Democrats Ask Drug Policy Office to Do More to Combat Opioid Epidemic
Twenty Democratic senators are asking the Office of National Drug Control Policy to do more to combat the opioid epidemic, according to the Associated Press.
About 71,000 people were admitted to U.S. hospitals for prescription-drug overdoses in 2006, up from approximately 43,000 in 1999, according to a new report.
Reuters reported April 6 that researcher Jeffrey H. Coben of the West Virginia University School of Medicine and colleagues found that accidental poisonings involving opioids, sedatives, and tranquilizers increased 37 percent, compared to a rise of 21 percent for accidental poisonings involving other substances.
The report noted that unintentional poisoning is now the second-leading cause of accidental injury death in the U.S.
Coben and colleagues said that urban, middle-aged women seem especially vulnerable to prescription-drug overdoses.
The rate of intentional poisonings involving prescription opioids, sedatives and tranquilizers also more than doubled during the seven-year study.
Hospitalizations for methadone poisoning increased more than for any other drug.
The study was published in the April 2010 issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine (PDF).