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Methadone #2 Killer Drug in U.S.
Methadone #2 Killer Drug in U.S.
I'm writing to you about the methadone epidemic taking place in the United States .
I am writing on behalf of HARMD (Helping America Reduce Methadone Deaths).
On June 24th 2006 I lost my fiancé (Ron) to methadone prescribed by a physician with a combination of other medications that acted as additives to the Methadone. He was a professional Jai Alai player at Hamilton Downs Jai Alai in Jasper, FL and had knee surgery after an injury on the court. He became addicted to the percocet he was prescribed. He checked hi mself into Greenleaf in Valdosta , GA (part of South Georgia Medical Center ) for detoxification. Upon entering the facility he was drug tested and did not come up positive for opiates or any other drugs (he had stopped taking the percocet 4 days before entering the facility). He was prescribed by a Dr. excessive amounts of methadone (for a person without a known tolerence) with valium and Klonopin. On the fourth day in detox he died sometime between 2am and 1pm in the afternoon (he was never checked on in all of those hours). When hi s body was found at 1pm he was already in rigor mortis. He was extremely neglected bordering abusive considering he was supposed to be monitored every 1/2 hour according to hi s medical charts. The night before he died he was complaining of migraines and vomiting, apparently the staff thought he was still experiencing withdrawals (but again he had NO drugs in hi s system upon entering the facility) and was not concerned about these symptoms. The symptoms of methadone toxicity mimic withdrawal symptoms; physicians and staff must be very cognizant of the complex properties and metabolization of methadone. There were many errors made in my fiancé's death including the fact that he was given numerous amounts of additive medications such as benzodiazepines (valium and klonapin). He had only been taking percocet for about 4 months and according to the DSM IV he wouldn't be an appropriate candidate methadone maintenance treatment.
We are asking government agencies to enact stricter guidelines in prescribing methadone for any reason. It must be mandatory that all doctors be certified and trained in the pharmacology of methadone; inpatient stays must be required during induction to methadone; all staff be extensively trained in monitoring methadone patients for symptoms of toxicity. Clinic patients should be tested for legal and illegal drugs that are taken with methadone to get “high” or experience “euphoria” such as benzodiazepines, alcohol, cocaine, heroin, marijuana etc… and face severe consequences / mandatory detoxification from methadone program. When presenting inebriated at clinic, clinic should also document such activity as well as prevent client from driving. Take home doses for all patients receiving methadone should be eliminated thus preventing the risk of diversion or precautions such as pill safe should be implemented.
Current statistics show that nearly 4000 people a year die from methadone. These deaths are mostly happening to pain management and detoxification patients within the first 10 days of taking initial dose. Most of these deaths are related to methadone prescribed with other medications that react as additives with the methadone. Diversion of methadone is a serious problem because it lands this most deadly drug on streets. Statistics also state that methadone is contributing to more deaths nationwide then heroine and only second to cocaine deaths.
The government did take notice after the 2003 record number of deaths associated with methadone and the Bush administration responded by gathering the top experts on drug overdoses, doctors, researchers, and medical examiners, as well as representatives from the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, Food and Drug Administration, and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Association. Finn and Tuckwiller (2006) report that “the man hired to research and write the report based on the conference, as well as background paper for conference participants, was Stewart B. Leavitt, and addiction specialist whose work is funded by the makers of methadone”. Stewart B. Leavitt PhD served as researcher/writer for A National Assessment of Methadone-Associated Mortality: Background Briefing Report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Stewart B Leavitt also writes Addiction Treatment Forum Methadone Dosing & Safety in the Treatment of Opioid Addiction which is funded by Mallinckrodt, Inc. a manufacturer of methadone. My question is why hasn't a team of independent researchers not funded by pharmaceutical companies; a person or group of people that stand to gain no financial benefit on the outcome of the studies been hired to conduct the research? Finn and Tuckwiller (2006) report that “the man hired to research and write the report based on the conference, as well as background paper for conference participants, was Stewart B. Leavitt, and addiction specialist whose work is funded by the makers of methadone”. Stewart B. Leavitt PhD served as researcher/writer for A National Assessment of Methadone-Associated Mortality: Background Briefing Report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Stewart B Leavitt also writes Addiction Treatment Forum Methadone Dosing & Safety in the Treatment of Opioid Addiction which is funded by Mallinckrodt, Inc. a manufacturer of methadone. On the forum associated with his website several of the clinic participants speak of diverting, misusing, stockpiling, selling, and potentiating methadone and other prescription drugs.
