple times to kick a six year heroin habit and was unsuccessful. After a two year stint at the methadone clinic, I have been drug free for over a decade. The clinics I attended were professional, effectively self-policed, had multiple skilled and involved doctors on staff that I saw at least monthly, had mandatory weekly counselor sessions as well as support groups, and closely monitored patients for illicit drug use. I really hope that the people using methadone irresponsibly don't ruin the reputation of a drug that is a lifesaver for countless people suffering from the hell of opiate dependance.

    July 4, 2012 at 22:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. sister

    My sister died in 2005 the first time she took methadone. She was given 3 by somebody that normally took 3. She went to bed that night and never woke up. It is a horrible drup!

    July 5, 2012 at 01:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Andrew

    Like all opioid based drugs, Methadone should only be used as a last resort. For those who take it, I really hope you have a good reason to be taking it because most people on it shouldn't be taking it at all. First of all, dosing it is incredibly difficult since it has an extremely long half life, it stays in the body FOREVER, and even longer for those who don't take it at all. Secondly, you don't NEED drugs to kick any sort of habit, again, problem with Americans and people in general, no one forced you to use addictive drugs, you only have yourself to blame for using heroin in the first place. You can detox from it and if you have the willpower, which again, most of you do not, you can kick any habit, smoking, drinking, and drugs. When people in general learn to accept their poor decisions and deal with them, you will always find something to blame. Also, the article stated that methadone leads statistically as the SINGLE drug that caused the most deaths in the studied time period, meaning the person who died did not have any other drugs in their system at the time. Learn to comprehend what the article was saying. CNN doesn't always write the best medical articles, but this one was pretty spot on, however, most of the comments failed to actually read everything that was written.

    July 5, 2012 at 01:51 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Donnie

      Your comment is a little myopic. Many people on methadone maintenance therapy are being treated for detox from legitimate pain medication use, people recovering from doctor ordered extended opioid treatment after major surgeries, severe injuries, and chronic conditions. And will-power is a great quality, one that should be cultivated no-doubt, but I would like to see you pop into any rehabilitation clinic and let the staff know that they are wasting their time; that the addicts just aren't trying hard enough on their own. You obviously have no experience with or idea how addiction works. While using addictive substances is obviously poor judgment, many addicts come from homes and situations where self-respect and good judgment are not intrinsically taught values.

      July 6, 2012 at 12:05 | Report abuse |
  25. Lou Cypher

    methadone is more dangerous than the heroin is replaces,
    but you can get it because methadone dealers paid formalized bribes and have immunity from prosecution

    heroin dealers can't afford formalized bribes, so they can only pay informal ones, and those dont work as well

    July 5, 2012 at 05:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. mlblogs2012

    Methadone has a half-life that is much greater than it's pain relief properties.. So a person may feel pain and still have active methadone in the body.. The results: people than take more methadone, not realizing it is still active in the body, leading to overdoses and death..

    July 5, 2012 at 10:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. doc

    When you make a comment like "It should only be used for pain when other drugs haven't been effective." and then follow it with a statement that most of the deaths are in folks using it without a script.... Well, I conclude you are reckless Dr Frieden, CDC or not after your name. I think what it says is those abusing it don't take it as seriously as other narcotics, and probably do not know about the agonist /antagonist isues and induction of resistence associated with it. We use it in Michigan; it is a cheap and effective medicine for chronic pain associated with end of life...

    July 5, 2012 at 14:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Tom

    It's funny how legal methadone kills more people than illegal heroin. SMH. That's the war on drugs for you. Replace an illegal feel good one with a legal feel bad one which will kill you.

    July 5, 2012 at 16:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Tom

    Got "restless leg syndrome" try the new straightlegcia...side effects include insomnia, sleepiness, weight gain, weight loss, high blood pressure, low blood pressure, depression, happiness, death.

    July 5, 2012 at 16:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. tessaprn

    Any drug that is abused can be deadly. Because of those who use drugs for their recreation it has made it very difficult for those who would benefit from these medications for chronic pain relief. Abuse aspirin it can caused death. Oxycontin is an excellent medication for those who suffer chronic pain but again because crazy people want entertainment it's use for what it is intended for has declined by prescribing physicians. How can marijuana be legalized when the masses cannot even take medications that are legal correctly!

    July 6, 2012 at 04:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Barbara

    My sister died of a Methadone overdose within hours after recieving her dosage from a clinic 14 years ago...What has always haunted me is not knowing, if they'd given her too much, or did she herself. I've never had any trust in using Methadone as treatment for the evil herion addition. Basically, it's legal herion, just replacing one deadly drug for another. Fatal time bomb either way.

