Six Times as Many People Died of Methadone Overdoses in 2009 than a Decade Before…

Use prescription painkillers only as directed by a health care provider
Get help for substance abuse problems if needed (1-800-662-HELP)

Prescription Painkiller Overdoses in the US 2012
Use prescription painkillers only as directed by a health care provider – Get help for substance abuse problems if needed (1-800-662-HELP) – @CDC_eHealth

Prescription painkiller overdoses – opioid or narcotic pain relievers, including drugs such as Vicodin (hydrocodone), OxyContin (oxycodone), Opana (oxymorphone), and methadone – were responsible for more than 15,500 deaths in 2009. While all prescription painkillers have contributed to an increase in overdose deaths over the last decade, methadone has played a central role in the epidemic. More than 30% of prescription painkiller deaths involve methadone, even though only 2% of painkiller prescriptions are for this drug. Six times as many people died of methadone overdoses in 2009 than a decade before.

Methadone has been used safely and effectively to treat drug addiction for decades. It has been prescribed increasingly as a painkiller because it is a generic drug that can provide long-lasting pain relief. But as methadone’s use for pain has increased, so has nonmedical use of the drug and the number of overdoses.

Sources
  • Prescription Painkiller Overdoses in the USCDC,methadoneoverdoses, July 2012 – PDF.
  • Vital Signs: Overdoses of Prescription Opioid Pain Relievers — United States, 1999–2008CDCmm6043a4.htm, November 4, 2011

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