Research based on national statistics shows that the leading source of “injury death” in the United States is your local pharmacy. In our rush to swallow all kinds of prescription painkillers, drug poisoning has increased by 300 percent since 1980.
A study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine demonstates that about 90 percent of poisoning deaths can be attributed to illicit or licit drugs. Prescription drugs represent the majority of drug overdose deaths.
These drug-related deaths now kill more people than car crashes.
Reports from the National Survey of Drug Use and Health show that more than 2 percent of Americans, about 5 million of us, use prescription painkillers for recreational purposes.
Studies show that the number of people hospitalized for poisoning by sedatives, tranquilizers and opioids jumped by two-thirds from 1999 to 2006.
“Deaths and hospitalizations associated with prescription drug misuse have reached epidemic proportions,” said researcher Jeffrey H. Coben, M.D., of the West Virginia University School of Medicine. “It is essential that health care providers, pharmacists, insurance providers, state and federal agencies, and the general public all work together to address this crisis. Prescription medications are just as powerful and dangerous as other notorious street drugs, and we need to ensure people are aware of these dangers and that treatment services are available for those with substance abuse problems.”