Methadone: Not Just for Junkies Anymore 

As the drug moves beyond methadone clinics and into everyday use as a painkiller, overdoses related to its slow-onset effect are growing increasingly common. The very traits that help heroin addicts can kill other drug users.

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Methadone, she remembers thinking. Now that's something Simon hasn't done before. She said she imagined he wandered into a couple bars on A Street and chatted a few people up until he found a connection. "He had a very clever way of working drugs into a conversation," she explained. "He wouldn't just ask for them." She guesses that he popped one tablet right away, then waited a while to see if she'd call back before taking more. She can picture him impatiently awaiting the drug's effects, which he had probably expected would give him a great whoosh like OxyContin and heroin did.

"Simon would go buy four Oxys, and then he'd sit there, all serious, and debate with himself forever about how he should ration them out," she said. On that night, it seems, he swallowed however many he'd scored. Then he probably kicked back on the couch and watched the beautiful Olympic athletes in Athens dance across the TV screen.

On March 23, 2005, five months after what would have been Simon's thirtieth birthday, the results of his toxicology exam were released at last, confirming what Frances alone had been sure of for months: It was the methadone.

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