While the prescription drug abuse problem continues to soar in general, it seems that overdose death cases due to the painkiller methadone could reach a stagnant point and hopefully begin to slow down.
According to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, methadone is still a leading cause of overdose deaths. In fact, about one-third of prescription painkiller deaths are brought about by the said drug, but after rapid increases in earlier years, the number has slowly declined since 2007.
What is happening, according to experts, is that methadone abuse has reached its peak and at present, the rate is on a plateau which is a very encouraging development.
The present situation may be due to initiatives taken by the government to control the methadone epidemic. In 2006, the Food and Drug Administration released warnings to doctors about the drug that discouraged health experts from prescribing them to their patients. Drug manufacturers also did their share in 2008 by limiting huge distribution of methadone in hospitals and in legitimate treatment facilities.
Local officials also implemented stricter rules in prescribing and dispensing of painkillers to monitor prescription drug activities effectively and immediately identify signs of abuse.
Doctors might turn to oxycodone and hydrocodone in their prescriptions. Despite the warnings, the CDC still claims that too much painkiller prescriptions are still made; most of them even written by unauthorized pain specialists.