This methadone epidemic and deaths associated with it are not going away. It's only getting worse; I get contacted by families on a daily basis who have lost someone to this drug. At what point do we value human life over the convenience of others? Methadone patients, whether they are pain or clinic pose a risk to themselves and society as a whole if they are not monitored, dosed, and assessed correctly. Clinic patients getting into cars after being dosed who are using benzodiazepines, alcohol, marijuana or other opiates are killing innocent people on the road. This type of harm reduction is not saving lives it’s taking them. The government cannot continue to be a legal drug dealer in order for its citizens to “behave”.
I know the rules are in place for the clinics but they are NOT being followed. Patients sell take homes outside the clinics. In one news article a man died in the parking lot of a clinic after taking his brothers take home. This drug is too dangerous to be allowed in medicine cabinets! There is A LOT of money to be made from methadone but what expense is that money being made at? When do the risks outweigh the benefits of this drug? How many more people must die before changes are made that actually save lives?
I have called several methadone clinics and have found out that many do not test for marijuana and are not open 7 days a week. These two things are of special concern to my organization because all methadone patients will receive a take home bottle of methadone on Saturday for Sunday (the day they are closed) whether they are new to the program or have been abusing other drugs. Marijuana and methadone have an effect on the user very similar to heroin. Many clinics do not test for marijuana because it is not believed to be a drug of choice or a "hard drug", I beg to differ because of the effect when combining the two have the potential to be more dangerous then the user/staff is aware. This poses a serious public health risk to those on the road innocently driving to work or school.
The state of Delaware has just added Methadone to the list of medications covered under the Medicaid program that require prior authorization for pain treatment. The potential of abuse, diversion, and overdose to new patients being prescribed methadone is overwhelming. The unique properties of methadone, it's long half life, short analgesic properties, cardiac risks and it's negative interaction with numerous drugs make it an optimal choice as a last result treatment for chronic pain.
Thank you for taking the time to read this letter.
Last edited by ddcmod; 12-12-2011 at 10:23 PM.
Methadone is a killer drug . and after a vast number of people are reported to have died from the drug the FDA will be forced to take it off the market
My sister died in her sleep . she also was taking prescribed percocet and her doctor talked her in to going to a methadone clinic .
she had never heard of methadone and she thought it was going to help her .but she died one year to the date of entering the clinic. and the Ga state board of medical records are investing her case .
she choked on her own body fluids. the doctor was also prescribing Remron. a strong sleeping pill.
she would be alive today if she were still on her percocet. she just got tired of giving out of them and feeling bad until the doctor would give her more.
so she agreed to go to the methadone clinic. and she was poisoned for a year with the killer drug. she was purging at the funeral when the family was viewing her body. the undertaker had to keep taking her out and cleaning her mouth .
I will never get over that.
Melis,I am very sorry to hear about your loss! I am shocked that they did'nt put him on Suboxone for a perocet addiction..I am a recovering heroin addict and was on methadone,but stopped because I did'nt like it,and did'nt want to become dependant on it either..I am now on Suboxone and doing MUCH better...Again I am sorry to hear about your loss.
