WASHINGTON – More than 15,500 American people die every year of prescription drug overdoses, and nearly one third of those overdoses involve the drug methadone, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
In its latest Vital Signs report, the CDC said while methadone accounts for only two percent of painkiller prescriptions in the United States, it is involved in more than 30 percent of prescription painkiller overdose deaths.
Methadone was developed in Germany in 1937, and has been used by U.S. doctors since the 1960s to treat drug addiction. Its use for chronic pain relief has been on the rise since the mid-1990s, largely due to its relatively low cost.
According to the CDC, methadone carries more risks than other painkillers because levels build up in the body and may interfere with a person’s normal heart rhythm or breathing. (Xinhua)