Re: Methadone deaths rising in New England
- From: "OldGoat" <oldgoatmail@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Fri, 18 Apr 2008 20:33:32 GMT
It's not the drug, it's the lack of personal responsibly, and always will
be, causing these deaths. Of course, nobody writes that, and since it's been
going on forever it's not news, not sensational enough. It makes good TV and
lawyer ads though.
It's cyclic. Was fentanyl due to the patch recalls, for a couple weeks it
will methadone and just about peak summer, it'll be Oxycontin till fall. If
someone has an idea on how to make money buying stocks in pharmaceutical
companies seasonally, we should get a Group Christmas Club going, and with
the seasonal terror schedule and the proper investments, maybe we could have
an ASCP cruise to the Caribbean we could all meet at. That ship better have
a damn well stocked infirmary, though.
Be Sure to Check Out the PAYNE HERTZ blog, for people with chronic pain, by
people with chronic pain.
join in at: http://paynehertz.blogspot.com
"kittychats" <eileen_73@xxxxxxxxx> wrote in message
Egads! I don't even take methadone nor do I live in New England,
however I found the following news article online today truly
frightening. As those with chronic pain do, I realize that it could be
a medication I may require in the future and I can certainly see where
this fear based witch hunt is headed:
LACONIA, N.H. ? When her 20-year-old son stumbled home one night last
October, Gail DeLucca told him to go to bed and sleep it off. "I love
you, Ray," she called up the stairs, figuring she would wait until
morning to lecture him about drinking.
But it wasn't alcohol that made her son so woozy. It was methadone,
and it killed him.
Raymond DeLucca was one of 168 people to die of drug overdoses in New
Hampshire last year. That was more than the number killed in car
crashes. More than half the drug deaths involved methadone, and an
alarming eight of them happened in Laconia, a city of about 17,000.
"After about the fifth one, we had a meeting and said this is crazy,"
said Police Chief Michael Moyer.
Nationwide, methadone deaths are increasing at a faster rate than any
other drug-related deaths, the National Center for Health Statistics
reported in February. According to the most recent data available, the
number of methadone deaths nationwide rose from 786 in 1999 to 4,462
in 2005, a nearly six-fold increase. By comparison, fatal cocaine
overdoses rose 63%, from 3,832 to 6,228.
Though it is best known as a prescription drug that curbs heroin
addiction, methadone has been increasingly prescribed as a pain
medication, and officials say it is those pills that have led to the
increase in deaths.
In the many cases, the drug is being stolen in transit between
manufacturers and pharmacies. Also, patients with methadone
prescriptions are selling or sharing their pills.
In some states, including Maine and New Hampshire, methadone has
become the leading cause of drug-related deaths, overtaking even
cocaine and heroin. That is prompting some police and prosecutors to
In Vermont, a woman was charged last month with giving methadone to a
friend who slipped into a coma and died. In New Hampshire, four people
have been charged in connection with DeLucca's death, and a task force
is investigating Laconia's seven other deaths in hopes of bringing
"In past years on an overdose death, no, we would not usually have
done a really thorough investigation," Moyer said. "Now we treat it
more like a crime scene when we go to one of these."
Gail DeLucca said she realizes that her son wasn't blameless ? she
knew he had a drug problem ? but she wants the others involved to be
held accountable. The methadone that killed him was obtained illegally
from a friend who had bought it from a local couple, she said.
"It was a bad choice, and he paid for it with his life," she said. But
"the other people made a bad choice in selling it, and now it's their
turn to pay for what they did."
Though methadone isn't the leading cause of drug deaths in Vermont ?
the painkiller oxycodone, often sold under the brand name OxyContin,
holds that distinction ? nearly three-quarters of the 80 drug-related
deaths last year involved the class of drug to which both oxycodone
and methadone belong.
The problem isn't limited to the northern New England ? Utah, Kentucky
and Washington, for example, had similar methadone death rates ? and
experts say there is nothing particular to the Northeast that is
contributing to the trend.
"We are simply at a point in time where in New England and the Eastern
Seaboard, methadone is the drug with 'street cred' right now, whereas
methamphetamine leads the pack elsewhere," said Dr. Thomas Andrew, New
Hampshire's medical examiner.
Methadone is cheaper than other prescribed painkillers and is easily
diverted to the black market.
Though methadone does not itself produce a high, it is often combined
with other drugs in hopes of creating one. But for someone who has a
low tolerance, even low doses can be dangerous. Methadone is
particularly hazardous because of the slow way in which it is
"It takes a while for its action to be perceived by the patient, and
in this age of instant gratification ? 'Hey, I still hurt' ? they grab
a second one or even a third one, and by the time everything kicks in,
they wake up dead," Andrew said.
The medical examiner is pushing for electronic prescription monitoring
to prevent people from getting multiple methadone prescriptions from
different doctors and pharmacies.
About 30 states have such programs, including Maine and Vermont, but
New Hampshire rejected the idea three times recently. Opponents
consider it an invasion of privacy and an invitation for police
In Laconia, the police chief's task force is focusing on educating
schoolchildren and other members of the public about methadone,
displaying a big "Eight Is Enough" banner with pictures of some of the
victims. No one has died of a methadone overdose in the city since
DeLucca in October.
"I think a lot of people are now afraid to use it," Moyer said.
"That's what I'm hoping, anyway. Or certainly they'll think twice
about taking too much. if any at all."
At the time of his death, DeLucca was working two jobs and studying to
get his high school equivalency degree in hopes of joining the
Gail DeLucca said she would like to see his picture displayed at the
convenience stores where young people buy beer before heading out to
party. The message: "Think about this before you decide what you're
going to do tonight, before you make your bad decision.
"By Holly Ramer, Associated Press Writer"
- Methadone deaths rising in New England
- From: kittychats
- Methadone deaths rising in New England
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