Methadone and the Importance of SafetySeptember 14, 2011
Methadone is so very beneficial when used properly and judiciously (as prescribed). However, in the wrong hands, methadone can lead to tragic consequences. Here is a cautionary tale.
Making the news in Gaston County, North Carolina was the recent death of a young man who was a member of his school's football team. His name was Harry Cohen, and he was 17 years old.
Harry had played in an extraordinary football game on August 26, just days before his death. He is reported to have rushed for 241 yards and passed for 107 yards. A very impressive performance. He is also reported to have taken some hard hits in the game. His family indicated that he was sore from the highly physical contact.
While visiting with his grandmother later (who had a legitimate methadone prescription for pain management), Harry decided to take some of the medication to ease his physical pain. His mother found him the next morning in bed. He had died from a methadone overdose as a result of not having developed a tolerance to the medication.
This story reinforces how important it is that methadone (and all potentially high risk medications) be carefully safeguarded. The Gaston County article had a number of comments and opinions posted by local community members expressing their sorrow over Harry's death. Fortunately, no one blamed "methadone". Most commenters emphasized the importance of treating prescription meds with caution. This is exactly the right sentiment, and a message that bears repeating over and over.
Often, children & teens assume that a medication must be "safe" if it is prescribed by a doctor and sitting out in plain view. Of course, this is not the case in many instances. It is imperative that adults think twice about securing medications, and also educate themselves on the associated safety concerns that come with various medications.
It saddens all people when something tragic like this hits a family and a community. Hopefully, we can draw from this loss an important lesson ... that will help to prevent future losses.