Methadone is increasingly the cause of narcotic-related deaths in the U.S.
Methadone is increasingly the cause of narcotic-related deaths in the U.S.. Methadone, an alternative to oxycodone, has increased in use from 1998 to 2006 by 700%. The New York Times recently suggested that the increase in deaths associated with the drug may be the result of prescribing errors. According to the Times, physicians are additionally failing to warn patients of the dangers of mixing the prescription drug with alcohol or sedatives; additionally, physicians may be prescribing dose levels that are too much too soon. According to Dr. H. Westley Clark, of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, “we know that a significant share of the methadone deaths involve doctors making well-intended prescriptions.” The following is an excerpt of an article from Journal Watch that discusses the phenomenon:
The number of methadone prescriptions increased 700% from 1998 to 2006, in part because of its use as an alternative to oxycodone (OxyContin). The Times says physicians treating patients for pain sometimes start them on doses that are too high or fail to warn of the hazards of mixing with alcohol or sedatives.