How long have they known about and underestimated the toxic effects of Methadone?

In a February 12th 2008 article from the Baltimore Sun, it was revealed that SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration) withheld information on reported abuses of Suboxone.   It is reported that over 2 years ago, SAMHSA learned that people were misusing and abusing this drug by injecting it to get a high. Despite knowing that this drug is being abused and sold on the streets, SAMHSA failed to inform the Congress and the FDA, who subsequently passed The Office of National Drug Control Policy Reauthorization Act of 2006 (P.L. 109-469 ONDCPRA).  This act increased the limit of people that can be treated in private physician offices from 30 to 100. HARMD Inc. (Helping America Reduce Methadone Deaths) questions whether Congress would have approved increasing the patient limit had they known the truth about this drug. 

The deaths from Methadone started rising in 2001 when SAMHSA obtained oversight of Methadone for treatment of opioid dependence from the FDA. Even though the deaths started increasing around 2001, SAMHSA waited to convene a meeting on Methadone Mortality until 2004. When the deaths continued to rise without interventions from the government agencies responsible for oversight and regulation, another meeting was convened in 2007 to address the epidemic of Methadone related death, which has now become the #1 killer of prescription opioids and the #2 killer of legal and illegal scheduled drugs according to the CDC. In 2005, Methadone was implicated in over 4,600 deaths, up from the 1,456 in 2001. Thousands of lives may have been saved if the agencies involved had not waited until the death toll rose to epidemic proportions before seriously addressing the issue. How many more lives could still be saved if these same agencies made this epidemic issue a priority? 

In 2006, the FDA issued a black box warning entitled “Methadone Use for Pain Control May Result in Death and Life-Threatening Changes in Breathing and Heart Beat”. In 2008, researchers from Oregon Health & Science University released a study in the American Journal of Medicine that stated “Methadone is a possible cause of sudden cardiac death even when it isn’t overdosed, but is taken at therapeutic levels primarily for relief of chronic pain or drug addiction withdrawal.” This is a medication that our government and physicians have assured patients for the past 40 years is safe when taken as prescribed. Many HARMD Inc. families know for a fact this is not true after burying their loved ones who took Methadone exactly as prescribed. This 40 year hoax must end and the truth must be revealed. 

HARMD Inc. asks what is being done to save unsuspecting patients from a lethal medication that is linked to sudden death? What are SAMHSA and the FDA doing to protect the public from such an unstable medication? Is there going to be another meeting or a call to action?

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