If proscribed and used responsibly, prescription medication is a way to assist patients in living healthier lives but when prescription drugs are abused the consequences can be very serious, leading to overdoses and major accidents that can cause death, including car accidents.
Our Spartanburg personal injury attorneys caution patients to monitor the medicines they prescribe themselves. As well as those prescribed by a health care provider. Unfortunately, doctors and hospitals cannot always be relied on to manage multiple medicines a patient may be ingesting, even if this is their job.
Studies show that since 1999 the number of deaths attributed to prescription painkillers has increased by over 300%. It is estimated that 45 U.S. residents perish every day due to unintentional overdoses on pain relieves acquired through a prescription. In addition to the problems with patients taking pills as they are intended, nearly 1 in 20 United States citizens over the age of 12 admits to ingesting prescription painkillers for recreational purposes.
Although street drugs like cocaine and heroin are certainly dangerous and responsible for many overdoses, combined they are still account for only about half as many deaths as opioid painkillers. cocaine and heroin combined for 7,219 deaths in 2010, while opioid painkillers were responsible for 16,651.
When compared to other forms of unintentional deaths drug overdoses rank very highly. In 2010, drug overdoses claimed the lives of 38,329 in comparison, motor vehicles were responsible for 35,332 fatalities during the same time period.
It would seem that doctor’s and hospitals should be at the forefront of preventing prescription drug overdoses, a logical way to do this would be to reduce the number of prescription drugs given out, unfortunately this does not seem to be the strategy of most hospitals and doctors.
According to statistics enough painkillers were prescribed in 2010 to medicate every American 24 hours a day for a month. Prescription drugs are only increasing as a part of American society – between the years of 1999 and 2010 prescription pain killers sold to doctors, hospitals, and pharmacies increased 400%.
Commonly the patients at risk for overdose are either receiving high daily doses of medicine or receiving prescription pain killers from multiple doctors.
Some methods to reduce the number of pills available include:
• Deterring the formation of Pill Mills. Pill Mills are clinics that routinely prescribe pain medication for recreational/nonmedical use.
• Enforce and support safe prescribing. To assist doctors in prescribing pain killers safely jurisdictions should enact guidelines that help determine the proper amount of painkillers.
• Provide safe ways to dispose of medications. In order to prevent future misuse of expired or unwanted medication DEA sponsored take-back events can properly dispose of medication.
Drug overdoses and misuse are more prevalent that many realize. Furthermore, many hospitals, clinics, and doctors are not taking the proper steps to ensure a patient is not over-prescribed or purposely misusing medication.
If you or someone you love has suffered an injury, contact Lee Law Offices, P.A. for a free and confidential consultation with our North and South Carolina attorneys. Call 1-800-887-1965.
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