Friday, March 02, 2007

Methadone overdose deaths

Just as we are seeing an increase in Methadone-related overdoses, so are many places across the country. While it is often seen as a drug used to replace heroin in addicted individuals, the overdoses we are seeing are related to its increased use as a potent pain medication (as is the case elsewhere as well).

Methadone is being used increasingly in tablet form as a pain med. Like all behavior the reason is “over-determined” or multi-factorial. It is quite effective and had been thought to be less addictive than many other pain meds (not true, but all meds are addictive in some ways and in some people). Another reason is that OxyContin has gotten such a “bad name” that a replacement was needed.

One of the main problems with Methadone is its long half-life (the time required to clear half of the med from the body). The half-life can be up to 60 hours. The problem is that the pain-relief effects diminish prior to it being cleared from the body, so that repeated dosing for pain relief in the face of that slow clearage leads to the development of toxic levels.

The other “problem” with Methadone is that it is usually an incredibly safe med when taken alone, but can quickly becomes deadly when mixed with other meds at higher than “normal” doses. That is, if your Methadone level is a bit on the high side and you take it with a benzodiazepine a bit on the high side and wash it down with a bit too much alcohol, you can wake up dead (as we say in the profession). This can occur even if none of those drugs are in the toxic range by themselves. In particular, the respiratory and cardio- depressant effects of these drugs are additive, if not somewhat geometric, in their cumulative effects.

Methadone may be a good pain med and may be useful in those addicted to heroin, but it can be lethal and we are seeing an increase in its lethal effects.

44 comments:

Anonymous said...

On 10/1/03 my son Seneca Miceli died of a methadone overdose at the young pre-mature age of 23. He had gotten the methadone from a girl at work who it been prescribed for. The mix of marijuana and methadone killed him. We need stricter Laws to this toxic substance that is killing our children. I have personally heard of 2 other meth. deaths in the local area. Stricter laws please! Save our children.
My son now should have been 27 with a full life ahead. Signed Seneca Miceli's Mom.

Melis11577 said...

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). We are the families of victims and those yet to be victims of methadone. www.HARMD.org I have come together with many other families throughout the United States who have lost loved ones to methadone.

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. http://www.thepillsafe.com/

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.

Sincerely

Melissa Zuppardi

Heather Rodriguez said...

I completely agree that there is an epidemic of methadone related deaths that is being ignored by the government as well as by health care providers. I am an ICU nurse in Reno, NV and on April 6th, 2007 my 21yr old brother died from methone overdose in combination with valium. He was also in a rehab/so-called "detox" center that had no medically trained professionals on site. He was prescribed methadone at an ER for withdrawl symptoms similar to heroin; however my brother was an IV cocain user not dependent on opiates. He then was taken to the methadone clinic two days later without any communication to the clinic that he allready had methadone pills. He was given two oral doses, which he was not monitored after and then morning after his second dose he was found dead in his room at the rehab. He was also being given valium at the center and these dangerous drugs were allowed to be taken by my brother without anyone present who was educated on potential side effects and interactions, or even sign and symptoms of toxicity. The day before his death he had reported severe headache, blurred vision, nausea, and was tachycardic. They passed these off as more drug withdrawls and did not check on him except once that night. He was 21 and my little brother who was trying to get help for his addiction and get better and this methadone killed him. He should have never gotten it.
Something needs to be done about this drug because in my town alone the coroner said the number of methadone related deaths has increased 4 fold in the last 2 yrs and they have stopped counting how many they see. How many deaths will it take before this drug is regulated more and monitored closely. I alon have seen a number of methadone overdoses even from the methadone clinic come in to the ER at the hospital where I work. I hope to get involved in preventing other innocent people from dying from this "government funded" program.

Heathernikol@sbcglobal.net

Anonymous said...

I am sorry for anyones loss to this horrible drug. I am in a hospital right now with my sister who is in a comma due to methadon. The Dr. gave her this to get off loratab. Now we sit here waiting for her to die. My 3 year old niece will not have her mother. This drug should never of been made. An expecially a whole prescription of it. My prayers are with u all.

