CDC: Prescription drug overdoses related to methadone on the rise

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Atlanta – The rate of overdose deaths involving the prescription drug methadone in 2009 was 5.5 times the rate in 1999, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Researchers analyzed national data from 1999 to 2010, and 2009 data from 13 states that was included in the Medical Examiner component of the Drug Abuse Warning Network. They found that methadone was involved in 31.4 percent of deaths from opioid pain relievers and accounted for 1.7 percent of painkiller prescriptions in 2009.

Data suggests that some of the current uses of methadone for pain might be inappropriate and the majority of these prescriptions are written by primary care providers or midlevel practitioners rather than pain specialists, according to the report.

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