DULUTH (AP) - Nearly 400 people have died from overdoses involving methadone in Minnesota over the past 11 years.

Methadone has been used since the 1960s to treat opiate addiction.  Proponents say it's better to have addicts functioning on methadone than breaking laws to get other narcotics such as heroin and Oxycontin.

But the tradeoff comes at a steep cost.

Since 2001 in Minnesota, 392 people have died of methadone-involved overdoses.

Analysis of state government data suggest that methadone's track record doesn't compare favorably with other drug treatment programs. It says only five percent of patients successfully complete methadone treatment in Minnesota.

State officials defend the use of methadone. They say addiction to opiates is distinct from other kinds of chemical dependency.

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