Anonymous said...

I am sorry to hear about the death of your son, it is rather unfortunate.
While I can understand a death from methadone, A death from combining marijuana and methadone is highly unlikely. Marijuana has not ever directly resulted in any documented deaths in its years of use. You're son died of a methadone overdose, the marijuana had nothing to do with it it. sorry for your loss but misinformation is dangerous.

Timara said...

My son Timothy Galvin was 18 years old and died of a methodone overdose.
Timothy is my son. He was my life. He was going to begin classes at Rogers State University in January 2008. He was a soldier in the National Guard and would have been deployed for Iraq in November 2007, but he had scored a 56 on his ASVAP test for enlistment. His Sergeant said this was one of the highest scores he had seen in 6 years. Therefore, he was eligible fro the college first program. He would not have to be deployed if he was enrolled in college. He was at a party on November 7 2007. I was told that he had been drinking liquor and Tim was not in his right mind if he was drinking anything other than a few beers. Somebody "gave him" or "let him take" a deadly dose of Methadone and by the next morning his best friend had to be the one to find him dead in his bed. This was a tragic & unfortunate accident that I pray no other family will have to go through, but I know that it will happen again. That is why, I don't know how & I don't know what it will take, but i am starting to gather more information on Methadone availability and find out what regulations the government is actually enforcing. Then I will call every Senator, State Representative, Pharmacy Boards, Clinic and mother that has lost their child to this drug and maybe we can change something. If you have lost your child from a methadone overdose and would like to e-mail me:
timarajmeeks2006@yahoo.com

God Bless,
Timara Jean Meeks

Anonymous said...

Methadone is a very safe drug when used correctly and under a licenced pyschicians montoring. Most of the posts are about deaths from drug abuse or medical mal-practice(ie giving methadone for cocaine addiction).
I have never used herion and use a low dose of methadone for chronic pain and its saved my life and allows me to be a productive member of society.

plile-king said...

Thank you for the blog educating us about about the increases in methadone deaths you are seeing. In my experience as a lawyer handling death cases from negligent doctors and clinics prescribing methadone, many professionals are not well-educated. If a reader is interested in effecting change with regard to methadone prescribing practices, please contact the medical board in your state or the state methadone authority and let them know the circumstances of your loved one's death. Phyllis Lile-King www.methadonelaw.com

Shellice said...

I lost my mother to a Methadone Overdose on Dec. 11th 2007. I just got back the Coroners Report. It said "Overdose" for cause of death.
My mother was on Methadone for awhile and being treated at a pain management clinic. Three months before her death they took her from 80mgs per day to 150. According to the report, my mother's liver had substantial damage.
I am still angry with the Dr.'s at the clinic. A simple blood test and ultrasound would have told them that her liver was too damaged to metabolize the methadone. Instead of treating her as a patient, they just simply upped her dosage without checking to see if she was in good enough health.
For a week or so before she passed away she thought she had the flu. I brought her soup, 7UP, and crackers. She looked horrible and she thought she was contagious. I now realize that she was dying.
Because she couldn't hold anything down she would have to retake her meds for her Chronic Pain and Fibromyalgia. That would explain the amount of meds in her system.
I want to take this to an attorney, but I need advise.
My mother was only 57.
I spoke to one attorney and he dismissed anything I had to say because my mother had been on the drug for a few years. He was handling a multi-million dollar case for a mother of two that was 27 that was prescribed methadone and died the next day.
To me, I see no difference. They both died from Methadone toxicity.
I feel that nobody wants to hear my case.
I just don't want any more Mothers, Daughters, Sisters, Husbands, Brothers or children dying anymore from negligence with prescribing this VERY dangerous drug.
I live in Reno. If anyone can steer me in a direction to an attorney that actually cares about this epidemic I would greatly appreciate it.
Sincerely~Shellice Maraccini

Timara Meeks said...

Shellice,

I read your comment about your mother...I'm so sorry that you are having to go through this.

