charts killing patients "...Nationally,
an estimated 15,000 people die each year from overdoses of
opioid pain medicine. That includes such familiar painkillers
as Oxycontin, oxycodone, Percocet, morphine, and methadone.
"A lot of the deaths have been attributed to using
these conversion tables and starting patients on too high
of a dose," Webster said.
"Methadone is the riskiest," he said, but all
the opioids can be deadly if the prescribing physician gets
the dosage wrong.
He emphasizes that it's not just drug addicts and long-
term patients who are at risk.
"It could be somebody who's been on pain medication
after a hip operation or a knee operation for several weeks
and it's not working any more," Webster said. When
a physician uses the conversion tables to estimate the proper
dose, "It could be very far off from what's safe..."