Please Stop Playing God
I Have Had Severe Chronic Pain For Over 15 Years And Methadone Saved My Life And Enabled My Family To Keep Their Mother. Four Years Ago I Would Sit On The Side Of My Bed Waiting For My Husband To Take My Twin Boys To Their Ballgames So I Could Overdose Myself. Thank God I Did Not And Thank God For Giving Man The Ability To Create This Wonderful Drug For Addiction And Chronic Pain. Please Do Not Punish The People Who Do It Right Just Because There Are The Selfish Ones That Use It Wrong. Do You Really Know What All Meds Your Fiance Was Taking? Were You With Him Every Moment? Please Do Not Punish The Rest Of Us For Something That He May Have Caused Himself.
My mom has been addicted to opieates for about 21 years and im really trying to help her, she moved here to help out with the baby and try to get off the pills, im so woried about her. What can i do for her? she tells everyone she dosent want to get off them, what can we do please help me get my mom off these horible drugs!!
Until she wants to get off opiates then she won't and you won't be able to stop her.It's too bad really but I was the same way when I was actively abusing.Try going to www.suboxone.com and read up on this drug.It is literally helping thousands upon thousands of addicts get a hold of their addictions and start a recovery process.There is also a doctor locator on the site so if you want you can print out a list of doctors in your area and if and when she decides she wants to try to get her life under control then you'll have the info for her.Good luck and I feel for you as there is nothing worse then watching someone self destruct before your eyes and theres nothing you can really do.....Dave
methadone#2killer drug in us
Dear Melissa, First and foremost, I Thank you for taking the time to read my letter to you that may affect millions. May your GOD strengthen your heart in His reasons for ever bringing you and your fiance' together to love, to learn, to see your dreams together if only for your time He gave to both of you. I also lost mine some time back, in the line of DUTY protecting our country from illegal drugs! I THANK EVERYTHING for being alllowed to have ever known him. As for your deep seated anger at the methadone and other drugs, possibly improperly given by 1 or 2 Dr.s and the seemingly unknown factors missing in your heartfelt sorrow, I still feel your pain. Please through Grace and Forgiveness (The anger and hatred you feel will also take your life in possibly a different and ugly way) Try to understand the will of Another that unfortunately is not for us to know at this moment, although I still wish at times I could avenge, mission accomplished, eh?~~
I myself would DEFINITELY ALSO be DEAD without the "METHADONE"!! My fellow pre-widow, you see, I have 4 children, believed any drugs of such nature were simply "shameful JUNKIE MAKERS", refused for over 3 years the 'help' available to me until I personally begged my Dr. to EUTHANIZE ME as I sat dripping in sweat from pain in my wheelchair. I was going away from the pain of my injuries and the diseases they had caused..(study what happens to the body after long periods of mind bending pain~~~~~your fiance' did not have to go through that pain without pain meds from your description) and actually ready to leave the GREATEST LOVES OF MY LIFE...MY 4 YOUNG CHILDREN! Are you a Mother? Do you understand what I and others are saying to you...1 bad apple doth not rot the rest. This drug has and will continue to save many lives as it did mine. It (METHADONE) gave my children back some of what they had in their lives..period, their ONLY family left ALIVE, their MOTHER!! I have been given back the ability to play with them, hug n kiss, love, tuck them in, delight in everything they accomplish, show/teach them pride and to become WONDERFUL ADULT PEOPLE,etc. Did you have that as a child? You are able to love so I'd venture to bet you did have that. Please Melissa, THINK before throwing your hurt of your horrendous loss towards the rest of the world..before you put a set of children, or so many you'd lose count of their little lives in a life-ruining catastrophic chain of events. Look and STUDY the BIG PICTURE.
