Archive for September, 2012

Narcotic Prescription Abuse

Sunday, September 2nd, 2012

Over the past 10 years, prescription drug abuse has come to the attention of the media, Congress, DEA, American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP), Emergency Physicians and Providers of health care in general. The fast growing drug abuse problem in the USA is from prescription narcotics produced from the opium poppy and synthetic compounds with similar affects.  Narcotic prescription drugs include Percocet, Vicodin, Methadone, Opana and Oxycontin.

Overdose on prescription medications have escalated in the past 10 years, and deaths that were once dominated by heroin and cocaine, are now equal heroin and cocaine combined. There are about 35,000 deaths from narcotic prescriptions per year. In the USA someone dies from narcotic overdose every 14 minutes. Deaths from opioids were 4,000 in 1999 and 14,800 in 2008.  Prescription narcotic drug overdose is the second leading cause of death in the USA after motor vehicle crashes.

The combined sales of drugs from 1999 to 2010 have quadrupled (from 180 mg of morphine per person in 1999 to 710 mg of morphine in 2010).  Reported from the Robert Wood Foundation, there were 201.9 million prescriptions dispensed in 2009, which is enough narcotic to supply every adult in USA with 30 day prescription for 5mg Vicodin.