    July 6, 2012 at 11:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. rolmbo

    I took methadone when my insurance ran out and I could no longer afford my fentanyl and I took it as prescribed and had no problems. After my insurance was restored I than had my doctor change me to morphine and he started me at 300mg per day I have since cut it down to 100mg per day. I think people who die from this stuff just abuse the medicine if you take it as prescribed you won’t have any problems. Some people mix it with alcohol, ambien, zanax etc. looking for a high than the surviving spouse or parents try to blame the methadone manufacture or the prescribing doctor. The bottom line is you have to read the handout they give at the pharmacy with the medicine or if you don’t understand it the pharmacist will be more than glad to consult with you. The kid down the street from me was a recovering heroin addict and he mixed it with alcohol and ambien just hours after getting his prescription filled and sure enough he overdosed and died. He was the child of my wife’s best friend and I read the autopsy report all preventable and very sad. This is not a street drug that has been cut you are talking pharmaceutical strength medicine here it’s 100 percent pure. You can’t play with it and that’s what many addicts can’t seem to get through their heads.

    July 7, 2012 at 03:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Stacey

    Take the high out of the pain killer. May not be a simple solution, but it is a solution.

    July 7, 2012 at 09:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Bren ONeal

    Methadone deaths continue to rise all across the USA and the world. Methadone is a dangerous/deadly drug that kills innocent victims whether prescribed for pain or addictions. On 4/5/06 we lost our 33 y/o daughter that was prescribed Methadone as pain medication. After reading her Autopsy and Toxicology reports we know she died within 8 hours after taking her first dose. One 10 mg Methadone pill can kill. The last 6 years I've worked with Mothers who have lost their adult children to Methadone deaths and we will be their voices as we stand together in their memory.Sadly, the CDC has not reported on deaths from Methadone Clinics or by Diversion. Please visit http://www.stopmethadonedeaths.com as we help bring awareness to the public the truth behind Methadone.

    July 7, 2012 at 10:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Jason

    It's funny how the usual people show up on this thread to whine about the war on drugs, when methadone maintenance treatments are a result of shifting focus away from the war on drugs to treatment. Methadone is a legal drug. Isn't that what they were asking for? Now that it turns out that there is an epidemic of abuse, and tens of thousands end up dead, they ironically try to shift the responsibility away from the addict to a third party i.e. war on drugs. These people have absolutely no reason or common sense.

    July 8, 2012 at 08:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Jason

    "Sadly, the CDC has not reported on deaths from Methadone Clinics or by Diversion."

    Just imagine what would happen if cocaine or methamphetamines were legalized in the U.S. We would see cocaine clinics peddling their drugs the same way methadone clinics do. It's a disaster waiting to happen. But there's no pleasing the anti -war-on-drugs crowd. Because in America nobody wants to take personal responsibility for their actions anymore. It's all the governments fault!

    July 8, 2012 at 08:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Emily

    The basic gist of how methadone works, for those that aren't familiar: Imagine being an addict, and the substance you are addicted to just so happens to be something you need to control chronic, debilitating pain. Often, this is how people become addicts. After taking opioid painkillers for so long, your body builds up a tolerance, requiring you to take more. After years and years of going back and forth between active addiction and agonizing pain, you are introduced to a simple solution: A medication taken once daily that eliminates the "high" from opiates such as painkillers, heroin, etc. So now, if I were to take an Oxycontin, or even use heroin, my body still gets the pain relief from it, but does not experience any kind of high. This is key because now I am finally able to use pain medications ONLY WHEN my pain is truly bad enough to need them. I can't get that "feel-good, floaty, euphoric" feeling anymore, so there is no point in using opiates recreationally. This is the closest "cure" to addiction I have ever had, and because of this I will always be a strong proponent of monitored methadone use.

    July 8, 2012 at 12:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Riaq Pestronky

    Wow, what a quality it is! Since mostly YouTube video lessons have no nice quality, however this is really a good quality video.

    July 15, 2012 at 14:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Shezzy

    Purdue Pharma recently announced it is conducting clinical trials on OxyContin in children. Immediately some have criticized, suggesting that the exposure to opioids at an early age will inevitably lead to addiction later in life. The larger issue that was missed is that there are times opioids are necessary for children. Children in intensive care units, emergency rooms, post operatively or in rehab often require strong analgesics. These are children with cancer, with severe burns, with sickle cell anemia or other conditions. It would be cruel and inhumane to leave children untreated who experience extraordinary amounts of pain. Of course opioids should not be the first line of therapy if an alternative is available, but they may be the only way to provide relief. So the question is not whether opioids should be used in children but rather how to use them safely when they are necessary. The only way we can know how to safely use medications in children is if they are studied in children. Science should inform patient safety.

    To follow Dr. Webster visit us at http://yourlifesource.org/blog/2012/07/pediatrics-and-oxycontin/

    August 1, 2012 at 11:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. UltimateAppster

