Methadone Mortality: A 2010 Reassessment (by SAMHSA)

Click to access methadone_mortality_data_2010.pdf

In 2001, the Secretary of Health and Human Services delegated to SAMHSA the responsibility for regulation and oversight of the Nation’s opioid treatment programs (OTPs).

An agency focused on drug abuse and mental health is in charge of regulating one subsection of drugs:  Opioids.  Wow, if I was an opioid, I would feel flattered that so many federal agencies were working against me.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) purchases access to drug utilization data through
a number of commercial drug utilization data vendors. From these data sources, FDA can
track the amount of methadone sold by manufacturers.

Every entity that manufactures or distributes prescription drugs is required to report that
activity to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

In 2009, 98% of methadone in the 40 mg formulation (about 38 million units) was
distributed to OTPs (also known as Narcotic Treatment Programs or NTPs). The remaining
2% was distributed to hospital pharmacies (Figure 5). In contrast, ARCOS data show that a large majority (90%) of the 5 mg and 10 mg formulations of methadone (commonly used for pain treatment) were distributed to retail pharmacies. Of the rest, 9% was distributed to hospitals and 1 percent to OTPs/NTPs (Figure 7).

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