Prescription drugs a danger

Kids Count

Every fourteen minutes, someone in America dies of a drug overdose. Sharp increases in fatalities have been noted over the last two decades and most of the dramatic increases are being driven by prescription drug overdoses.

In total, the annual deaths from drug overdoses exceed a major airline crash every week killing everyone on board. Planes would be grounded immediately until the problem was identified and remedied. The issue of prescription drug abuse in America will be much more difficult to remediate.

A recent study of the Center for Disease Control data revealed that for the first time in America, more Americans died from drug overdoses than from automobile accidents. With the notable exception of drug overdose, most preventable death in America has been declining for the last three decades.

Prescription drug overdoses have increased exponentially, in fact, they have doubled in the last decade. In 2009, 33,808 Americans perished in automobile accidents and for the first time since records have been compiled, drug overdoses accounted for 37,485 deaths in America. Prescription drug overdoses now account for more drug deaths than heroin or cocaine combined.

The CDC identified that Vicodin and Xanax killed more Americans in 2009 than Heroin and Cocaine combined. Deaths from prescription painkillers, Vicodin and Oxycontin increased by 256-percent between 2000 and 2008. Deaths from Valium and Xanax increased by 284-percent between 2000 and 2008. Deaths from Cocaine and Heroin rose by 68-percent and 56-percent respectively during the same time period. Fentanyl a drug more potent than Morphine can be used as a skin patch or as a loll-pop, usage routes that belie the drugs lethality when abused.

The most commonly abused drugs in America are Oxycontin, Vicodin, Xanax and Soma with Vicodin also known as Hydrocodone. Hydrocodone is a powerful drug with an enormous abuse potential. Not surprisingly, Hydrocodone is the most commonly prescribed drug and is also the most frequently abused drug in America.

Reach the writer at Hurlburt@wildblue.net

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