Overdoses on the rise: The May issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine released a report yesterday that is gaining momentum and capturing the attention of national media outlets such as Reuters Health and US News & World Report among others due to its alarming conclusions. One of the most startling findings was that, “Unintentional poisoning is now the second leading cause of unintentional injury death in the US….. Among people 35 to 54 years old, unintentional poisoning surpassed motor vehicle crashes as the leading cause of unintentional injury death in 2005.”
The availability of prescription painkillers and the attitude or perception that they are not dangerous because prescribed by a medical professional has contributed largely to the increase in usage. In fact, the Group Health Research Institute suggests that 3 – 4 percent of all American adults are currently taking opiods and/or have them in their medicine cabinet.
Additional statistics from the American Journal of Preventive Medicine include:
- U.S. hospital admissions due to poisoning (or overdosing) by prescription opioids rose 65% between 1996 and 2006.
- Accidental – or unintentional — poisoning by opioids, sedatives and tranquilizers rose by 37 percent.
- The largest percent increase in hospitalizations was a quintupling for methadone
- Poisoning by benzodiazepines such as Xanax and Ativan — drugs that possess sedative, hypnotic, anti-anxiety, anticonvulsant and muscle relaxant activities — rose 39 percent.
Dr. Jeffrey H. Coben, director of The Injury Control Research Center at the West Virginia University School of Medicine and a professor of emergency and community medicine echoed what the Waismann Method has been advocating for more than a decade, “This is a problem that is dramatically on the rise throughout the country, and it’s very important that people understand that prescription drugs are very powerful, potentially life-threatening and need to be used as prescribed and with caution.”