Please check out the websites below...they have been a lifesaver to me and many others in our situation. (the website under my name is my sons personal memorial page)

Thanks
Timara J. Meeks
http://timothy-galvin.last-memories.com/

www.harmd.org
http://www.phpbbplanet.com/methadonedeath/


"I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me"
(2 Samuel 12:23)

Anonymous said...

My sister was on life support for 14 yrs because of methadone. She was hanging out with a friend who was prescibed methadone a one time b/c he was addicted to oxycotin. He told me he gave her methadone and a quarter of a xanax; my question to him is, do they not tell you what you can or cannot mix with methadone? In my mind they should know not to mix anything with this drug. Especially with knowledge from the clinics or doctors. My sister died on 11/15/2008 at the age of 26 yrs old. THis has to be the most painful thing families have to go through. This drug needs to be banned, so what if it help people with other addictions, if they are that stupid to get on drugs go through the pain, and so be it...

Anonymous said...

I have been going to a clinicto recieve Methadone once per day.only after being sadly hooked on pain pills by a Dr. that was later fired. Now I'm sick .I'm on a low dose 40mg.and cannot function from everything I read I am being overdosed.But, You tell Hospital personnel at the local Hospital your on Methadone and they see a junkie shooting heroine.It's a No Win..

Dr. Richard Keller said...

40 mg is low for opiate replacement therapy. Most survey studies have found the 80-120 mg range as the "usual dosing range".

40 mg for pain is, on the other hand, a significant dose. although, that treatment can and does go much higher in some cases (unfortunately at times when it shouldn't)

Dr. Richard Keller said...

40 mg is low for opiate replacement therapy. Most survey studies have found the 80-120 mg range as the "usual dosing range".

40 mg for pain is, on the other hand, a significant dose. although, that treatment can and does go much higher in some cases (unfortunately at times when it shouldn't)

Christian said...

Yes, all these deaths because of methadone are very sad. but anyone who is ignorant enough to gobble down drugs without doing a little bit of research is at fault for dying, not the doctor. It is the patients fault for going to multiple doctors, or drinking while on methadone, or not knowing that other medications can interact dangerously. any normal, sane adult knows that medications have side affects and also complications due to interactions with other drugs. Yes there might be a FEW completely accidental deaths, but most of the time it can be attributed to the patients stupidity. it's easy to blame it on the physicians.
hell, i stared going to a methadone clinic about a year ago in arizona for heroin addiction and was allowed to get up to 245 milligrams. 4 months later i moved to california and found out hiow ridiculously high this dose was. at first i was mad at the doctor for letting me go that high cuz i knew it would take forever to taper down and eventually stop taking it. eventually i realized it was my own fault for not researching the drug better and asking more questions. now ive gone down 145 milligrams within about 8 months and feel fine.
ignorance = DEATH

Anonymous said...

As all others said, I am sorry for each of your loss. IMHO, this boils down to taking responsibility for you actions. I have been on methadone for 15 years and this med has saved my life. People who loose a family member or close friend are just looking to blame someone for the screw-up of the person who died. Example-Most of the deseased lied or did something illegal to obtain the med. Now who do you blame? Also, marijuana hes nothing to do with methadone and should not be included as a problem when consumed with methadone. Quit blaming everyone else and remember to be responsible for your own actions. I'm sorry to be so blunt but enough of this "it's someone elses fault". This is a big problem with our country.

Anonymous said...

Hello all and Happy Easter.

A quick note I wanted to pass along that may assist on getting tighter regulation on Methadone if the right person reads this.

When my Daughter was around 12 years old, she was friends with this little girl from her school. She was stunning for being 12 years old and was the type of young lady we would all like to have our children keep as friends.

I learned of my statement when I was at work. My wife called me on Fort Bragg and told me this young lady was at her grandmothers staying for the weekend. Apparently she had a headache and went into her Grandmas bathroom and removed (2) 10 mg Methadone's seeing the bottle said for chronic pain. Believe it or not, that was all it took for this young petite little princess. I was devastated. In my 40's and crying like a baby in front my construction coworkers. When I composed myself and explained what had transpired. There were more than a few praying to the almighty along with flowing tears. My Daughter is 27 now and I still cry when thinking of her in the evenings.

