Painkiller Overdose Deaths Top Cocaine And Heroin
November 2, 2011 by staff
Painkiller Overdose Deaths Top Cocaine And Heroin, The number of deaths by overdose of painkillers stronger than tripled in a decade, the government reported Tuesday – a trend the country’s health officer up a dengue epidemic, but can be stopped.
Prescription painkillers like OxyContin, Vicodin and methadone killed nearly 15,000 people in 2008, including actor Heath Ledger. That’s more than triple the 4,000 deaths in 1999.
Painkillers such as “are intended to help people who have severe pain,” said Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, which issued the report. “They are, however, highly addictive.”
The report shows that nearly 5 percent of Americans over 12 years, said he had abused painkillers in the last year – their use without a prescription or simply by the height. In surveys of 2008-09, Oklahoma reported the highest rate of abuse, the lowest was in Nebraska and Iowa
The overdose deaths reflect the increase in the number of prescription narcoticanlgesics every year – enough to give every American a one-month supply, Frieden said.
The recipes are up as doctors better treat for pain and new pain hit the market.
Frieden and White House drug czar Gil Kerlikowske, who joined him at CDC headquarters in Atlanta, said that States should take strong measures to reverse the long-term trend.
States monitor prescribing practices and firm establishment can control and suppress “pill mills” and “doctor shopping” by patients, Frieden said. Physicians should limit prescriptions – giving only a three-day supply for acute pain, for example – and to seek alternative treatments, he said.
“For chronic pain, drugs should be a last resort,” he said.
A Federal drug plan announced earlier this year calls for state programs to follow recipes. All but two states – Missouri and New Hampshire have passed, Kerlikowske said. However, a number of states is not yet in place or physicians are not using them enough to see the recipes of his patients the past, he said.
“U.S. prescription drug abuse epidemic is not a problem that will be solved overnight, but at the same time, we will not,” Kerlikowske said.
He urged parents to get rid of unnecessary pain or expired for not being misused.
In total, there were 36,450 deaths from overdose in 2008, including suicides and accidental cases related to illegal drugs like heroin and cocaine, along with prescription drugs. About three quarters of the deaths involved prescription narcoticanlgesics.
Ledger died that same year by an accidental overdose of painkillers and sedatives.
Other findings of the CDC report:
-New Mexico had the highest mortality rate of overdose (27 per 100,000) and Nebraska, the lowest (5.5). The national rate was 11.9.
- Fatal overdoses were more common in men, middle-aged adults and whites and American Indians.
- Sales of Analgesics are the highest in the southeast and northwest.
Frieden said the large differences in overdose mortality rates among states. For example, the West Virginia rate is 26 per 100,000, while the residents of Virginia rate is only 9.
“This underscores the importance of states to adopt the right policies to prevent drug abuse,” he said.
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