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Monday, September 19, 2011

Prescription Drugs Kill More Than Auto Accidents


An analysis conducted by the LA Times has concluded with startling facts related to causes of death. It's is the first time in current history, since the government started tracking drug related deaths in 1979, that more people died from drug related deaths than traffic accidents. The rise in overdoses caused by prescription narcotics is testament to the fact that more people than ever are being prescribed prescription drugs. With little oversight in how patients take their prescriptions, it is not all that surprising that prescription drugs have become one of the top causes of accidental deaths. According to the article, the number of annual drug related deaths have doubled, with an estimated 37,485 Americans who died from drug-related causes in 2009.

We could combine the number of deaths caused by heroin and cocaine and it would still be less than number of deaths related to prescription drugs. It seems strange, with so much money being invested in stopping the flow of illegal drugs in America, that prescription drugs would be the biggest killer. It shows how much more needs to be done to curb the rising prescription drug abuse trends. Most prescription drug overdoses are tied to the use of pain killers and anti-anxiety medication like Xanax and Valium. Annual auto accident related deaths have decreased by more than one-third since the early 1970s, to 36,284 in 2009; the decrease has been attributed to advancements in auto safety.

“Younger people believe they are safer because they see their parents taking them. It doesn’t have the same stigma as using street narcotics,” said Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Sergeant Steve Opferman, the heads a county task force on prescription drug-related crimes. Between 2000 and 2008, drug related deaths:
  • More than doubled among teenagers and young adults.
  • More than tripled among people ages 50 to 69.
  • The number of drug-related deaths was greatest among people in their 40s

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