We all know that drugs can kill, but to what extent? New data has shown that drug deaths now exceed deaths by motor vehicle accidents in the United Sates. As the commonality of car accidents assumes that everyone has been touched by one in some way, it may be surprising to hear that deaths attributed to drug abuse surpasses even that.
In 2009 an estimated 37,485 people were killed by drug overdoses and brain damage linked to long-term drug abuse; 1,201 more than the toll of traffic accidents.
But what has caused such a high amount of deaths related to drug abuse? Many say prescription pain relievers. According to Dr. Leonard Paulozzi, medical epidemiologist at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s division of unintentional injury prevention, “There has been a dramatic increase in use of prescription drugs as physicians have become more liberal in prescribing them.” He went on to explain that the bulk of drug-related deaths stems from accidental opioid painkiller overdoses.
The tendency to wrongly assume that prescription pain relievers are safe because they are prescribed can lead to people taking too many pills or mixing them with alcohol or other drugs. Drug abuse is, and continues to be, on the rise. Education is crucial to addiction prevention!