Archive for Tuesday, February 12, 2008

KU student died of methadone overdose

February 12, 2008


Pain killer causes student's death

Pain killers are the official cause of a KU student's death. Enlarge video

Kansas University student Skyler Price died of an accidental methadone overdose, according to a toxicology report completed recently.

The 19-year-old Free State High School graduate was found in his dorm room Dec. 8 after fellow residents complained of a foul odor. Price had methadone levels that would be "in the range described for methadone overdose deaths." Price also had acute pneumonia, but that could have occurred before or because of the drug overdose, the report said.

Price had a variety of prescription and nonprescription drugs in his dorm room, the autopsy report said. The autopsy also noted an elevated blood-alcohol level; however, that could have occurred because of changes in his body after death.

On Monday, Price's parents said in a statement that their son's accidental death serves as a reminder about the dangers of prescription medications.

"We have learned that prescription painkillers, such as methadone, are easily available on the streets of Lawrence, Kansas, without a prescription," the statement said. "We hope no other family has to experience the wrenching agony that a parent suffers when a child predeceases them, but dangerous prescription drugs are available on the streets in our town and in Anytown, USA, and the children of our community are using them."

Becky and Jeff Price urged other parents to watch for signs of drug use.

"Do not hesitate to seek help if you suspect your child is at risk," they said. "Talk to your children and let them know the dangers of taking any drug - prescription or otherwise.

"Teach them that they should never leave a friend alone if they suspect they have used an unknown medication. If they think their friend is in trouble, they should get help immediately."

Methadone is a powerful painkiller that is also used to treat heroin addiction. More recently, however, the drug has been used recreationally.


zenith 10 years, 3 months ago

Sadly, drug abuse is a dangerous activity and cannot be made "safe". While all reasonable effort must be made to keep dangerous drugs off the streets, a certain amount will always slip through and be available for abuse. Education is the answer--not banning a medication that has helped countless thousands in the grips of pain or addiction to return to a normal, productive life. Methadone in particular is dangerous when used recreationally due to it's long half life and lack of euphoria--people tend to be disappointed in the weak effects they get and take more hoping for a high and instead end up dead. The very things that make it so useful for chronic pain and addiction can make it dangerous to abuse--please educate your children about this,, but remember--many lives are saved and helped by this med. as well.

MAMAorg 10 years, 3 months ago

Our thoughts and prayers are with Skyler Price's family as they are now among the thousands of families who have fallen victim to the lethal qualities of Methadone. This drug is now the #1 killer of prescription narcotics in this country. Victims have died from a single small dose and nothing else in their system. Some were beginning their initial dosing from a clinic, others from pain management to those who acquired it through a friend or on the streets. Many are dying even while under a doctors care and monitoring. Methadone is very unstable and has now become the new "wonder drug" as it is used in clinics all across America to replace one highly addictive drug for their drug of choice. Doctors are prescribing this drug in massive quantities and insurance companies are promoting it's use because of the extremely low cost. Methadone is leaving a trail of death and despair in it's path and nothing much is being done to stop this epidemic. The prescription drug problem in this country exceeds illegal drug use and abuse. People are dying and the FDA, DEA and SAMHSA are turning a blind eye to this problem. Drug companies and health groups are making millions/billions of dollars just off of Methadone. This drug must be stopped and someone needs to be held accountable for such a lethal drug to even be marketed and placed in the hands of innocent people. Our communities are not being told by doctors, drug companies, pharmacists that many are dying, this prevents people from making a knowledgable choice to take the risk of death by using this drug. Please just say NO to Methadone, your life may depend on it. Methadone, One Pill Can Kill !!!

Mothers Against Medical Abuse. Org Helping to Stop Rx, Methadone Deaths and Abuse

OfficeGirl 10 years, 3 months ago

I lost my son 4 years ago to his 'recreational' abuse of this drug. The man who gave/sold them to him was never prosecuted in spite of admitting to the police that he had done so. That man then committed suicide within 2 years of my son's death. It is devastating to bury a child and even more so to bury one due to stupidity.

