Study: ER visits climb for misuse of Rxs, OTCs

March 19, 2007

Emergency room visits related to the nonmedical use of pharmaceuticals, including Rx and OTC drugs, increased 21% from 2004 to 2005.

Emergency room visits related to the nonmedical use of pharmaceuticals, including Rx and OTC drugs, increased 21% from 2004 to 2005, according to the latest estimates from the Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN), 2005: National Estimates of Drug-Related Emergency Department Visits. The number of visits related to illicit drug use or alcohol was unchanged for the same time period. The DAWN report, published by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, shows that the total number of drug-related ER visits remained stable from 2004 to 2005. However, visits involving the nonmedical use of Rxs and OTCs increased from 495,732 to 598,542. The majority of these visits involved multiple drugs. Antianxiety drugs (benzodiazepines, up 19%), prescription pain relievers (up 24%), and methadone (up 29%) were among those most frequently implicated in nonmedical use.

 

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