I only seek to help, and much to my dismay, I DO COMPREHEND YOUR LOSS IN MORE WAYS THAN i HAVE DESCRIBED HERE TO YOU~~~IF~~~~if you'd like a friend to talk to, yell at, kiddo, I have been in my own hurt, not unlike yours, for we are totally different people in different lives...FEEL FREE to ontat me, post to me that you'd like to talk..I am new here and do not know how all of these lil doo dads work...I'll do my best for you though..grampsgirl
umm that almost happened to me, my doc prescribed me xanax and methadone, my pharmacist save my life, the methadone alone probably almost killed me, it gave me chest pain difficulty breathing, dizzyness and all the severe side effects it has on the warning thing to contact ur doc if it happens, except confusion, but if i woulda still took my xanax i probably woulda died.
Yes you're very fortunate.Methadone mixed with any cns depressant is like playing with a loaded gun.Also methadone should only be prescribed to a wellseasone opiate pain patient or a long time opiate addict as it is very strong and has a long half life.The good news is that you're ok.......Dave
o i am ive been on ultram for about 6 months, then vicodin for 1month then oxycodone for last 4, my max dose is 115 mgs of oxy a day, but still i think that 30mgs of methadone a day was to strong
Methadone should not be ordered for you as your tolerance is way to low.You need to be taking morphine,dilaudid or fentanyl for at least a few years daily before you're ready to try methadone.Stay on the low dose ultram if you can.Good luck.....Dave
NO DRUG USED CORRECTLY IS A "KILLER DRUG". The problem is incorrect prescription or abuse PERIOD.
first i would like to say that methadone is not a killer more people are taking methadone now than ever so of course there are going to be more problems but if you want to be real honest most if not all people who die from methadone are on another drug also the methadone did not necasarly kill them but the other drug as for doctors prescribing too much a dose i find that that rarley happens with patients that are honest with there physician. so before you go and knock a drug that has saved much more lives than it has cost think about what you say and make sure you have all the facts. did you know there are thousands of people a year in the er room for tylenol overdoses should we take that off the shelf. no it happens it will with every drug just deal with it and stop trying to blame this drug as such a monster because it is not. you stated it killed 4000 people last year while that is terrible there are about 250000 poeple whose lives are being saved every year from the drug i think that equals out since like i said most deaths can be prevented with a little honesty to your doctor and the patient taking it as prescribed thank you all brad
Well said Gerstner23: Get educated especially about a drug like methadone as it needs to be used properly.95% of the methadone deaths are cause by benzo abuse and or alcohol abuse.Get the facts before you start making false claims.....Dave
Yea I would have to agree...most deaths from opiates and opioids aren't the sole result of abusing the drug by itself (usually happens when used improperly with other CNS depressants). Methadone is no different from any other strong centrally acting opioid in this respect. It's long duration of effects/dependence liability/cost make it a very viable painkiller (I think you're confusing methadone with demerol when you were saying how poor of an analgesic it was) or (more controversially) treatment for addiction. As for the abuse and addiction, it's really case by case. Used properly, most of the DEA Sched II substances are not extremely dangerous and even so, as bad as opiate withdrawal can be and even with "high" relapse rates, it's generally not considered life threatening as withdrawal from alcohol, barbiturates, or benzodiazepines can be...so I'd have to disagree with saying methadone is some sort of new killer drug (oh and just wondering, aren't ethanol and nicotine both drugs as well?)
i agree ,People,YOU MUST BE careful with any prescibed med & read,meth saved my life,or gave it back to me 15 yrs ago,it also allowed me to have a familly whitch I love dearly,some who witness me opting for meth instead of trying to be clean from darvecet/darvon,then heroin,[whitch I never shot up but U dont need to to become an atic]are still chasing the dragon,& NOT going & gettin help from a private DR or a Clinic.You see,a Clinic,you must be good to earn takehomes,sort of an award,or u can keep screwin up & wantin a "high".Im sorry for those who lost love ones,but, also sometimesyou dont know what ur other partner,child,son/daughter is up to besides,some if not many like to docter themselves,sell their meds,or meth & get high.eventully death unfortunatelly becomes us all,im sorry & I do hope people learn & tone it down if they want to mix,&playsomer of us IS serious about their recovery& mantenance!