Methadone ranks No. 1 in N.C. drug overdose deaths

There are 20 comments on the Mar 12, 2006, News Observer story titled Methadone ranks No. 1 in N.C. drug overdose deaths. In it, News Observer reports that:

Methadone - a drug best known for helping wean addicts off heroin -- is now the leading killer in North Carolina among those who accidentally overdose.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at News Observer.

Have Had Enough

AOL

#24 May 6, 2006
What ever happened to people being responsible? YOU DO NOT BUY DRUGS OFF THE STREET!! You also make sure if you are taking a prescription you ask the questions of your doctor that will keep you safe. If you have to, look it up on the internet. Don't put anything in your body that you do not what will do to you. If people were more responsible and in charge of themselves we wouldn't have this many problems. Besides, people sell drugs illegally because people buy them.
Lou Tabor

Greensboro, NC

#25 May 7, 2006
I am a nurse, and have recently taken methadone for severe, intolerable back pain. I am also a recovering drug addict with 13 years clean. Methadone helped relieve my pain until I finally had surgery, and, with God's help, I no longer needed to take it. Yet, if I had returned to drug addiction, it wouldn't have been the drug's fault, it would have been mine. If it hadn't been methadone, it would have been any other drug that I could obtain. I am heartbroken when I hear of anyone losing a child. But, please, let's not waste time and money fighting the drugs. We need to offer help to the user. Right now it is methadone. Next month it will probably be something else.
Grace

North Wilkesboro, NC

#26 May 8, 2006
Care wrote:
<quoted text>
Dear Grace, I too am scared of the possibilities...I'll keep you in my prayers and I hope you'll do the same for me....It relieves my headaches, when nothing else can. I am concerned for the future and it'e effect. Only human too!
Care, I have been on methadone now for 4 weeks, and my doctor has went up on my dosage, and I seem to be doing okay with it. I'm amazed at what a tiny pill can do for my pain, when the vicodin I was taking barely knocked the edge off, and I was taking it in high doses. I'm not as afraid as I was, but I owe that to prayer, and a loving Savior who is ever with me, when the human feelings want to take control. Thank you for remembering me, and know that you too, are in my prayers. As long as we keep ourselves open to Him, and allow Him control, this med. will work for the good of our bodies, as He answers our prayers! God bless you!
DEBBIE

AOL

#28 May 9, 2006
HI THERE,
I'M A 52 YEAR OLD FEMALE THAT WAS IN THE HOSPITAL AND WAS GIVEN METHADONE MY MISTAKE 80 MG BUT I HAD ONLY TAKEN 50 MG BECAUSE I WAS SCARED. BY THE TIME I HAD TAKEN THE 50 MG I WAS FEELING THE EFFECTS. I WAS FIGHTING FOR MY LIFE THAT NIGHT COULD NOT BREATH VOMITING ALL NIGHT LONG IN AND OUT OF CONSCIOUSNESS ALL NIGHT LABORED BREATHING UNABLE TO CALL FOR HELP I THOUGHT FOR SURE THAT I WOULD DIE IT TOOK 58 HOURS FOR THE METHADONE TO LEAVE MY BODY. AND NOW I'M DEALING WITH POST TRAMATIC STRESS DISORDER .JUST THINKING ABOUT WHAT HAD HAPPEN TO ME THAT NIGHT HOW CAN A HOSPITAL MAKE SUCH A MISTAKE AS THAT.
THANK YOU ,
DEBBIE
Grace

