What Can Be Done
The US government is
Enforcing federal laws to prevent nonmedical
use of methadone. Educating health care providers and consumers about the correct use of methadone. Tracking prescription drug overdose trends
and the impact of efforts to stop overdoses.
Develop and promote the use of safe
prescribing guidelines for methadone. Support the use of methadone as a treatment for opioid dependence in opioid treatment programs. Use prescription drug monitoring programs to identify patients who are using methadone or other prescription painkillers for nonmedical purposes.
Health care providers can
Follow guidelines for prescribing methadone and other prescription painkillers correctly, including Screening and monitoring for substance
abuse and mental health problems. Prescribing only the quantity needed based
on the expected length of pain. Using prescription drug monitoring programs to identify patients who are misusing or abusing methadone or other prescription painkillers. Monitor patients on high doses for heart
rhythm problems. Educating patients on how to safely use, store, and dispose of methadone and how to prevent and recognize overdoses.
Health insurers can
Evaluate methadone’s place on preferred
drug lists. Consider strategies to ensure that pain treatment with any dose higher than 30 mg of methadone a day (the recommended maximum daily starting dose) is appropriate.
Use methadone only as directed by a health
care provider. Make sure they are the only ones to use their methadone and never sell or share it with others. Store methadone in a secure place and dispose of it properly. See www.cdc.gov/ HomeandRecreationalSafety/Poisoning/ preventiontips.htm for correct storage and disposal of medications. Get help for substance abuse problems 1-800-662-HELP or www.samhsa.gov/treatment/.