Unintentional drug overdose deaths per 100,000 — U.S., 1970–2007 (CDC 2011)

More Americans are addicted to prescription drugs than every before.  Aggressive marketing by drug companies of prescription narcotics, ADHD drugs, depression and anxiety drugs, and sleep aids has contributed to the problem.  More than 27,000 people died in the U.S. in 2007 from unintentional drug overdoses.  More than die from car accidents.  Most of these deaths were caused by prescription drugs.

So, what you should do to protect yourself and your family?  Keep any narcotic or sedative medications you may have in a secure location.  Don’t ever mix sedatives (including alcohol), painkillers, stimulants, anxiety medicines, or depression medicines without your doctor’s permission.  If you take narcotics, sedatives, or stimulants on a regular basis ask your doctor if you can wean yourself off of dangerous medications by finding safer alternative treatments.  Research shows that for most people with chronic pain from conditions like arthritis and fibromyalgia daily exercise and stretching are the best treatments to reduce pain.  Warm baths, yoga, and massage also help with chronic pain and are much safer than prescription painkillers.  Likewise, for most people with sleep problems the best treatment is good sleep habits, daily exercise, stretching, and relaxation techniques.  Discuss with your doctor or nurse practitioner natural ways that you can improve your sleep.  Even for most people with anxiety and depression, counseling is just as effective as drugs and is safer.  Daily exercise also helps treat anxiety and depression.  If you struggle with anxiety or depression, talk to your physician, psychiatrist, or counselor and discuss whether counseling is right for you.

For more information:  Visit www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/rxbrief/


Author: Jim Bailey