Methadone only accounts for 2 percent of painkiller prescriptions in the US, yet it is the culprit in almost one-third of deaths by prescription painkillers.
The Rise of Methadone Overdoses
Why has methadone become an increasingly abused drug? The answer is simple. It’s become increasingly available on the street, and Methadone is an extremely addictive drug that reacts with the opiate receptors.
Doctors prescribe Methadone-mtd to patients for pain relief pain, and they use it to help an addict with the withdrawal symptoms of drug detoxification. In these cases, prescribed and monitored by a doctor, Methadone is a legal drug but because of its addictiveness, the drug is often obtained illegally on the streets.
Individuals who abuse heavy narcotics such as heroin and Oxycontin (oxycodone hydrochloride) can overdose on methadone as they attempt, in vain, to get the euphoric effect of the more intense drugs. Whatever the reason, the CDC found that six times as many people died from methadone in 2009 as compared to 1999.
Celebrities and Methadone Overdoses
Many celebrities have suffered from methadone addiction and many have experienced methadone overdoses.
Eminem spoke out during an interview with Vibe magazine about his methadone overdose. He had received a handful of mysterious blue tablets from a friend. He told Vibe, “My doctor told me those mysterious new pills were methadone, which is used to wean heroin addicts off dope. Had I known it was methadone, I probably wouldn’t have taken it. But as bad as I was back then, I can’t even say 100 percent for sure….My doctor told me the amount of methadone I’d taken was equivalent to shooting up four bags of heroin. Even when they told me I almost died, it didn’t click.”
Before Anna Nicole Smith’s death involving multiple prescription drugs, she spoke of the methadone overdose that put her in a coma. “I actually went into a coma, you know. I almost died. And I had to learn how to walk again and all this and that,” she told CBS News. “I had to rehabilitate myself. And then they took the nurse away, so there I was crawling — crawling to the bathroom and stuff.” Anna Nicole Smith overcame her addiction to methadone after undergoing treatment at the Betty Ford rehabilitation center.
Signs of a Methadone Overdose
The symptoms of a methadone overdose can occur immediately after taking methadone or several hours later. If you notice any of these symptoms please call 911 immediately. If you suspect an overdose, do not let the person sleep. Keep them awake and alert and seek medical attention.
The symptoms of a methadone overdose:
- Shallow or slowed breathing
- Irregular or slowed heartbeat
- Abnormal snoring
- Sleepiness and grogginess
- Limp body
- Constricted pupils
- Slurred speech
- Blue lips or blue appendages from lack of oxygen
- Cold and clammy skin
- Twitching muscles
- Inability to wake or rouse
Teens and Methadone
Let’s talk about the rise of Methadone overdoses. Methadone abuse is not only an issue among adults, but it is also an issue among teenagers in the U.S. Around one percent of high school seniors in the US have abused methadone at least once in their lifetime, according to a survey conducted by the University of Michigan.
Programs are popping up around the country to respond to the teen methadone crisis. The program NOPE or Narcotics Overdose Prevention Education was created in Florida in response to the methadone and drug overdose problems in Florida. Here is a great article to read, and make sure to watch this movie to see how they were “Scaring Kids Straight, Off Methadone” in Florida.
For more information on drug testing for methadone and other drug testing products call uVera Diagnostics at 1-866-242-5930 or visit online.
Share your story about Methadone abuse in the comment section below. How did you get help for your addiction?
Posted by Bill Nee, VP Sales/Marketing uVera Diagnostics and Co-designer and Developer of the CR3 split-sample drug test cup. Bill has 25 years of sales management and marketing and is a 10 year veteran of the drug testing industry. As a parent and co-worker, Bill’s energy is focused on drug testing on every level. Addiction is all around us in alcohol, prescriptions, and street drugs, and that is a constant reminder a drug-free society starts with each and every one of us.
For more information on drug testing, call 1-866-242-5930.
This information is meant for awareness and education purposes only. Any medical or life-saving advice should come from experts. Always consult with your physician about any and all drugs.
Sources: justice.gov, sobercollege.com, philadelphia.cbslocal.com, dalje.com, abcnews.go.com, stopmethadonedeaths.com
Body outline and rock star photos courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.com by Simon Howden (body outline) and photostock (rock star)