North Wilkesboro, NC

#29 May 10, 2006
DEBBIE wrote:
HI THERE,
I'M A 52 YEAR OLD FEMALE THAT WAS IN THE HOSPITAL AND WAS GIVEN METHADONE MY MISTAKE 80 MG BUT I HAD ONLY TAKEN 50 MG BECAUSE I WAS SCARED. BY THE TIME I HAD TAKEN THE 50 MG I WAS FEELING THE EFFECTS. I WAS FIGHTING FOR MY LIFE THAT NIGHT COULD NOT BREATH VOMITING ALL NIGHT LONG IN AND OUT OF CONSCIOUSNESS ALL NIGHT LABORED BREATHING UNABLE TO CALL FOR HELP I THOUGHT FOR SURE THAT I WOULD DIE IT TOOK 58 HOURS FOR THE METHADONE TO LEAVE MY BODY. AND NOW I'M DEALING WITH POST TRAMATIC STRESS DISORDER .JUST THINKING ABOUT WHAT HAD HAPPEN TO ME THAT NIGHT HOW CAN A HOSPITAL MAKE SUCH A MISTAKE AS THAT.
THANK YOU ,
DEBBIE
Debbie, That is crazy! My Doctor started me out taking 2.5 mg. 3 x a day, which was a total of 7.5 mgs, and has now got me up to 5 mg 2 x daily and 2.5 1 x daily, to a total of 12.5 mgs., which is more than likely as high as we will go, and it is working great! I can't imagine taking the dosage they had you take, because even at 5 mg.(I split my pills in half and take them a couple of hours apart, instead of taking the full 5 mg. at one time.)This just goes to prove that it's all in how this med. is used, or in this case given, as to how it works. It can be a life saver, or a life taker! In your case I beleive I would find me a good atty. and have him/her look into this, before whoever did this to you, does this to someone else, that's not so blessed, and don't live to tell others about their horror. You will be in my prayers! Grace
aggscott
#32 Jun 4, 2006
I am a mom of three, I have a life taking care of them-living my life and just being a productive person in this world. Without the help of the Methadone my doctor prescribed I would either be in my bed all day in horrible pain wishing I was not alive. Sitting on the couch wishing I was dead or something to that effect. I take what is prescribed to me and my life is 100% better. I still have some pain but, not enough for it to ruin my life. I am one of the people in this world that would be lost without the help of this wonderful drug...I get to live because of it and for that, I am grateful!
Scott Finn

Lebanon, TN

#33 Jun 8, 2006
Deaths tied to methadone escalate across state, nation
Feds approve outdated, potentially deadly drug information
By Scott Finn and Tara Tuckwiller
Staff writers
One increasingly popular painkiller is helping to kill more people than any other prescription narcotic, a Sunday Gazette-Mail investigation has found.
Patients could die if they take the “usual adult dosage” on methadone’s package insert — information that comes with the prescription and was approved by the federal government.
Despite knowing about methadone’s dangers, federal officials have not strengthened the warnings most doctors and patients receive about methadone, Sunday Gazette-Mail reporters discovered.
- advertisement -
Methadone, once given mostly to heroin addicts to ease their cravings, now is being prescribed by more doctors to treat pain. Insurance companies favor it because it is cheap and effective.
But methadone helped to kill three times as many Americans in 2003 as it did in 1999, death certificates reveal, and medical examiners blame it for more overdose deaths than any other narcotic drug except cocaine. This previously unpublished information comes from an analysis of death certificates requested by the Gazette-Mail and conducted by the National Vital Statistics System, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics.
West Virginia led the nation in accidental overdose deaths blamed on methadone in 2003, with a death rate four times higher than the national average, the data shows. It was followed by Kentucky, North Carolina, Maine and New Hampshire.
Methadone contributed to 2,992 deaths nationwide in 2003, up from 790 four years earlier, according to the data.
That’s more deaths in one year than the U.S. military has suffered during the conflict in Iraq. Medical examiners ruled 82 percent of those deaths accidental.
Methadone often is confused with the illegal drug methamphetamine. But methadone is a completely different, legal medication.
The media often portray methadone overdose victims as drug addicts and criminals who steal it or buy it illegally off the street. But a significant number of victims were prescribed the drug to treat their pain, according to studies shared with the Gazette-Mail by researchers in three states.
Some of those victims took the drug as prescribed and died anyway, family members said in legal filings and in telephone interviews. That is what happened to 44-year-old Vince Verdecchio, a Denver lab technician who was prescribed methadone for back pain after surgery, said his wife Marianne Verdecchio.
Less than 36 hours after he filled the prescription, he was dead.
“He was only taking what was on the bottle,” she said.“He took it as directed and he passed away.”
An “extremely dangerous” dose
Some patients could die if they followed the “usual adult dosage” on methadone’s package insert, said several researchers and pain doctors contacted by the Gazette-Mail.
Doses of 50 milligrams or less of methadone have killed people not accustomed to the drug, according to several studies. Researchers now recommend a starting dose of 10 milligrams a day or less for patients not used to narcotic painkillers.
But the package insert says the usual adult dose is “2.5 mg to 10 mg every three or four hours as necessary,” or up to 80 milligrams a day.
The inserts are written by the drug manufacturers and approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration.
http://www.wvgazette.com/section/Series/The+K...
Terry and Lisa Houston

