Poison Center data from RADARS® System can play vital role in predicting methadone-related deaths

Jul 25, 2012, 16:46 ET from RADARS System

DENVER, July 25, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- A new report, published today in PLoS One shows that RADARS(R) System Poison Center data can be used to predict methadone overdose trends in the U.S.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently found that methadone is linked to 30 percent of prescription painkiller overdose deaths, mostly resulting from the use of methadone in pain management. However, national overdose mortality data takes more than three years to become available, leaving local and state health authorities without a clear picture of the overdose burden in real-time.

The recent analysis, conducted in conjunction with researchers in the Department of Epidemiology at the University of North Carolina, suggests that in the middle of the prescription opioid overdose epidemic, Poison Centers can provide timely surveillance of mortality due to methadone.

"We can no longer stay blind to the prescription analgesic overdose problem in our country," says lead author, Nabarun Dasgupta. "Every overdose death is preventable."

"We have the data to understand and craft interventions to prevent overdose deaths. Poison Centers play key roles first in preventing unnecessary hospitalizations, and second by providing feedback to legislators and regulators on how well policies are working," continues Nabarun, who says that research has implications for government agencies.   

Key Components:

  • RADARS System data are well-suited for analyses to improve interventions, policy related to methadone exposures, and assist the fulfillment of regulatory obligations such as REMS.
  • RADARS System data provides timely and geographically specific data, reported just three months after the exposure occurred, compared to national data which can take years to become publically available.

The RADARS System is a non-profit public health prescription drug abuse, misuse, and diversion surveillance system that collects timely product and geographically specific data. The RADARS System has grown since its inception in 2002. It is made up of six primary programs each designed to provide different but complimentary perspectives on prescription drug abuse in the United States.

Contact: Kalena Wilkinson