Lock this medication up people. God bless all of the people that reads my story and I pray for protection for everyone on this blog.

God Bless and once more, Happy Easter! ;o)

Anonymous said...

methadone is not the epidemic in this country, it is ignorance and carelessness that are truely problematic. Stop blaming drugs and implementing new laws; the over protection of people is enabling and slowly crippling them. Parents; for christ sakes educate your children because the sickness and evil in the world is not going away. It is up to you to arm your kids with the proper knowledge on sex, drugs and weapons. It's not up to the government. Remembe r this country was founded upon the breaking away from tyranny and indoctrination. Stop being lazy and feeling sorry for yourselves.

Anonymous said...

I don't see any of the deaths being a patient of a Methadone Maintenance Facility (MMT). MMT's are highly regulated by state and federal agencies. Patients are fully informed of the dangers of not taking Methadone as prescribed, adding other drugs or medications, allowing others to take their Methadone. Because of the less than responsible behaviors of people receiving M for other reasons, or others that take their M without their knowledge, deaths have occured, and MMT's have gotten erroneously included in the problem.. But please, let the record reflect that the number or deaths in patients of MMT's taking their medication as prescribed, is minimal. I have been working in the field for 8 years, and have never seen a death. What I have seen is many people literally "getting ther lives back". Take any medicine as prescribed, and fewer problems occur. A person can die from taking too much Tylenol, or drinking too much water. Don't blame the medicine, change the behaviors that cause the deaths.

Dawn said...

On Dec.27,2008 I awoke to find my fiance dead in our bed of a mixture of Methadone, and a high dose of klonapin. Both were prescribed medications. 2 weeks before her death the methadone was added. I found out later a so called friend of ours offered Laura more methadone from her own prescription due to the fact that laura's dose was a mild amount.
Within 2 weeks this drug set her off to the race's. She always thought her tolerance for drugs was high. The drug made her feel better, and out of pain.
It was the day after christmas, and I was taking a nap, and learned her friend called and offered her to buy some of her pills knowing she had none left.
She never told me she got those extra pills, and throughout the day/evening of the 26th I did not notice that she seemed noticably high. We had fun together that whole day, with a wonderful Christmas. I find myself always thinking why didn't I notice, or why didn't I wake up during the night. When I did wake up she was already in rigor. I can't describe what I went through emotionally at that moment, and have continued to every waking moment of my Life.
We were very happy, In Love, SoulMates, and about to be married. After her death I found several text messages she sent me in the night from her new phone.
All of them about how Happy she was, and it was her Best Christmas, She wanted to be married immediatley, and didn't want to wait. She did tell me how much she Loved me. In Laura, and My eyes we were married. All the messages were sent to my wife. I had just got her a new phone for christmas so she was playing with it all the while I thought she too was sleeping. I know about the nodding, then waking again, and this is what she must have been going through. My Life is forever changed thanks to Methadone and Klonapin. (And a So called Friend who new about the other meds and did not care, or have a remorseful bone in her body) For, this person, and many I have learned about since only care about the money they can make with these drugs.I even called her Doctor to report her well know knowledge of selling methadone, and I was told there was nothing they could/would do. So she continues to sell this drug. I am so sorry for all the other people who to has to go through the death of a Loved one due to the ignorance of the drug, and people who encourage others to buy them. My life is full of Lonliness, tears, and wishing if only i knew..
The Trauma of waking up and kissing her cold head is something very beyond overwhelming everyday. And, all for what purpose. The friend who said buy some you'll feel better??
Dawn

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry to tell you guys who commented, but methadone is as safe of a drug to use as is aspirin. If taken in correct dosages and used responsibly i.e. not mixing it with other drugs, there is a very low chance of fatality. Drug related deaths are the victim's fault, not the drug.

Anonymous said...

June 4, 2009 I found my best friend dead from a methadone overdose. He bought the drug from a friend of his.

At that time he had had two major back injuries and a herniated disk in his neck. Both caused him extreme pain. He was prescribed Valuum and Norco. He eventually became addicted to pain medication, eventually resulting in him abusing any drug he could get his hands on.

