Prescription Drug Overdoses Kill More People Than Heroin and Cocaine Combined

Picture: Courtney Rhodes PumpkinCat210 (CC)

Looks like the most dangerous drug pusher in your city is the one that wears a white coat:

Via the LA Times:

Prescription drug overdoses now claim more lives than heroin and cocaine combined, fueling a doubling of drug-related deaths in the United States over the last decade.

Health and law enforcement officials seeking to curb the epidemic have focused on how OxyContin, Vicodin, Xanax and other potent pain and anxiety medications are obtained illegally, such as through pharmacy robberies or when teenagers raid their parents’ medicine cabinets. Authorities have failed to recognize how often people overdose on medications prescribed for them by their doctors.

A Los Angeles Times investigation has found that in nearly half of the accidental deaths from prescription drugs in four Southern California counties, the deceased had a doctor’s prescription for at least one drug that caused or contributed to the death.

Read more.

Hat tip: BoingBoing.

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  • asshurtmacfags

    As a firefighter/emt, by far most of the overdoses I have come across are polydrug cases consisting of mainly a pharmaceutical opiate combined with a benzodiazpine sometimes with a little alcohol thrown in. In my opinion, the problem here is lack of education in how dangerous these combinations are. There is an illusion of safety that most people have when dealing with pharmaceuticals and alcohol, all to often I come across the sentiment of legal=safe. Obviously this is not the case. Most of these combo’s are addicts trying to potentiate the high to conserve drugs, at least that’s been my experience. With education you could teach people how to potentiate the high while being as safe as possible(an example is using a cyp3a inhibitor to potentiate hydrocodone). This won’t happen for quite some time though, most healthcare professionals would view sharing this info as unethical, makes me sad. As a society we need to get over the fact that people like “hard” drugs(myself included, I love me an occasional dose of opiates) and that the best way to deal with the problems is to develop a legal market with a proper education on harm-reduction to go with it. Edit: Let me add that we should start making naloxone readily available, this would drastically cut down on loss of life with opiate overdoses with very little associated costs.

    • InfvoCuernos

      I think also widespread distribution of Suboxone would be a good thing. It would be nice also if Big Pharma wasn’t evil and soul-less.

  • sean

    OD’s are going to be a lot less in Washington state and Colorado! Anyone hazard a guess as to why? The scum at Pfizer and NIMH are going to keep very tight lipped about the loss of revenue over there.

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