Methadone responsible for a third of all prescription medication deaths
By Jason Thomas
Methadone, developed in 1937 and widely used by 1999, is responsible for nearly a third of all deaths in the United States by prescription medication. The CDC has released a report showing the death statistics and warns that heroin may be more effective than Methadone at one of Methadone’s primary uses – that of treating the withdrawal symptoms of heroin addiction. The study goes on to say that heroin is as cheap or cheaper than Methadone.
While the study is correct in these statements, the CDC’s study fails to account for the crime, sexually transmitted disease and unwanted births associated with heroin. Methadone recipients are less likely to commit violent crimes such as robbery or murder to finance their needs than heroin users are. While Methadone recipients have, in isolated cases, turned to crime in order to afford their medication, heroin users are notorious for such things. No insurance plan will assist with heroin costs. Many assist with Methadone treatment.
Methadone also has little to no stigma associated with use. Methadone use isn’t illegal, so the need to be secretive when obtaining or using it doesn’t exist. Since it is an FDA approved medication, it is as easy as going to a clinic or a pharmacy to obtain this medication. Heroin does not enjoy such open distribution.
The CDC cannot seriously believe that the public, private doctors, lawmakers, or insurance companies will believe this report. While the costs may be accurate and the effectiveness fairly measured, there are other issues to understand when it comes to treatment of hard drug users. The report wants us to believe that the best treatment for a recovering heroin addict is heroin itself. The notion is preposterous and so are the statistics given to us by the CDC.
Yes, Methadone is responsible for many prescription drug deaths in the United States. That is a fact that cannot be denied. Neither can we deny that heroin is responsible for many deaths. The National Household Survey on Drug Abuse in 1999, the last year such data was made available, showed that heroin was responsible for 51 percent of all accidental deaths by illicit drug use. The CDC’s report shows that, per dose, heroin is cheaper than Methadone. What is left out is that heroin users use more than one dose per day on average. Methadone users usually take only one dose a day. Due to this, Methadone per day is cheaper than heroin. It becomes immaterial what the per dose cost amounts to.
Whatever agenda the CDC has in publishing a report saying that heroin is better than Methadone is only supported by incomplete, selectively picked data. It should be thrown out, not enshrined.