Methadone, hailed as a lifesaver for many heroin addicts, is also credited with an unsavory title: killer. “Methadone is a dangerous drug. Also, it does save lives,” said Dr. Mina “Mike” Kalfas, a Northern Kentucky addiction specialist tells the Cincinnati Enquirer. The synthetic opiate is taking a toll on Northern Kentucky, which is already battling a heroin crisis unmatched by neighboring communities.
After five years of stable methadone-involved death numbers, Northern Kentucky's toll again is surging, with 28 people dying in 2012. The new rise is puzzling to some substance-abuse experts and physicians, but others say the answer is obvious: The heroin epidemic that has so fiercely gripped the area is leading to side-effect deaths such as methadone overdose. Said Kalfas, “Methadone is cheap. People will try to detox themselves. They'll try to treat themselves with methadone.”