An analysis of government data revealed that more people die due to prescription drug overdose than motor vehicle accidents.
Based on data provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 37,485 people across America died due to prescription drug overdose in 2009.
This increase in fatalities does not follow the same trend as other causes of preventable deaths, most of which have declined over the years. Traffic accidents, for instance, have been on a decline for years as a result of focus and investments made on making motor vehicles safe.
At the forefront of this increase in drug-related deaths are prescription pain and anxiety medication, which are highly addictive and extremely dangerous when taken as a cocktail with other drugs, or with alcohol. Among the more commonly used drugs are OxyContin, Vicodin, Xanax, and Soma, as well as the painkiller Fentanyl.
Laz Salinas, a sheriff’s commander in Santa Barbara, shared that “the problem is right here under our noses in our medicine cabinets.”
Those who succumb to overdose come from a range of situations; some of them are teenagers who would like to experience a heroin-like high, while others are middle-aged yuppies who become addicted to medications prescribed for such conditions as chronic back pain.
The increase in these deaths also coincides with an increase in the number of prescriptions that doctors have been writing for painkillers and anti-anxiety medication. Prescription painkillers are not just found in pharmacies; they are also being sold over the Internet, and in dark street corners.