Death Rates From Painkiller Overdose

Death rates from painkiller overdose are on a drastic rise in 2011 and have actually tripled over the past decade. Many prescription drug abusers are overdosing from painkillers making the mortality rate about 15,000 in the United States. These death rates from painkiller overdose are a shocking and startling realization that something must be done to end this growing trend.


According to a recent study from the Centers for Disease Control and prevention, about 15,000 people died from painkiller overdose in 2008. The numbers continue to rise, according to the recent data. While some of these death rates from painkiller overdose can be attributed to suicides, some of these instances of overdose and death from painkillers is simply because people aren't taking them correctly or not as prescribed by their doctor. Unfortunately some are probably even taking pills they've purchased or acquired illegally. There are a few ways that doctors and state government can implement new rules and policies into the system in order to help prevent these number of the death rates from painkiller overdose from rising. However, it is also important for each individual to know and understand the dangers of ingesting opioids incorrectly or in too much of a capacity. Aside from death, consuming too many painkillers can result in other problem as well like organ failure and other issues that can create long-term problems that might last for life. 

Death Rates From Painkiller Overdose

Death rates from painkiller overdose contribute to the ever-growing problem of drug overdoses in general. In 2008 when the CDC did the study on illegal and prescription drug abuse and death rates, it was found that there were 36,450 deaths from drug overdosing. The painkiller deaths were a contributing number to this amount. These death rates are only second to the leading cause of death from injury - automotive accidents and vehicle crashes, which totaled 39,973 in 2008.

According to these death rates from painkiller overdose, the prescription opioids sales were the lowest in Illinois and the highest in Florida. The highest sales rates tend to be in the Southeast and Northwest. Typically, according to the study, the states with the lower death rates from painkiller overdose were also the states where the drug sales were the lowest. This obviously shows a trend that in the states where doctors are prescribing too many painkillers, people are becoming addicted and eventually killing themselves, whether it be on purpose or accidentally. This is a huge problem that needs to be stopped. Doctors are facing more and more regulations when it comes to painkiller prescriptions because of this problem. Unfortunately those individuals that want to abuse painkillers are finding a way to do so. If more doctors and pharmacists were required to engage in more policy mandates, there would likely be a reverse trend in the death rates from painkiller overdose numbers.

Prevention Measures

This is also part of the reason it is so important for parents to also talk to their teens about being careful with all kinds of drug use including prescription drugs. If parents have been prescribed painkillers, they need to be careful and keep these in a safe place away from the availability of children and teens. More and more states are establishing monitoring systems to help make sure that their patients are behaving appropriately with their painkillers, are not distributing the meds and are only taking them for just as long as needed. 

Doctors also need to take precautions and ensure that the only prescribe these painkillers or opioids in the situations where the patient has been carefully screened and monitored. If the non-opioids have not  been successful in treating pain, the opioids can be prescribed, but with care. This is important in helping reduce the overall number of people that have illegal access to prescription meds as well as reducing the number of individuals that become addicted to opiates and find themselves in the situation where their life is at risk. 

Sources: medpagetoday.com. AFP


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