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Organizational Focus

Zero Unintentional Deaths - An effort to bring understanding to the use of methadone to treat pain

The Zero Unintentional Deaths campaign is designed "to educate physicians, chronic pain sufferers and all communities about the increasingly serious issue of unintentional overdose deaths relating to methadone and other prescription medications." The purpose of the campaign is "to eliminate unintentional overdose deaths without compromising access to treatment of pain."

Join Dr. Webster and his staff and colleagues in this important effort. Use the links to access their website and obtain their helpful information.


Six Steps to Zero
By Dr. Lynn R. Webster (used with permission from the author)

1. Never take a prescription painkiller unless it is prescribed to you.
Everyone responds differently to pain medications. What is safe for one person may not be safe for another.

2. Do not take pain medicine with alcohol.
Never mix the two; it is a dangerous combi¬nation that can be deadly. Alcohol increases the toxicity of pain medication.

3. Do not take more doses than prescribed.
Even after the effects of pain medicine seem to have worn off, it is still depressing the respiratory system. Some medications like methadone may relieve pain for a few hours but will have a prolonged respiratory depressant effect. The body must develop a tolerance to the respiratory depressant effects before the dose can be increased.

4. Use of other sedative or anti-anxiety medications can be dangerous.
Combining pain medicines with other sedative drugs, such as valium, can increase the toxicity of the pain medication. Only take other medi¬cations, if directed by the prescribing doctor.

5. Avoid using narcotic medications to facilitate sleep.
Narcotic medications can suppress respiration during sleep. Speak to your physician about safe methods to manage pain during sleep.

6. Lock up prescription painkillers.
If consumed by children or other family members, or stolen and sold on the street, prescription pain medicine can kill.