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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Drug Overdoses On The Rise

Drug Overdoses On The Rise

People are losing their lives to drugs and it does not appear to be plateauing or decreasing according to a new study. It doesn't matter if people are consuming legal prescription medications or illegal drugs like heroin and cocaine, the rate of accidental overdoses in America is staggering in just about all age groups. It is well known that Baby Boomers are a product of the 1960's, a generation who put the warnings aside and did illegal drugs anyway, which is why we are seeing people in their 50's and sixties succumbing to drugs. The amount of accidental overdoses is today ten times what it was in the `60's, which makes sense if you think about it because there are more drugs on the streets than ever. Prescription drugs are finding their way out of the medicine cabinet and into the hands of high school and college students which accounts for the cause of a number of overdoses. "I went in expecting to see a blip (in increased accidental poisonings) with the baby boomer(s)," Dr. Richard Miech, the studies lead author and head of Health and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Colorado Denver, told Reuters Health. After all, he said, "you've seen pictures of Woodstock."

Miech, with the help of other researchers, analyzed data from the U.S. Census, as well a register tracking the number of deaths from different causes every year. Combing the two sources doctors were able to figure out the percentage of people dying from accidental poisonings annually in every age group. Take a look at the data:
  • White men and women were more than nine times as likely to die from an accidental poisoning in 2005 through 2007 than they were in 1968 and 1969
  • Black men and women were about three times more likely to die from the same cause in recent years than they were 40 years ago
  • The greatest proportion of overdoses happen in people in their 40's and 50's
Comparing figures to statistics from 1968:
  • One in every 100,000 white women in their early 50's died from accidental poisoning, in 2007, 15 out of 100,000 did so
  • Black women of the same age overdoses increased from about two people in 100,000 to almost 17 in 100,000
  • Both white and black men had even larger jumps
The extremely high number of overdoses that are happening today can be attributed to the huge increase of prescription drugs being produced. More doctors prescribe strong pain narcotics to people than ever before with little, if any, criteria; people can say whatever they want to a number of doctors and get whichever drug they like, from Oxycontin to Xanax. Until, we can better manage the criteria for prescribing narcotics we will continue to see a rise in accidental overdoses.


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