Deaths from methadone overdose increased six-fold between 1999 and 2009 according to Pennsylvania State Senator Mike Stack (D-Philadelphia) who sponsored legislation recently signed by the governor, which creates a Methadone Death and Incident Review Team with the goal of reducing deaths and injuries.
The team would review all fatalities in the state where methadone is the primary or secondary cause of death and track methadone-related incidents that cause serious injuries. That could include sales of methadone outside of a methadone clinic.
“The team would also be responsible for developing best practices to prevent future methadone-related deaths,” said Stack.
Stack said this is just one more step in the state’s efforts to fight prescription drug abuse.
“More than 4 million prescriptions were written for this inexpensive drug in 2009 and with increased use comes increased abuse,” said Stack. “So Pennsylvania has got to take steps to prevent abuse and develop preventative methods.
Methadone is legally used both for pain management and in the treatment of addiction to heroin, OxyContin and other drugs.