I personally think that prescribing Methadone as a painkiller is like trying to kill a house fly with a shot gun. From my conversations with the medical examiner in our town I have gathered that no one really knows how much a "lethal" dose of the medication is. He said people have been known to die after taking their first dose correctly.

It's frustrating and painful to deal with the problem to say the least.

Shelly c said...

I was on methadone but with all the deaths from it I asked to be taken off, I had it hidden in my closet, trying to figure out how to dispose of it without injurying anyone, they say not to fluch it, not to bury it, we have no children and my husband knew I stopped taking it becasue I knew it was killing people. On 2/5/2010 when I was getting ready for work, I heard my husband snoring different then usual, I shook him and he responded and went back to sleep, when I came home that night I found him DEAD, it was the most HORRIBLE thing I have ever experienced, he was my love, my soulmate, my bestfriend. About three month prior he had been gping to the doctor for high blood pressure, anxiety attacks, she had him on 5 meds, after the morgue took my baby away, he was only 44 and loved life, I started going through his room, he has his own game room and I found 2 pills, white pills, I was going to look them up on the net but decided to find hte rx I hid and sure enough they were the methadone...DAMN IT, the coroner did an autopsy and said he had an enlarged heart, on the death certificate it says investigation pending, I am going to call them on monday and let them know what I found. DAMN IT...he knew I quit taking them becasue they were killing people, WHY WOULD HE DO THAT, WHY?? I feel now that this is my fault and it is eatting my up inside, I do not stop crying, I kow he had back pain from a surgery but WHY did he get into that box and take those LILLER PILLS, I am sure yet as they are doing a toxicology test but wouldn't you think the same....GOD I MISS HIM HORRIBLY, if I would have had one clue that morning that the snoring was the methadone KILLING HIM I could have maybe saved his life. Now my life is over, I do not want to live without him, I miss him so bad, why did this have to happen. THEY NEED TO BAN METHADONE>>>IT KILLS!!!!!

Alli said...

Ignorance DOES equal death, but many patients don't think to ask their doctor if the medicine they are prescribing is going to KILL THEM. Like a lot of people, I trust doctors to do their jobs and not prescribe someone 200mg of Methadone every day, but it happens. I went 8 weeks listening to my doctor when he said I didn't need an ultrasound for a problem I was SURE I had, and I ended up in emergency surgery with a blood transfusion and almost died from blood loss...

If you try to ask a doctor if what they're doing is wrong, most of them give you the "I have a medical degree and you don't" treatment. It is just the same with the doctors who prescribe this drug in hospitals and in clinics.

It is very hard NOT to be ignorant of the risks when every doctor is telling you it is perfectly-normal to be taking 200mg of Methadone a day. I witnessed this for over a year with my sister.

Also, the "productive members of society" commenting on this page will only regret it later because my sister was a "productive member of society" and the doctors kept increasing her dose, making her fall asleep and lose her $17/hr with benefits job and nearly lose her life. When she asked to get off of the program, they encouraged her not to stop and made it VERY difficult for her to stop. She eventually had to quit HERSELF in an extremely-painful detox process in a medical setting and then rehab.

She went through more pain and suffering than her roommates who were coming off of HEROIN. Methadone gets into your bone marrow, it's "half-life" is much longer than any other painkiller. There is NO reason to have this stuff prescribed unless you are trying to stay "comfortable" in end-stage Cancer or something.

If you did a survey of 100 people on Methadone, they'd all say they take it responsibly --just like my sister did. Talk to FORMER Methadone addicts, and they'll all say it was the biggest mistake of their lives.

Anonymous said...

My 23 year old son is on methadone and just coming down on the dosage.What I have noticed is he often acts weird, talking to invisable people, talking discusting and very angry with me. I know he drinks beer, wine and hard tea, and I think he does marijuana. He also thinks all he does is fine. He was on opiates. He was a college student. Now he lives with me as he's broke and I'm doing my best to keep some food on the table. I am so frightened for my once bright loving son. Seems I should be doing more, but he seems to think I know nothing and truth is.. I don't. Any advice? Thank you.