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  41. Martin

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  42. Megan

    Thank you Donnie!
    I myself have 1 year 9 months and 7 days clean from all substances. I am on 70 Mgs of my legally prescribed methadone daily. 3 days a week I dose at my clinic and 4 days out of the week I dose at home. My medication is kept in a lock box to which I only know the combination to. Since entering the treatment program, I have restored my realationhips with family and friends and co workers. I have received employee of the month at y job multiple times. I also created my own online support group for women on methadone. I also have a group for women I run at my clinic weekly. I have about 70 women online and over 50 in my group. Besides that, I attend weekly counseling sessions and groups. I function just as anyone else would. I don't get "high" from my medication I function. It takes away my cravings as well as my strong desire I use to have to want to use. I honestly would be dead or in jail without it. My husband also is in the program he is about to celebrate 3 years this October the 10th! We attend the same clinic. He is five Mgs below me. Your dose is determend by the nurses and doctors you are brought up from 30mgs until you have reached your stable dose. Most clinics do a plasma test or peak and trough test yearly to make sure your dose doesn't need to be adjusted. Sometimes your body metabolizes the mehadone to quickly and you will need an increase some people are in need of a decrease. It makes me so sad when I have to deal with the stigma of not only my disease, but methadone Maintence treatment in general. People are most of the time just uneducated. They believe none of us work and we all pile in there to dose and get our " fix" they also believe we are getting high. This is absolutely not true. If you are in a stable dose and following the program and obstaing from other drugs and alcohol and you have reached a stable dose than you are not getting high! If you were the nurses would know as would the doctors. For one you are given drug tests all the time. If you are caught with drugs even prescription drugs that aren't prescribed and approved by the clinic doctor, you will be detoxed as quickly and sadly as possible and most Likly removed from the program. There are rules to follow. They want you to build a life again. Thy give you structure, hold you accountable for your decisions and choices. If ou are a patient like me and you thank god every day for this blessing. And you follow all clinic rules and guidelines and take it seriously than you can only improve yourself! You can only get better! You can prove people wrong when they say ugh she is on that methadone she is still a junkie. I prove people wrong every single day. I wake up at five evey day and I have routine in my life. I have structure and balence. Most importantly I have my sobriety. And no one I mean no one but me can take that away. I have no plans on stopping how far I have come in fact, I plan to keep bettering myself I plan to keep educating people i plan to keep helping people and I plan to stay sober! It is a doctors office people go there I get their medication, to get counseling, to attend groups, to treat there hep c, to treat their disease of addiction and I think that's great! I hope everyone has a great day.

    September 7, 2013 at 08:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Stephen

    Wow! Where do I begin?
    Yes, thank you Donnie and thank you also Megan.
    Yes, this article is very misleading and truly racked with unverified, and unverifiable, data.
    First, let me say that this article speaks on "using methadone inappropriately is linked to one-third of prescription painkiller overdose deaths." That type of statement can include so many different scenarios and possibilities that it's obviously meant to be inflaming. The following paragraph ends by saying it's "responsible for 30% of prescription painkiller deaths." So in a matter of a few seconds we went from being, "linked to one third of prescription painkillers overdose deaths." to a modified, "responsible for 30% of prescription painkiller deaths." Not only did they changed "linked" to "responsible" but they removed the word "overdose" to say "prescription painkillers deaths," to have you focus on the painkiller part instead of the whole overdose syndrome which could have included god knows what. This is also done to demonize methadone. Further down in the article they compare sub-groups of statistics from last week to groups of statistics taken four years ago. Honestly, I've gotten more knowledge and better insight from reading your posts than from the article. So, thank you and it's ok if you take methadone and you make it work in your life, and you don't have to believe everything you read because "a doctor" says this or says that, and the internet has revolutionized everything practically, even ordering prescription painkillers (many of which come from Canada, I hear). I have a feeling we haven't seen anything yet.

    November 6, 2013 at 12:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Noble Roose

    Nice post. I was checking constantly this blog and I am impressed!


    September 25, 2014 at 12:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. A Father

    My daughter was suddenly prescribed this garbage by her doctor. He also prescribe her a Benzodiaprine. She was 24 and a mother of just 4 months. Most of the 40% that pass due to accidental overdose, pass with in the 1st week. My daughter passed with in 2 days of use. You cannot fathom my anger! So very careless of the Dr! I see some of the ignorant foolish post and that angers me to. More and more light needs to be shed on this. We are loosing 440,000 per yr due to PREVENTABLE MEDICAL NEGLIGENCE. I am tired of Dr's slipping under the radar calling it a (practice) when it is nothing more than a BUISNESS, A good Dr. would have followed the protocols and the plethora of information from the CDC, FDA, DEA and a wealth of Medically related associations on the dispensing of Methadone. He told her this would be their last visit as he is moving on in his practice, a role change of sorts. Bottom line, he gave her this and never intended to monitor her. Now what do I do? TOO many are dying.

    October 9, 2014 at 08:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Megs

    Additionally you are a moron who has NO idea what addiction does to someone. I have been on methadone for a year now and it has been the best year of my life in a long time. I know I am able to be a mother again and my children are happy. so you tell me do I want you in my life using heroin and hurting my children or do I want to be on methadone maintenance and be able to function. I truly believe your article isn't accurate for everybody. We are all different. it's no one's choice to tell you which way you should turn in addiction. If I had not of done this I can tell you now that my girls what is growing up without a mother. And what good would that have been so pour me another dose of methadone because it's been a savior in my life.

    April 8, 2015 at 10:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. R Johnson

    It is important to make the distinction between methadone treatments plans that are being medically supervised as part of a long-term recovery plan vs. methadone which is attained without prescription. And certainly education is key for those who are prescribing methadone to be completely aware of the risks as compared to the benefits.

    August 29, 2015 at 18:01 | Report abuse | Reply
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