Pubdate: Fri, 20 Feb 2004
Source: Daily Mountain Eagle (Jasper, AL)
Copyright: 2004 Daily Mountain Eagle
Author: Ron Harris, The Daily Mountain Eagle
Bookmark: (Methadone)


A growing problem facing law enforcement officials in the county is also a 
deadly one.

An anonymous letter to the Eagle led to questions regarding a practice 
currently under way whereby drug users are mixing Methadone and Xanax.

At least three deaths have been reported because of overdoses caused by 
mixing the two prescription narcotics. That practice has local narcotics 
agents issuing warnings about the dangers of mixing drugs.

Jasper Police Chief Bobby Cain said his department has seen in recent weeks 
two accidental overdoses caused by mixing drugs.

Both were fatal.

"I can tell you that Xanax and methadone is very, very dangerous," Cain 
said. "Mixing Xanax and anything is dangerous. Anytime you mix two drugs 
like that together, you're asking for trouble."

"My children have told me that mixing these two drugs is the 'new thing,'" 
the anonymous letter said. "I just don't want to hear about any more 
children dying from this mixture."

Neither do local law enforcement officials, who say they are trying to get 
the word out about the dangers of mixing any drugs.

"Most of these deaths are accidental," Cain said. "These people just don't 
know what they're fooling with. When you mix two drugs like this, you're 
playing with a loaded gun."

Dr. Charles Shipman, an emergency room physician at Baptist Medical 
Center-Walker in Jasper, said most people don't understand the consequences 
of mixing drugs.

"When teen-agers (or young people) who have no knowledge of these 
medications begin mixing them, they can become very, very dangerous," 
Shipman said. "When they start mixing drugs, they find themselves in a 
desperate situation where they are no longer breathing.

"Most people at risk are young people who have never used drugs before, who 
are 'experimental users' and are not aware of the dangers," Shipman added. 
"Those people are in a very, very dangerous category."
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