AOL

#34 Jun 9, 2006
sad mom wrote:
I dont think the relief of some peoples physical pain is worth the horrendous pain mothers all around the country are feeling after loosing their child to an overdose of methadone in pill form. This is killing our children, there must be some other solution to the pain problem for many people than to have this very lethal drug made and distributed in pill form, made available to kids for a few bucks by unscupulous drug dealers. My only son died from a methadone overdose in pill form accidentaly. I would gladly take the worst physical pain in trade for this.
We are very sorry to hear about your tradgey. We lost our 17 year old son to accidental methadone poisoning from taking 1 pill 1 time and he never woke up. Michael died October 2, 2002 and if it had not been for this killer drug on the streets we would still have our son. The physicians that prescribe this medication to patients for pain need to examine and learn more about this drug before just writing prescriptions like it is nothing and the companies that produce and sell this medication need to take responsibilty as well. It is going to take people like us that no longer have our childre here with them to make a difference.
Steven

Davis Wharf, VA

#35 Jun 10, 2006
methdone kills wrote:
I don't know anyone personally who has benefited from methadone although I am sure there are some folks out there. My brother just died recently from methadone overdose. I think it should be outlawed. It is definately killing more people than its helping.
<quoted text>
Have to agree with you on this one..everyone I have seen, that are on it..(PRESCRIBED) BIG CHANGE..just like the girl was saying about her Dad...I too lost a friend a few yrs . back from methadone, he took it like he was supposed to..He got lazy, fat, didn`t move @ all...sat in the house ALL the time..Methadone does kill....I also know a girl that broke her back,,,she is not on methadone...she took oxycotin (sp?) for a few months & is now off of it...(MIND OVER MATTER) also, God will help you.....
Waking Up - NC

Rock Hill, SC

#36 Jun 12, 2006
For the record, it appears NC is waking up. At least one clinic is eliminating the 30 day dosage take-home program. And this may be a statewide trend. Don't have enough information to say for sure about that.
This change makes it hard on those that genuinely need it and are trying to hold down a job. But it is also cramping the style of those who resell for profit. I see this change as a step in the right direction. Tighter control may weed out those that don't belong in these programs any longer.
Harris Is A Disgrace

Maiden, NC

#37 Jun 15, 2006
The Harris futile few would like you believe that Terry is his own man and makes his own decision. The reality is Harris is lead around by his nose by those from the former administration that the public voted out. Harris doesn't want you to know that his core support group consists of the former administration gang that lied, cheated, stole and wife-swapped. The citizens of Caldwell County figured them out last time and voted them out, look how desperate they are to get back in, it should tell you something, they don't want you to vote for the best man (Clark), they want you to think that Sheriff Clark is subhuman. If that were true, the public would know that by now, but they start their lies during an election year....very typical of the Harris clan. The Harris crew have had failure after failure of fundraisers and gatherings, they have forced themselves on the public under the guise of civic and religious organizations. The disgraced the flag, our country and our veterans by disguising political rally as flag day. Look at the class these people have....NONE!!!!!
Sheriff Clark recognized what it was when he showed up and wanted no part of a political rally tossed upon the graves of our veterans and service members. Don't let Harris tell you he is a vet and fought in a war, real veterans don't use the service to their country for personal gain, but Harris does....that should tell you something. He is a loser, a low life and a person without morals and ethics.
Vote Clark for Sheriff, he doesn't disgrace our flag for personal gain.......He is tough on drug dealers and criminals while Harris is waving a flag from the coffin of dead veterans for votes.....You are a disgrace Terry Harris.
Grace

