In only five years, the number of deaths from unintentional drug overdoses doubled in the United States, according to US government statistics. They rose from 11 155 in 1999 to 19 838 in 2004, according to the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.
The Associated Press reports that the CDC, using death certificates, found that drug overdoses replaced falls as the second most common cause of unintentional death between 1999 and 2004. Motor vehicle accidents remained far ahead insofar as actual numbers were concerned, from 40 965 fatalities in 1999 to 43 432 in 2004.
While not yet being able to prove that prescription drugs may have been the reason for the increase, the researchers told the wire service they believed that the improper use of drugs like Vicodin and Oxycontin may have been a major contributor.
The availability of prescription drugs illegally also continues to be a problem. In a study released last week by the pharmaceutical company Purdue Pharma, almost 82 percent of the participants said they illegally obtained their prescription medications from a drug dealer. Just over 50 percent said friends or relatives were also a source, although no information was gathered regarding where those contacts originally got the drugs. – (HealthDayNews)
Over-the-counter and prescription drugs