Dr. Richard Keller said...

If you are sure he hasn't relapsed and is back on the opiates (or other drugs), the main thing to do is be supportive through this withdrawal phase. Listen to him, talk occasionally, and help him ride this out.

Good luck, hang in there

Anonymous said...

I been on methadone for about ten years!drunk driver hit me in the butt of my car.thats how it started pain pills!the doctors pump me up percocets oxycotin my lawer sent me to a head doctor he gave me zanex.ok two years later insurance money all gone doctors says byby.Here I am with this monkey on my back?what do i do next?METHADONE!Its a goodthing if you dont abuse it.methadone is very dangerous If your mixing it with zanex it could be death.Dont let the doctors turn you into a junkie.Its all a money thing!

Janell said...

My father suffered from chronic pain and was perscribed methadone as a "cheaper" alternative pain medication. His Dr. also put him on Zanex. He was on his way to detoxing off methadone after a heart attach in Aptil 2010. He ran out of his medication and his Dr. was out of town and no one would prescribe him some until he got to re-hab. He went back to the old Dr. who was prescribing him the methadone and he gave him a prescription but did not tell him to start with a low dose ( he had been without it for 3 days) and he took his normal dose. He died the next day. I am sick to my stomach that this medication is being used for pain and that the Dr.s are so careless with prescribing it. I am not done yet with this and I will try my hardest to get it off the market as a pain medication!!

Anonymous said...

if you think it was a combination of marijuana and methadone that killed him.. than your mistaken.. it was the methadone.. marijuana doesnt kill people.. enough said.. anything that it does to the human heart rate etc is minimal. dont spread ignorance.. truth be told if marijuana was legal your son probably wouldve just smoked that and wouldnt have messed with the other drugs.. bunch of retards run things... legalize marijuana and put your damn time into getting the hard drugs off the street.. and you may find if its legal.. people would quit the harder drugs and just use marijuana.. orrrrr spend millions and billions on fighting the war on pot and let these kids just keep dieing.

Beverly in Iowa said...

My name is Beverly. I'm 22 and a mother of 2. I became addicted to pain pills at 18. I was snorting at least 250mg of anything I could find thoughout a normal day.. My mother eventually found out and Anyway I went to a methadone clinic near me, and got off oxy.. My normal dose was 80mg.. well I also smoke marijuana bacause I have panic attacks that are out of this world.. but my clinic would not let me continue and receive my take homes.. so I stopped.. naturally I still wntd to smoke marijuana.. so I found the stuff thats basically imitation marijuana.. I noticed when I smoked my heartrate started going through the roof.. like pounding hard and very very rapid.. scared me enough I thought I was dying.. I wnt to the ER.. and they said that I was having panic attacks.. well my heart like skips a beat every now and again and so whn that happened like twice I scratched that.. and now I've cut my dose in half.. and I feel like methadone is killing me, because marijauna never did this to me whn i just smoked marijuana alone, and I'm just an addict, but I've never heard of anyone dying because of smoking weed.. I would like to smoke marijuana I just am terrified I'm gna goto sleep and never wake up.. I know that no one knows for sure, but what do you think doc?

Dr. Richard Keller said...

Move to a state with legal medicinal marijuana, it appears to be an adjunct for health in many people

Anonymous said...

My mom has been on Methodone for years prescribed by a doc for chronic pain an recently was prescribed Prempro for hot flashes both drugs are metabolized by the liver in the same way well it led to methodone overdose she did not die but is very sick her whole body is numb an tingling. At what point can we trust any doctor or pharmacist had she of waited or been taking a higher dose(she takes half of what is already prescribed)she would have woke up dead.

Anonymous said...

ive taken methadone several times a day for years for pain without problem...yet its getting harder to find doctors to prescribe and pharmacies to fill precriptions. without it, i would not be able to get out of dead...and would prob have kille dmyself. think about it. meth can be helpful and you people are making it impossible for people who really need it. as is , laws are tough and at times i have not been able to get the medication i need. even my dr says he will probably stop prescribing it cuz the regulations have gotten out of hand.

