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Methadone behind one-third of Prescription painkiller overdose deaths in US

July 4, 2012 - Atlanta, United States

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Tuesday that Methadone is to be blamed for one-third of US prescription painkiller overdose deaths. Methadone accounts for only 2 percent of painkiller prescriptions but is behind more than 30 percent of painkiller overdose deaths.

Methadone is normally used for treating withdrawal symptoms from heroin addiction, but is also used to treat pain. CDC said that most of the overdose deaths involving Methadone are people who take it to treat pain rather than to treat withdrawal symptoms of heroin addiction.

The CDC's latest Vital Signs report shows that Prescription painkiller overdose deaths are more than 15,500 in 2009. The deaths involving methadone overdose increased by an alarming six times compared to a decade before.

The latest Vital Signs report can be found here.

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