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Truth Through Combat

Mortality and Morbidity Weekly Report for June 18 2010

This issue leads with a report on emergency room visits involving non-medical use of certain prescription drugs. It cites a significant increase not only in mortality (death) rates involving such non-medical uses, but also of morbidity (illness) rates.

Some interesting statistics:

  • 1.6 million visits for non-medical use of all drugs (prescription as well as non-prescription) in 2004
  • 2 million such visits in 2008
  • In both 2004 and 2008, illegal drugs accounted for 1 million of these visits
  • The increase, therefore, between 2004 and 2008 was accounted for by an increase in the non-medical use of prescription drugs
  • Most common prescription drugs involved in these ER visits: oxycodone, hydrocodone, methadone (all opioid analgesics); benzodiazepines also saw a near-100% increase

Questions: What steps should be taken to bring these numbers down, if any? Do the numbers show special cause for concern?

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Filed under: Bioethics, ,

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