North Wilkesboro, NC

#38 Jun 16, 2006
Harris Is A Disgrace wrote:
The Harris futile few would like you believe that Terry is his own man and makes his own decision. The reality is Harris is lead around by his nose by those from the former administration that the public voted out. Harris doesn't want you to know that his core support group consists of the former administration gang that lied, cheated, stole and wife-swapped. The citizens of Caldwell County figured them out last time and voted them out, look how desperate they are to get back in, it should tell you something, they don't want you to vote for the best man (Clark), they want you to think that Sheriff Clark is subhuman. If that were true, the public would know that by now, but they start their lies during an election year....very typical of the Harris clan. The Harris crew have had failure after failure of fundraisers and gatherings, they have forced themselves on the public under the guise of civic and religious organizations. The disgraced the flag, our country and our veterans by disguising political rally as flag day. Look at the class these people have....NONE!!!!!
Sheriff Clark recognized what it was when he showed up and wanted no part of a political rally tossed upon the graves of our veterans and service members. Don't let Harris tell you he is a vet and fought in a war, real veterans don't use the service to their country for personal gain, but Harris does....that should tell you something. He is a loser, a low life and a person without morals and ethics.
Vote Clark for Sheriff, he doesn't disgrace our flag for personal gain.......He is tough on drug dealers and criminals while Harris is waving a flag from the coffin of dead veterans for votes.....You are a disgrace Terry Harris.
This is not the place for the Clark/Harris trash talk, although I do agree with you. Please keep this kind of talk where it belongs. God bless!!! As far as methadone goes, I have now been taking it for around 8 or 9 weeks, and I take a total of 12 & 1/2 mg a day, and it seems to be helping me. I still have some break through pain, but nothing like I was dealing with when I was taking vicodin. I'm still kinda scared when I think of the dangers of methadone, but I'm very careful in how I take it, and I pray for God to bless it to the good of my body, and I know that as long as I leave it in His hands, I'll be okay! My heart cries for those of you who have lost precious children, and loved ones due to this drug, but we never know how something is going to react on us. People who sell this and other drugs on the street, need to be stopped, but so do the ones that buy them! And just as one bee sting could kill my brother-in-law, one shot of penicillin could kill my brother. Everybody is made different, and we all react different to chemicals we put in our bodies. I'm just grateful, that I so far have been blessed, and methadone is working well for me, and for those of you that it has left with a broken heart, know that you will be in my prayers. God's Blessings to you ALL, and have a wonderful day!
Truth Is Truth

Maiden, NC

#39 Jun 16, 2006
The Harris gang would like for you to think that they are holier than thou...they slander and defame Sheriff Clark at every opportunity by posting lies and false allegations about him and his family, yet take offense when the truth is spoken about their candidate, little terry harris.
Sheriff Clark has done nothing but keep his word and improve this county by professionalizing the Sheriff's Office. The mess he inherited from years of incompetence, corruption and amorality is hard to correct in just 4 years. Sheriff Clark made his focus the assault on drug dealers and he has done a wonderful job of directing his department. Harris has done nothing in law enforcement in 30 years, no arrests, no convictions, no progress, only drew a paycheck while the town he chiefed became plagued with drug dealers, prostitutes and thieves. The majority of supporters for Harris are from the prior administration and they want to get back in so they can go back to their old routines of milking the county and swapping wives. The Harris gang has attempted to push themselves down the citizens throats by going door to door begging for votes and pleading to people to put a Harris sign in their yard, or offered money to take down their Clark sign. They have misrepresented themselves in fundraising attempts by lying to the public, civic and church organizations, telling them that they would like to attend, only to show up to beg for votes for their lackluster candidate. They have dishonored the Democratic party, they have insulted civic groups, church congregations and they have attempted to use the distinction of being a veteran as a political ploy to beg for votes. It didn't work for John Kerry and it is a slap in the face to veterans that served their country honorably and do not use that for personal gain. The more Harris's gang tries the worse it gets for them.
Vote Clark for Sheriff, he believes in God, Family and his country, and he doesn't use them to beg for votes.
Sheriff Clark does the job we elected him to do and doesn't insult our veterans.
Waking Up - NC

