Methadone Overdoses Rise

Doctors prescribe drug to curb pain

By S. Maurreen Skowran – McClatchy Newspapers

RALEIGH, N.C. –Methadone, long prescribed as an alternative to heroin, is proving to be a hazard of its own.

As a treatment for addiction, methadone is considered an effective tool. But as its use as a low-cost pain reliever becomes more widespread, a growing number of people are dying from methadone overdoses.

Methadone contributed to 299 fatal overdoses in the state in 2005, the latest year with national data available. The number of such deaths has more than quintupled from 47 in 1999. More…