Anonymous said...

I injured my back when I was a teenager and it progressively got worse overtime. Years later i couldnt take the pain anymore. I went to the dr and first got muscle relaxers which didn't help. Next he gave me cortison injections which worked but wore off after 3 weeks and I was told that I could only receive cortisone 6 times. So I tried to deal with the pain. Then I went to the chiropractor for a couple years which helped very little. Next came pain management centers where I received x ray guided injections and also trigger point injections. The pain still remained. So I finally went to my dr and received Vicodin which. Worked but I needed 6-8 a day to be out of pain. I got worried about taking so much tylenol, so I was put on oxycontin. I never had a problem with addiction until oxycontin. I was prescribed 30mg a day but I soon found myself (after a year or so) taking my monthly script in a week. I had terrible withdrawal after only 6 hours of my last dose. I told my dr that I was worried about getting addicted and switched meds to methadone. It no doubt saved my life.
It's so much easier not taking more methadone than prescribed because the euphoria was almost non existent. I'm taking 15mg a day and it helps the pain way more than oxy and without the high
Methadone is a powerful drug! The withdrawal is much less intense. Methadone withdrawal just makes my body feel sore like I ran a marathon the previous day but oxy withdrawal I felt like dying. Also I noticed my appetite was a lot better on methadone.

carla 160 said...

i am on methadone and i also have a child that overdosed on methadone she was 17 and she mix it with valuim the problem is not methadone the problem is people taking pills that are not for them my daughter is know 24 and has been in a wheelchair ever scense she came out of a coma but i know that if i did not have methadone i would not be able take care of her or myself yes it is a very strong drug but if it is taken right and by the people it is prescribe for it is safer than alot of other pain meds

Anonymous said...

Methadone saved my life. I was taking $200 worth of OxyContin a day just to stay well. Then I started mixing the Oxys with valium and xanax and klonopin. It wasn't long before I was on heroin. Heroin is a dirty disgusting drug. Let me tell you, I found OxyContin to be so much more euphoric and perfect, making it soooooooooo much harder to quit.

Methadone is like a loaded gun. When used properly it can save lives. When toyed with it can take lifes.

I used methadone properly, and I'm alive because of it. Trust me, I WOULD have been dead w/o MMT.

cber said...

I lost my beloved sister who was found collapsed just 3 days before this past Christmas:( My neice said goodnight to het mom and found her mother collapsed the next morning. DRug addiction is so devestating and reading these posts have confirmed the cause of my sisters demise. She was self medicating with alcohol and xanax when the last straw was the methadone:( May she be at peace now after helping so many but not able to help herself....

cber said...

thank you for confirming what took the life of my beloved sister just 3 days before this past Xmas. She was such an amazing woman in the healthcare industry and addiction does not discriminate. After reading the Giving Tree she gave so much in helping others but life gave her nore than anyone could possibly cope with. I miss her so much and pray to everyday to give us the strength to live life without her...

Amy M. said...

One week ago, on Thanksgiving Day 2013, at 3:30 am I discovered my 36yo boyfriend's dead body lying next to me in bed, his head resting on my belly, which is carrying our unborn daughter. He died from a methadone overdose, MY methadone. I've been going to a methadone clinic for 5 1/2 years now and I honestly don't think I would be alive today if it wasn't for the clinic. I started there after I became addicted to opiates because of a doctor, but my boyfriend was not an addict. I never even saw him take as much as a Tylenol 3 so I have no idea why he decided to take my methadone. We talked numerous times about how dangerous it was, especially to someone without a tolerance. It was kept in a locked box at all times. I'm on a relatively small dose of 85mgs and he took about 70mgs I think. I'm completely devastated but I cannot blame myself or the methadone clinic. He was a grown man, COMPLETELY aware of the risks, yet he chose to take it anyway. I agree that some clinics are far to lenient with their take home rules but my clinic is open 7 days a week, 365 days a year and they test for ALL other drugs. There is a list of criteria you MUST meet to be able to receive take home doses. I met all of them and they felt the risk of diversion was very low in my case. I had been storing my take homes in that house for over 8 months without a single issue. There will always be people who make it harder for everyone else, even the ones following the rules. I forgive him for what he did but now I have to live without him for the rest of my life because of his decision. I have to give birth to and raise our daughter alone, something I shouldn't have to do. 4 other children lost their father and I lost someone who I wanted to spend the rest of my life with.