Rock Hill, SC

#40 Jun 16, 2006
Grace,,,
You seem to be very aware of the dangers and the potential harm. This awareness and concern will probably keep you from getting in deep with this drug. Good luck with controlling your pain. I agree with you completely,,,,,this stuff does not belong on the streets. But it seems one of the pathways to the street is thru excess allowance to those in those in clinical treatment programs. How does it get stopped,,,,whose acting as watch dog over these patients rendering their excess ? I too know someone that has a marked change in behavior ,,,,lazy, sweats very profusely, stays in the house all day, has lost all motivation to live a normal life,,,,but also very critical of those who work hard to get ahead. I've tried to be supportive,,,but it's like trying to move a brick wall.
Harris Is Desperate

Maiden, NC

#41 Jun 16, 2006
Harris and his few supporters have finally seen the futility in their bid for Sheriff. They have suffered 3-4 back to back public fundraiser/rally disasters, this has shown them that the public majority does not support their candidate.
They continue to deny the truth that is posted and they try to distract you from the truth that Harris is simply not qualified for the Sheriff's office. He has not done anything or arrested anyone in 30 years. His experience is limited to patrol only. When asked what his strategy to better this county is, he merely responds with, "I plan on expanding the idea of community policing." Citizens and officers from the Granite Falls police department will tell you, that Harris never did anything related to community policing during his tenure as chief. He was an underachiever, who did not command respect from other law enforcement officers in the county. Harris supporters consist of former administration people that were fired or quit because they were inept and did not earn their paychecks. Harris doesn't want you to see or believe any of the past posts, but the public does know it and they will not vote for someone that is not qualified but associates with those that were an embarrassment to law enforcement and the community. Harris will tell you that every post and every detail is a lie......they are not.....ask around, research and you will quickly learn that Harris is a face to a past, regressed and amoral administration.
Vote Clark for Sheriff, he has a proven record against drug dealers and criminals and he is dedicated to his job. Sheriff Clark is the right man for the job, don't believe Harris supporters that are desperate to get back to their old routine of lies, deceit and adultery.
Grace

North Wilkesboro, NC

#42 Jun 17, 2006
Waking Up - NC wrote:
Grace,,,
You seem to be very aware of the dangers and the potential harm. This awareness and concern will probably keep you from getting in deep with this drug. Good luck with controlling your pain. I agree with you completely,,,,,this stuff does not belong on the streets. But it seems one of the pathways to the street is thru excess allowance to those in those in clinical treatment programs. How does it get stopped,,,,whose acting as watch dog over these patients rendering their excess ? I too know someone that has a marked change in behavior ,,,,lazy, sweats very profusely, stays in the house all day, has lost all motivation to live a normal life,,,,but also very critical of those who work hard to get ahead. I've tried to be supportive,,,but it's like trying to move a brick wall.
Before I started taking methadone, I had read all sorts of info. on it, including the horror stories, and for a long time refused to take it, but now I'm glad I did. I could be one to just give up and sit in the house all the time, be lazy and get fat, but if this medicine is going to help me I figure I have to help myself also.I've got a panic disorder that keeps me from driving (my own choice) and when I sweat, it don't come through my skin, it comes out in the form of water blisters, but as my body cools they go away and my skin goes back to normal.(strange) But back to methadone, by taking it, and not having to endure the pain so much, I make myself get out and walk around the yard, and enjoy being outside.(I take my camera, and take pictures of anything, and everything) My husband has fixed me up several "sit-down" places so that I can rest if I need to, but if I'm going to take this stuff, I'm going to make the most of what life has to offer, and it's not my sofa, or my bed. You can eather choose to control this medication, or it WILL control you. Another thing is I go to my doctor, and not a pain clinic, and I feel more comfortable with him when it comes to talking about how I feel.
Truth Be Known

