For the first time in the United States, the number of deaths caused by drug related accidents is higher than the number of fatalities caused in auto accidents. The spike in drug-related deaths has been boosted by an increase in the number of prescription narcotic overdoses.
According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in the year 2009, drug-related deaths exceeded automobile accident deaths. Approximately 37,485 people were killed in drug -related causes. In fact, across the country, the numbers of preventable deaths has actually been on the decline. However, drug-related deaths are actually increasing.
The numbers are staggering. According to official estimates, every 14 minutes, a person somewhere in the United States dies due to drug-related causes. The number of people dying from these causes has actually increased by 100% over the past ten years. During the same period of time, the number of people being killed in auto accidents declined by as much as 20% to 30%.
Los Angeles personal injury lawyers believe that much of the spike in drug-related deaths has to do with the epidemic of prescription drug use and abuse in the country. There has been a major rise in the number of deaths being caused by the abuse of anxiety drugs, painkillers and other prescription drugs in the country. Many of these drugs like OxyContin, Xanax are some of the most frequently abused prescription drugs. These drugs are deadly when they’re combined with alcohol and other drugs.
In fact, drug enforcement agencies in the U.S. would probably be better served by focusing on the increasing risks to Americans from legal prescription drugs, rather than narcotics. The number of people being killed through the use of prescription drugs in the country is now higher than the number of people being killed from the use of heroin and cocaine combined.
The biggest cause of prescription drug-related deaths continues to be overdose. Many of these overdoses occur because people simply don’t know better. A person may mix different types of prescription drugs, including several types of painkillers, with devastating consequences. Mixing drugs and alcohol can also have equally serious results.
However in many cases, overdoses occur because victims are not aware of the side effects of these drugs or the dangerous effects of drug interactions. Patients, who take two separate medications with the same active ingredient, could be at risk of an over dosage because they are being exposed to high amounts of the same ingredient. The Food and Drug Administration has been slow to recognize the problem, and the pharmaceutical industry has been content to introduce new prescription drugs into the market without any thought to increasing public awareness about side effects and drug interaction issues.