Anonymous said...

AMEN! I am a patient of a methadone clinic in Georgia. I have been on maintenance for 6 years. That is a long time but with that being said I'm stable. I have a normal life and believe me I didn't before going to the clinic. I was having multiple surgeries at the age of 11. At the age of 36 I was finally to a point to where I didn't need anymore surgeries. By this point I was very addicted to pain medication. I also has a sister that was addicted. She was addicted to many more drugs than myself. She had been in and out of rehab and methadone clinics than you would believe. She had talked to me about the clinic but I thought it was for drug addicts. Not for me! Well March 9th, 2005 my father found her dead in her room. My family was torn, in shock, hurting and totally in disbelief. It was the hardest thing we had been through ever. That's when I decided to get help. I had no insurance and was broke at the time. I was just out of foreclosure for the 3rd time and was sick of needing medications I could no longer get and I thought to myself, I pray to God everyday of my family's life that I never put them through what we had all just been through. I decided to give the clinic a try. I watched my parents die with her. I could never let them feel this way again because I had a problem like my sister that they could never help her with. So the January after she passed I went to a clinic in the town I grew up in. It saved my life, my marriage, my home and me having to fear breaking my family's heart and making them suffer because I had an addiction. I'm so sorry people have had loved one's die from not getting the correct treatment or mixing medications with methadone. I have lost my sister due to drugs and I still have to say methadone has been a true blessing to me and my family. I think no matter what the topic is there is good and bad in them all. I just wish people wouldn't have a terrible situation make them closed minded due to circumstance or judge before looking for the negative v/s the positive for many. There are a lot of people that get their lives back by taking methadone bit there are many people that abuse it as well. So it's a wonderful life saving medication for me! Thanks for the ones that share their positive in with all the negative. I also was a foster parent and adopted a son while in maintenance and thus blessing wouldn't have ever happened without me being in treatment. DFCS wasn't liking I was in treatment but I did things right and this was the only thing I had ever done in my life that they didn't care for. I had never been to jail, never had a speeding ticket or never called 911 unless my mom needed an ambulance in 20 years. They checked us out, drug tested us all the time and we passed every thing. We are awesome parents despite having problems like every birth parent on this earth. Hope you all find peace with this and know there are ones that it helps and thus may be some of why it's not banned immediately. I pray for you all!!

Dr. Richard Keller said...

Thank you for sharing your story

Anonymous said...

I am truly sorry for everyones' losses, I really am, but 9 times out of 10, the victim is fully aware of the dangers involved in whatever it is they're taking. I think the majority of responsibility for overdose lies with the patient. I just OD'd on methadone 2 days ago and would have died if my roommate hadn't found me on the floor when he did. I should have known better than to take as much as I did, and with a small amount of Xanax still in my system. I DID know better, but was careless. Thought after a decade of opiate tolerance, I'd be able to handle it. I was wrong and almost paid the ultimate price. There are already rules in place for prescribing narcotics. Many people try to weasel around these rules to get what they want. Tighter rules are just going to make it harder for honest patients to get what they need.

Anonymous said...

If it wasn't for Methadone my wife and I would both be dead. Yes, it is very strong, but it is safe if taken correctly. Instead of trying to attack Methadone, teach your children about it and EVERY parent needs to keep all meds locked up. I don't care how good your kid is or how much you trust them. And for god's sake get educated on Marijuana. It'll be legal everywhere soon ....

Anonymous said...

We have a much bigger problem in the US with benzos - valium, klonopin, and xanax. Millions are addicted and most have never had Methadone. The benzos make the Methadone deadly. They also make alcohol deadly. Is that the next target? Recognize the true villain. Methadone is already highly regulated - Benzos not so much....