Methadone Detox: Methadone Leads Skyrocketing U.S. Opioid Deaths

Methadone has been implicated in one-third of all prescription opioid painkiller deaths in the U.S., despite the fact that methadone accounts for less than 5 percent of all opioid prescriptions, says a new study.

Reported in a special issue of the journal Pain Medicine, the study probes the main causes of the skyrocketing increase in deaths from opioid painkiller prescriptions over the past decade. It found that when the actual numbers of prescriptions of popular painkillers were compared to the number of deaths from each type of painkiller, methadone was by far the most deadly.

The study found significantly more calls to poison control centers for methadone overdoses than for all other painkillers. There were 10 times as many calls for methadone than for oxycodone, and four times as many as for hydrocodone.

Methadone was involved in 30 percent of all emergency department admissions for drug overdoses. But when compared by the numbers of prescriptions for each drug, there were 23 times more ER visits for methadone than for hydrocodone, and six times more than for oxycodone.

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Early methadone detox stops the deadly spiral of addiction

In recent years, the demand for methadone detox has risen around the country, particularly high-dose methadone detox treatment. Recent studies have found a direct correlation between rising dosage amounts and rising death rates.

National death statistics reveal a tremendous increase in opioid-related overdose fatalities, starting in the early 2000s. Prescription painkillers commonly involved in fatalities include OxyContin, oxycodone (Percocet and others), hydrocodone (Vicodin and others), as well as methadone.

In Florida recently, oxycodone topped the prescription drug death list. But these figures, taken from autopsy findings of lethal toxicity, were not limited to prescribed painkillers. Overdose deaths included unknown numbers of illicitly obtained painkillers.

The researchers found that methadone-related deaths appear to be related more to pain prescriptions than to methadone prescribed at methadone clinics for opioid addictions. It has been shown in several studies that methadone addiction can occur very quickly, and is more difficult to deal with than most other opioid addictions.

Some experts suggest that expansion of early methadone detox treatment is needed to turn the tide of methadone addiction and deaths. The same is true for dependence on OxyContin and all the other popular opioid painkillers. Education doesn’t deliver results for several years, and our packed prisons offer little or no treatment at all.

“Simply reducing the amount of opioids prescribed would be likely to harm legitimate patients needing pain relief, whereas determined nonmedical users would be likely to seek alternative sources,” the study authors wrote. “Rather, the focus should be on physician education leading to appropriate screening and monitoring of opioid candidates.”

Not all addiction or pain management experts agree that doctor/patient education is the only approach. “The authors point to dosing errors, patient nonadherence, comorbid mental health and substance use disorders as the root causes for opioid overdose deaths. This explanation suggests that if we could simply identify the bad patients and the bad doctors we wouldn’t have a problem,” a Brooklyn, N.Y. physician told the publication MedPage Today. “This has been the preferred understanding of the problem favored by pharmaceutical companies. Even ‘good’ patients make mistakes when using opioids, and the research on how to identify patients likely to intentionally misuse opioids is weak. This [approach] does not give sufficient recognition to the inherent dangers of opioids.”

The bottom line is that alternatives to the rote use of opioids, particularly methadone, are badly needed in the management of most moderate pain.

GETTING OFF METHADONE HAS NEVER BEEN MORE POSSIBLE

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Novus offers more comfortable medical methadone detox

In Florida, Novus Medical Detox Center delivers a more comfortable solution to methadone withdrawal through its medical methadone detox program. But Novus also provides high-dose methadone detox programs for those trapped in the “methadone prison” of high-dose methadone dependence.

Safe, medically supervised high-dose methadone detox is hard to find anywhere, because most detox centers do not accept the kinds of high dosages associated with long-term methadone addiction and dependence, whether illicit abuse or methadone clinic prescriptions.

The Novus medical methadone detox program is widely acknowledged for several important reasons:

  • PERSONAL Novus methadone detox is tailored for each patient’s metabolism and physical circumstances. Patients receive outstanding personal care and attention around the clock from well-trained and experienced methadone detox specialists.
  • COMFORT Novus methadone detox is safe and effective, but is also more comfortable than other detox methods. Novus methadone detox fortifies the body in ways that significantly reduce withdrawal symptoms.
  • CONFIDENTIALITY Novus methadone detox offers privacy and confidentiality and individual private rooms. Our 3.5-acre gated facility is a peaceful sanctuary where your recovery comes first.
  • HEALTH Novus methadone detox makes you healthier than when you arrived, because our advanced protocols include nutritional IVs, vitamins, amino acids, mineral supplements and delicious, healthful cuisine.
  • YOU LEAVE SOONER Novus methadone detox is faster, and without the major withdrawal symptoms, of other programs. Novus methadone detox speeds the healing process, and puts you on your way home sooner.

Call Novus to find out more about Florida’s premier medical methadone detox program.

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