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Drug Overdose Deaths Up 11th Year in a Row

By February 21, 2013

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For the 11th year in a row, the number of fatal drug overdoses have increased in the United States. In 2010, 38,329 people died as a result of a drug overdose and 22,000 of those were overdoses involving prescription drugs, according to the latest available statistics.

Of those 22,000 prescription drug-related deaths, three-fourths were caused by pain medication.

The National Center for Health Statistics reports that 74% of the 38,329 drug-related deaths in 2010 were accidental overdoses. Only 17% were attributed to suicide.

Unintentional Deaths

During the past 11 years, overdoses involving prescription drugs have elapsed those from illegal drugs like heroin or methamphetamine as a national epidemic of prescription drug addiction has exploded.

Opioids, painkillers such as OxyContin and Vicodin, are involved in many unintentional overdose deaths when they are combined with other prescription drugs.

Deadly Combinations

The new study shows that opioids were found:

  • In 77% of overdoses involving benzodiazepines.
  • In 65% of overdoses involving antiepileptic or anti-Parkinsonian drugs.
  • In 56% of overdoses involving anti-inflammatory or fever-reducing drugs.
  • In 47% of overdoses involving antidepressants.

Benzodiazepines are tranquilizers or sleeping pills, such as diazepam (Valium), chlordiazepoxide (Librium), alprazolam (Xanax), lorazepam (Ativan), and clorazepate (Tranxene).

Source: Jones, CM, et al, "Pharmaceutical Overdose Deaths, United States, 2010." The Journal of the American Medical Association. 20 February 2013.

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February 21, 2013 at 7:32 am
(1) alan says:

so what ?
that is their choice as adults

February 25, 2013 at 8:50 am
(2) Frank DiSalle says:

@ Alan “so what?”
YOU are what’s wrong with the world today…

February 25, 2013 at 11:37 am
(3) Emma says:

The sad part is, when people abuse prescription drugs, they often loose the ability to make wise decisions and the drugs control their choices. Like the statistics state, these deaths are unintentional. Its a bad combo. I know people who are addicted and can’t see that they are risking killing themselves with their actions. I also know they don’t intend to bring harm to themselves, but they are continually in a drug induced brain fog, thus making poor choices with their lives.

February 28, 2013 at 3:20 pm
(4) deb says:

I am so lucky never to have overdosed i combined so many of these pills in heavy amounts over the years and topped it off with alcohol most nights. I have been sober now since July 2009. With a great sponsor the 12 steps and mostly importantly God. Life is still not easy because of all the consequences i made for myself. But I have peace and I am happy now and thats what i was always trying to be.

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