Methadone-related deaths


  • Lynn R. Webster, MD






Author Biography

Lynn R. Webster, MD

Medical Director, Lifetree Clinical Research & Pain Clinic, Salt Lake City, Utah.


Randerson J: Painkiller linked to rise in overdose deaths. March 6, 2004. Available online at:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Unintentional and undetermined poisoning deaths—11 states, 1990-2001. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2004; 53(11): 233-238.

Florida Department of Law Enforcement: 2004 report of drugs identified in deceased persons by Florida medical examiners. Available online at: Last accessed August 4, 2005.

Sorg MH, Greenwald M: Maine Drug-Related Mortality Patterns: 1997-2002. In cooperation with the Maine Office of the Attorney General and the Maine Office of Substance Abuse. Released Dec. 27, 2002. Available online at: Last accessed April 6, 2005.

Lehder DM, Arria A, Artigiani EE, et al.: Alcohol and drugrelated overdose deaths in Maryland: 1997-2001. Available online at: Last accessed August 4, 2005.

Shah N, Lathrop SL, Landen MG: Unintentional methadonerelated overdose death in New Mexico (USA) and implications for surveillance, 1998-2002. Addiction. 2005; 100: 176-188.

Findings and recommendations of the task force to prevent deaths from unintentional drug overdoses in North Carolina, 2003. North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Public Health, Injury and Violence Prevention Branch, Raleigh, NC. Available online at Last accessed August 25, 2005.

Increase in poisoning deaths caused by non-illicit drugs—Utah, 1991-2003. Performed by the Utah Department of Health (UDOH) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2005; 54(02): 33-36.

Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, Methadone-Associated Mortality: Report of a National Assessment, May 8-9, 2003. CSAT Publication No. 28-03. Rockville, MD: Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, Substance Abuse, and Mental Health Services Administration, 2004. Available online at:

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Office of Applied Studies: Mortality data from the Drug Abuse Warning Network, 2000. DAWN Series D-19, DHHS Publication No. (SMA) 02-3633. Rockville, MD: 2002.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration: Methadone deaths not linked to misuse of methadone from treatment centers. News Release, Feb. 6, 2004. Available online at:

Mikolaenko I, Robinson CA Jr, Davis GG: A review of methadone deaths in Jefferson County, Alabama. Am J Forensic Med Pathol. 2002; 23(3): 299-304.

Pirnay S, Borron SW, Giudicelli CP, et al.: A critical review of the causes of death among post-mortem toxicological investigations: Analysis of 34 buprenorphine-associated and 35 methadoneassociated deaths. Addiction. 2004; 99(8): 978-988.

Cairns A, Roberts ISD, Benbow EW: Characteristics of fatal methadone overdose in Manchester, 1985-94. BMJ. 1996; 313: 264-265.

Vormfelde SV, Poser W: Death attributed to methadone. Pharmacopsychiatry. 2001; 34: 217-222.

Auriacombe M, Franques P, Tignol J: Deaths attributable to methadone vs. buprenorphine in France [Letter]. JAMA. 2001; 285(1): 45.

Williamson PA, Foreman KJ, White JM, et al.: Methadonerelated overdose deaths in South Australia, 1984-1994. How safe is methadone prescribing? Med J Aust. 1997; 166(6): 302-305.

The use of opioids for the treatment of chronic pain: A consensus statement from American Academy of Pain Medicine and American Pain Society. Approved by the AAPM Board of Directors on June 29, 1996. Approved by the APS Executive Committee on August 20, 1996. Accessed from July 19, 2005. Under review.

Fohr SA: The double effect of pain medication: Separating myth from reality. J Palliat Med. 1998; 1(4): 315-328.

White JM, Irvine RJ: Mechanisms of fatal opioid overdose. Addiction. 1999; 94(7): 961-972.

Santiago TV, Pugliese AC, Edelman NH: Control of breathing during methadone addiction. Am J Med. 1977; 62(3): 347-354.

Karch SB, Stephens BG: Toxicology and pathology of deaths related to methadone: Retrospective review. West J Med. 2000; 172: 11-14.

Wolf BC, Lavezzi WA, Sullivan LM, et al.: Methadone-related deaths in Palm Beach County. J Forensic Sci. 2004; 49(2): 375-378.




How to Cite

Webster, MD, L. R. “Methadone-Related Deaths”. Journal of Opioid Management, vol. 1, no. 4, Sept. 2005, pp. 211-7, doi:10.5055/jom.2005.0045.



Review Articles