Melis11577 10 years, 3 months ago

Methadone is now the #2 Killer Drug in the U.S. Methadone is more addictive then any other pain medication including heroin and because of it's extremely long half life, cardio toxic risks, numerous fatal drug interactions, dosages based on tolerance, and small margin of error.

there were 3,849 deaths in 2004 and over 4600 deaths 2005

Every day 10.9 people die from Methadone (according to 2004 stats, not
including car accident deaths caused by drivers under the influence of Methadone)

We are asking government agencies to enact stricter guidelines in prescribing methadone for any reason. It must be mandatory that all doctors be certified and trained in the pharmacology of methadone; inpatient stays must be required during induction to methadone; all staff be extensively trained in monitoring methadone patients for symptoms of toxicity. Clinic patients should be tested weekly for legal and illegal drugs that are taken with methadone to get " high" or experience "euphoria" such as benzodiazepines, alcohol, cocaine, heroin, marijuana etc: and face severe consequences or mandatory detoxification from the methadone program after 3 dirty urines. Selling of take home doses must result in termination from methadone program permanently throughout the U.S. When presenting inebriated at clinic, clinic should also document such activity as well as prevent client from driving. Take home doses for all patients receiving methadone should be eliminated thus preventing the risk of diversion or precautions such as pill safe should be implemented.

Current statistics show that nearly 4000 people a year die from methadone. These deaths are mostly happening to pain management and detoxification patients' wit hi n the first 10 days of taking initial dose. Most of these deaths are related to methadone prescribed with other medications that react as additives with the methadone. Diversion of methadone is a serious problem because it lands this most deadly drug on streets. Statistics also state that methadone is contributing to more deaths nationwide then heroin and only second to cocaine deaths.

The potential of abuse, diversion, and overdose to new patients being prescribed methadone is overwhelming. The unique properties of methadone, it's long half life, and it's negative interaction with numerous drugs make it an optimal choice as a last result treatment for chronic pain and addiction.


Melissa Zuppardi Helping America Reduce Methadone Deaths

jecsse 10 years ago

Let me start with this. Methadone has helped saves millions of people's lives. It is a miracle drug that is a synthetic opiate which means it is man-made and does not require the harvesting of opium poppy plants to manufacture. The sudden inlux of tragic deaths due to the overdose of this drug has no connections with the methadone clinics that people addicted to opiates/heroin attend. These deaths are due to the lack of education and supervision of physicians who are prescribing this drug to patients for pain because it is very inexpensive and because it is rather effective and long-lasting. Unlike other opiate pain killers, methadone has a very long half-life and stays in the body much longer. In the instance of many of the deaths, patients who are taking the drug for pain may decided to ingest a second dose before the scheduled time because the pain is returning. However, due to the extremely long half-life of methadone, the pain-killing effects wear off much quicker than the depresant effects, therefore inducing severe respiratory depression. Physicians are not educating their patients on this matter, and they need to be. Widespread education of methadone is another key in reducing the deaths. The methadone programs that drug addicts receive help from, like myself dispense the medication in liquid form, not pill form. Also, I do not want to hear from people about what methadone clinics should do with carry doses and what not. Their are extremely strict federal and state laws that tightly regiment the way these clinics function. Take-home doses are a privilige that patients receive after they have met the criteria, and weekly drug tests are taken at these facilities. Methadone patients who have met the criteria receive their carry doses and are extremely careful with their doses and must keep them in a locked storage box. Also, methadone patients rely on this drug in order just to feel normal like everyone else, and when they miss even a single day's dose, it can throw their system off. Believe me when I say this, we do not want to divert our medication for any amount of money. And this is not because we are addicted to it and have just traded it for heroin. It makes us feel normal and it curbs the cravings for the opiates. Another misjudgement is the replacing of one drug for another like I just mentioned. We do not get high off of methadone. We are already tolerant to opiates when we begin the clinic. The people who are getting ahold of methadone in order to use as a recreational drug are getting pills, not the liquid from the clinics. So, do not blame these programs. The blame is on the physicians and the lack of education on this particular drug. Education is awareness.

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