U.S., 27 December 2010 — New Research from the University of Colorado reveals increasingly more people dying from abusing or misusing both prescription and illegal drugs. Death by accidental poisoning in some groups is as much as 10 times higher than they were in the late 60s.
Drug abuse seems to be higher in all age groups, especially amongst white American and the trend doesn’t seem to be stopping.
Dr. Richard Miech, the study’s lead author and head of Health and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Colorado Denver and his colleagues dug deep into data and merged the U.S. Census figures with a register that keeps count of the number of deaths from different causes every year.
Published in the journal Addiction, the analysis suggests that white Americans increased their probability of dying from accidental poisoning by more than nine times in 2005 through 2007 than they were in 1968 and 1969. As for black Americans, the probability was only three times higher. The largest proportion of deaths by overdoses was from the group in their 40s and 50s.
Painkillers are behind the greatest majority of deaths from prescription drug abuse. The research could not pinpoint which painkillers were involved.
Prescription drugs are so popular that the results are no surprise. A government report in 2004 estimates almost 50% of all Americans take a prescription drug.
The problem is very difficult to deal with. For instance, it’s hard to tell someone with chronic pain, for example, that the risk of dying is not worth the benefit of the drug.
High profile deaths such as Heath Ledger and Michael Jackson have not made the public more aware of the dangers behind prescription drug abuse.
You can just as easily die from an overdose of prescription drugs as illegal drugs. People are not aware of this fact. Death from painkiller abuse has been epidemic in the last ten years. Is awareness enough to curb the trend?