Friday, January 25, 2013

Painkillers vs. Cars

Poisoning is now the nation's leading cause of accidental death, overtaking car crashes. Ninety percent of those deaths are caused by drugs, and by far the most dangerous drugs are prescription opiates. Bloomberg:
In 1980, about 2.7 people died per 100,000 from drug poisoning, both from prescription and illicit substances, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As of 2008, about 12 people died per 100,000. Roughly half of drug overdose deaths result from prescription painkillers. And for every person who dies from prescription painkillers, there are about 32 more emergency department visits. The soaring increase in sales of prescription painkillers explains most of the deaths. In 1999, a total of 2 kilograms of such drugs were sold for every 10,000 people; as of 2010, about 7 kilograms were. According to the CDC, opioid analgesics such as methadone, hydrocodone and oxycodone are the most common cause of drug poisoning.

To put the magnitude of the issue in perspective, the death wave from drug abuse is now as big, in terms of annual deaths, as the one caused by HIV-AIDS in the late 1980s.
While we fight cartels in Mexico and argue about marijuana, an epidemic of really dangerous drugs is raging under our noses.

1 comment:

carole said...

yes they are