August 17, 2008
Methadone Risks Increasingly Seen
Methadone's increasing use as an all-purpose painkiller has also made it the fastest growing cause of narcotic deaths in the United States, statistics indicate.
Because the cheap synthetic form of opium has sometimes been abused by users or poorly prescribed by doctors, methadone is now involved in more than twice as many deaths as heroin, The New York Times reported Sunday.
Deaths with methadone as a contributing factor increased nearly five times between 1999 and 2005, to 4,462, a number that may be an underestimate since states do not always specify the nature of drug overdoses, The Times said.