�This is great news,� said Dr. Lynn Webster, founder of a nonprofit foundation devoted to eliminating drug overdose deaths. Webster has traveled the country during the past year spreading the message about the potential dangers of methadone.
�It is absolutely critical that this information get out,� he said. �Methadone is a powerful, effective, and lifesaving drug, but it is potentially deadly if it is misused.�
�I know they were aware of it and wanted to do something more quickly,� Dr. Raymond Woolsey said Monday. �They are grossly underfunded ... The FDA doesn�t have the resources to do its work.�
Dr. Bruce Goldberger, director of toxicology at the University of Florida Department of Medicine, was one of the first medical examiners to talk about the growing number of methadone overdose deaths, starting in 2002. In 2003, the FDA and other federal agencies participated in a national conference on methadone overdose deaths.
�It�s about time that the FDA did something about this,� Goldberger said.
He hopes the number of methadone overdose deaths will decline, or at least stabilize, as doctors and patients get the new information. When the FDA issued its similar health advisory about fentanyl, the number of deaths linked to that drug stabilized, he said.
�I�m pleased to see that the FDA has finally issued an advisory on the use of methadone for the pain management population. However, they knew about the problem in 2002, and here it�s 2006. It�s too late for many victims.�
To contact staff writers Scott Finn or Tara Tuckwiller, use e-mail or call 357-4323 or 348-5189.