Maiden, NC

#43 Jun 18, 2006
The Harris, futile few, would like you to think that they are above sin and fault, when in reality, they are saturated in it. I have watched and read the harris supporters claim that their candidate is godly and holier than thou. I have news for you, terry harris is much less than you portray him, he worked at the Sheriff's department as a PATROLMAN for years and did not gain respect from his peers or superiors...harris worked as a chief in Granite Falls and literally let the town go to the dogs. Drug dealers, thieves, prostitutes and other criminals ran rampant in Granite. The business owners and citizens were scared to leave their homes and harris sat by and did nothing but collect rent from the officers that worked for him at the property he managed on duty. Harris claims he will enact community policing...well terry, to put it in the words of officers that worked for you, "Community policing is more than writing on the side of a patrol car." The core support of the harris campaign consists of former administration rejects that were drummed out of the department by the citizens for the misdeeds, incompetence and corruption they perpetrated while in office. Terry, do you honestly think that you have accomplished anything worthy of the office of Sheriff? Do you think that the citizens of Caldwell County would put that bunch of rejects, that are your core support group, back in office to run and fleece the county as they once did?
Gary Clark ran on the promise of being tough on drugs, he has been, he kept his word and continues to do the job we elected him to do. Sheriff Clark cares about the community and is a good Christian man, that is family and community oriented. harris and his supporters attempt to distract you from their troubles by telling lies about Sheriff Clark.
Know this...Sheriff Clark had 4 years to clean up 30 years of incompetence and corruption while continuing to provide service to this county. harris could not manage a small department and now with the help of former administration rejects, he wants to be the Sheriff. We don't think so terry.....We all will vote Clark for Sheriff, we won't send the Sheriff's office back 30 years and we don't like drug dealers.
Vote Harris

Louisburg, NC

#44 Jun 19, 2006
From that last post, it looks like clark has been in the Meth. Sorry for his interuption and lies. Terry Harris is a good christian man that deserves better than the lies that are being told on him on every forum.
POP a TOP

Lynchburg, VA

#45 Jun 25, 2006
I'm glad we don't have a clinc in Johnson County
Blndegrl

Maryville, TN

#46 Jun 27, 2006
Hi all, First of all this forum is about Methadone, not POLITICS! So on that matter, I DO NOT think that we should be talking about politics on a Methadone forum, Please find another forum about politics. And i'm sure that others on this site will agree totally. I and others are here to share our stories, concerns and questions that we have on the topic. Being an MMT patient for 5 yrs, both my husband and I, have to say that it has saved our lives. Yes, we did take a wrong turn in our lives for the worst and got addicted to Oxycotin, usually thats how it happens, noone is perfect.My husband had spinal fusion back surgery, so they prescribed them to him for that, so thats why he became addicted. He had a pinched nerve on his spine, that was causing him to not have any feeling from the waist and below, So after his surgery it took him almost 5 months to learn how to re-walk again. So being the wife, tugging on a grown man, i ruptured a disc in my back due to helping him out, and then was prescribed them from a physician for myself. So after years and years of being on Oxycotin, we found ourselves not only needing the drug for pain anymore, but just to feel normal, so at that point we were addicted to the meds. So, being adults we took it upon ourselves to get help for our addiction and went to a Methadone Maintanence program. METHADONE saved our lives, and I cannot stress that enough, along with numerous others that has started on an MMT program. I do agree that anything will kill you if you do not take your recommended dose everyday, ANYTHING WILL!I dosympathize for those of you that have lost a loved one from this medication, because I have also lost friends to this drug, but it wasn't just from this drug, it was a mixture of other things with the Methadone that killed them. But as I stress AGAIN, the drug if not prescribed to you or you do not take the proper doseage, then it can be fatal! But...if it weren't for ALL the Methadone clinics in the world we would have more deaths than there are from other overdoses. It has saved many lives from my opinion. So, i hope that for people like my husband and I, that others do not give this wonder drug a BAD name, because if that was to happen, we wouldn't be able to make it in this world that we live in today.

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