Drug-related injury news: Prescription drug overdoses reach new high

Legal news for drug-related injury attorneys. A new study spotlights the shocking increases of prescription drug overdoses.

Drug-related injury attorneys alert- A study in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine revealed drug overdoses of opioids and prescription pain killers are rising.

West Palm Beach, FL—New research reveals a dramatic increase of hospitalization caused by the accidental and intentional abuse of prescription painkillers, tranquilizers and sedatives over the last 10 years. The shocking study was reported in the May edition of the American Journal of Preventative Medicine, highlighting the alarming rate of hospitalizations and overall usage of the drugs across the country, as reported by USA Today.

The study’s lead author, Dr. Jeffery H. Coben, the director of the Injury Control Research Center at the West Virginia University School of Medicine, asserts the epidemic is not just prevalent among celebrities who made headlines like Michael Jackson, Heath Ledger and Anna Nicole Smith, but is also a problem that is plaguing the entire nation. According to the study, hospital stays due to unintentional opioid overdoses—like Valium and Ativan—has risen 37 percent between 1999 and 2006, while intentional overdoses reached a shocking 103 percent increase during that time period.

In fact, the study reported that poisonings— which includes overdoses—takes the number two spot for leading causes of deaths resulting from unintentional injury within the United States. During the seven-year study period, researchers found that prescription opioid, sedative and tranquilizer hospitalizations increased 65 percent. Unintentional overdose hospitalizations from these drugs grew by 37 percent, when compared to the 21 percent increase of hospitalizations due to unintentional poisoning from other drugs like heroin and over-the-counter medications. A 130 percent increase of suicide-related overdoes of the drugs was reported when compared with a 53 percent increase of intentional overdoses of all over substances.

Michael Von Korff, an investigator with the Group Health Research Institute, says “Our own work suggests that 3 to 4 percent of American adults—not just people with chronic pain—are now using opioids,” which is consistent with the study’s findings. Von Korff continued, “This is the treatment that 8 to 10 million Americans are using now, which means that many more people have these drugs in their medicine cabinets now and are using them.”

Legal News Reporter: Nicole Howley-Legal news for drug-related injury lawyers.