I read an interesting article today about dangers with prescription drugs. Not dangerous in that the drug can hurt you in and of itself, but dangerous in that they can be very addictive and lead to overdoses and even death. On June 17, 2010, the CDC released a study (click here to review the study) showing that in 2008, emergency room visits for prescription drug overdoses matched the number of overdoses for illegal drugs, such as cocaine and heroin. The number of prescription drug related overdoses doubled in the four year period from 2004 to 2008. Prescription drugs were implicated in over 1 million (yes, that’s MILLION) ER visits in 2008 alone. Most of these ER visits were caused by painkillers and tranquilizers. Pain killer caused visits almost doubled and tranquilizer caused visits increased almost 89 percent. The biggest increase in emergency room visits was from young adults in their 20s.
While I am sure that some of these visits were for persons taking painkillers and tranquilizers to control pain related to injuries and other medical conditions, I have to wonder if some of this is related to young people taking painkillers and tranquilizers as recreational drugs.
If you are taking prescribed pain killers because you have been injured in some way or are having pain due to some medical condition such as a car accident, worker’s compensation claim or just because you have a bad back or neck, care should always be taken when prescription painkillers are involved. Persons injured in car accidents and other type of accidents, often need painkillers early in their personal injury cases to control pain and allow them to function and to sleep. It is easy to become dependent on these medications to the point where they can end up doing more harm than good.
Be honest with yourself. Talk with your spouse, other family members or even your friends. You may think they are being paranoid or overly cautious, but they may in fact have an objective outlook on your situation. Ask yourself, and your friends and family, have i become dependent on my medications just to function every day? If you think the answer is yes, talk to your doctor about making a change in your prescription.