Methadone dose will be 10 times more concentrated, raising fears of future overdose deaths

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      A Vancouver activist and freelance journalist says it's imperative that people on methadone learn of a big change to coming to the way this opioid is prescribed.

      Speaking on Co-op Radio's Media Mornings program today (December 12), Garth Mullins revealed that effective February 1, the new Methadose will be far more concentrated than the traditional 1-milligram per millilitre oral dose.

      The Methadose, which is manufactured by Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals, will be delivered in 10-milligram per millilitre doses. 

      He quoted Laura Shaver, president of the B.C. Association of People on Methadone, who worries that some people will die because there haven't been sufficient efforts taken to notify people on the program.

      On the radio, Mullins also pointed out that methadone overdoses can occur between two to seven hours after the drug is taken.

      By then, he declared, the person might be home alone with nobody available to help, raising the risk of death.

      In addition, Mullins has posted an article about the methadone change on his blog. He noted that there will be no problem if people measure their doses accurately.

      However, he stated difficulties can arise if pharmacists make measuring errors or if people who rely on methadone get their dose wrong.

      The world's first methadone-maintenance treatment program was pioneered in Vancouver in 1959, according to a UVic Centre for Addictions Research B.C. paper published in May 2010.

      It's given as a substitute for other opioid addictions, notably heroin, which is illegal.

      Between 1996 and 2006, the number of methadone users in the provincial program grew from 2,827 to 9,601, according to the Centre for Addictions Research B.C. report.

      Mullins noted in his article that the number had reached 13,894 by 2012, according to B.C. PharmaCare statistics.

      This past autumn, representatives from the College of Physicians and Surgeons of B.C. and the College of Pharmacists of B.C. offered free live training sessions in communities across the province to inform people in these professions about the pending changes to the program.

      The change is being made to bring B.C. in line with dispensing practices across the country.



      cranky mom

      Dec 12, 2013 at 10:13am

      Guess they want to speed up the ethnic cleansing of the DTES residents. They know exactly what is going to happen.


      Dec 12, 2013 at 11:31am

      Cranky Mom, if the government wanted to do that, they would simply have Customs not check containers at the port for a month. So much pure China White on the streets at rock bottom prices would clear out the whole shebang.

      I assume this is being done to lower the cost of manufacture, transport and/or distribution. It's still free to the user, right? Not free to the rest of us.

      Retired pharmacist

      Dec 12, 2013 at 12:31pm

      I remember when methadone had to be made up by pharmacist, such as myself. Good to see that there is a commercial methadone product out there; that helped prevent some dispensing errors, I'm sure. I always wondered about the people who were on methadone long-term (ie. not on the step-down program) and how long they were going to be on it (with our provincial government footing the bill of course)....


      Dec 12, 2013 at 2:20pm

      Sweet! Cuz people on methadone are all about taking in information about their "medicine" and are diligent when it comes to measurements.

      10X the dose this today, no dose tomorrow.


      Dec 13, 2013 at 1:50pm

      Meanwhile the poverty industry managers are paid six-figure salaries, have questionable connections to politicians and bureaucrats from BC Housing, and don't have any standards by which to measure their effectiveness in actually helping people. The management of PHS & Atria are just two sets of people being paid salaries at or close to the 1% whilst ostensibly "helping" people in the DES. They are more concerned with maintaining the status quo than with actually helping people off the streets. Take a look at the public financial reports of those 2 groups and note just how little they spend on maintaining their properties and how much goes to over-paying managers.

      The poverty industry enriches people who's personal propaganda maintains they are "socialist." The nepotism creates families that are paid over $300,000 per year yet still pretend they are concerned with the disadvantaged & mentally ill. The people doing the actual work in the DES are not the overpaid managers but mostly volunteers unwilling to profit from exploiting the exploited. Cull the managers and put that money into not only maintaining the ghetto but into helping people out of it.

      Barbara Atkins

      Dec 13, 2013 at 1:52pm

      Can we get access to some posters to help spread the word to people on MMT?


      Jan 5, 2014 at 6:56am

      I was informed of this months ago but my significant other is also on the program and hasn't heard word one.It's being treated like a big secret.I am a pain patient and have tried everything to be placed on dia morphine as I have been an addict for more than four decades and was happy on opiate meds.The monopoly that is the college of P&S interceded and had me cut off all opiate meds because they are addictive???Like methadone isn't?It's ideological insanity and makes me very angry,frustrated and bitter.I fought for five years only to be deceived by two BC physicians.I was going to be put on the 10X in November but found out that Pharmacare didn't cover it.Now they will cover only it?The politics of this are beyond any mere mortal to decipher.Now I am told I can stay on the 2-1 I am currently on when I asked for the 10x when I first was told about it in the summer.I know that the very last thing the BC methadone board worries about is the desires of it's patients.They know most will be on for life.Why,then,are they so opposed to heroin maintenance and why do they oppose cannabis?Many have used cannabis to quit methadone yet the college is staunchly opposed to cannabis and every methadone clinic has signs explaining their non cannabis policy.Opposing opiate medications for a long time heroin addict who had a prescription and a recommendation for Dilaudid was both cruel and medically unwarranted.Even the Fentanyl I was prescribed is a terrible choice for an addict.It's like my happiness was their paramount target that they would demolish at any cost.The lengths that were gone to to destroy my satisfaction and peace of mind were absolutely unparalleled.There are some very sick minds behind BC's methadone board.That they will kill an addict with this change is almost assured.It would be very interesting to discover what was behind the switch to the megadose brand of methadone.Follow the money.This is a very small,tightly monitored and heavily sanctioned group of ideologues.They have an agenda and a monopoly that they guard closely.Read the literature.It is filled with inaccuracies,outright lies and illusions.

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