Prescription Drug Related Deaths
Drug overdose death rates in the United States have more than tripled since 1990 and have never been higher. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nationally, sales of prescription painkillers per capita have quadrupled since 1999 - and the number of fatal poisonings due to prescription painkillers has also quadrupled.
During 2010 (the year in which the latest national NVSS mortality data are available), a total of 40,393 drug-induced deaths occurred in the United States. The majority of drug-induced deaths were unintentional 74.3%; remainder: 13.1%; suicidal drug poisoning; 7.3% drug poisoning of undetermined intent; 5.1% mental and behavioral disorders from drug use; <1% homicide; <1% medical conditions from chronic drug use.
"The biggest problem is that people think it’s prescription medication that comes from a doctor — it’s OK,” “If you take all of the other types of unnatural death and put them together, they don’t equal the number of drug overdoses we had in 2013,” - Westmoreland County, Coroner Ken Bacha.
In 2010 West Virginia had the highest number of drug overdose deaths, at 28.9 per 100,000 people - a 605 percent increase from 1999, when the rate was only 4.1 per every 100,000. (based on data from CDC's National Center for Health Statistics, WONDER Online Database, 2010.) From 2009 to 2011, prescription drug deaths in Fayette County, West Virginia, had almost doubled, reaching 33.5 per 100,000 residents, much higher than West Virginia's average. With North Dakota scoring 3.4 per 100,00, the US average in 2010 came to 13.1 per 100,000.
Prescription drug abuse causes the largest percentage of deaths from drug overdosing. In 2008, more than 36,000 people died from drug overdoses, and most of these deaths were caused by prescription drugs.
Nearly three out of four prescription drug overdoses are caused by prescription painkillers—also called opioid pain relievers. The unprecedented rise in overdose deaths in the US parallels a 300% increase since 1999 in the sale of these strong painkillers. The misuse and abuse of prescription painkillers was responsible for more than 475,000 emergency department visits in 2009, a number that nearly doubled in just five years. These drugs were involved in 14,800 overdose deaths in 2008, more than cocaine and heroin combined.
The quantity of prescription painkillers sold to pharmacies, hospitals, and doctors’ offices was 4 times larger in 2010 than in 1999. Enough prescription painkillers were prescribed in 2010 to medicate every American adult around-the-clock for one month.
Almost all prescription drugs involved in overdoses come from prescriptions originally; very few come from pharmacy theft.
Most prescription painkillers are prescribed by primary care and internal medicine doctors and dentists, not specialists. Roughly 20% of prescribers prescribe 80% of all prescription painkillers.
People on Medicaid are prescribed painkillers at twice the rate of non-Medicaid patients and are at six times the risk of prescription painkillers overdose. One Washington State study found that 45% of people who died from prescription painkiller overdoses were Medicaid enrollees.
The difference between prescription drugs and guns is that people generally know that guns are dangerous, while they think prescription drugs are safe.
In the case of guns, rather than blaming the people who own and handle them, the guns themselves are blamed. In the case of prescription drugs, the vast majority, 74.3%, of drug-induced deaths were unintentional, because of the pervasive denialism in the medical fraternity, choosing to blame it on patient ignorance, rather than admitting just how dangerous most prescription drugs really are. For this reason, prescription drugs are much more dangerous than guns.
Prescription drugs are the second most commonly abused category of drugs, behind marijuana and ahead of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and other drugs. Physicians are a leading source of prescription opioids for highest-risk users. Highest risk users get opioids through their own prescriptions 27 percent of the time, as often as they get the drugs from friends or family for free or buy them from friends.
In a study on the statistics of guns per capita in relation to gun deaths, based on firearm injury data from the World Health Organization and guns per capita data from the Small Arms Survey, it was found that the U.S. population has 88 guns per 100 people, the highest gun-ownership in the world, and it has 10.2 gun-related deaths per 100,000 people — more than 27 other developed countries studied.
The study also found that Switzerland has 45.7 guns per 100,000 of their population and 3.84 gun related deaths per 100,000. Now even if their gun ownership figures were to be doubled to 91,4/100,000 their gun related deaths would come to 7,68 per 100,000, not even close to that of the U.S.
France has 31.2 guns per 100,000, which is less than Sweden with 31.6 per 100,000, yet France has 3 per 100,000 gun related deaths, which is more than double that of Sweden with 1.46 per 100,000.
South Africa has only 12.7 LEGALLY OWNED guns per 100,000 of the population, but 9.41 gun related deaths per 100,000, because 90% of gun related deaths in South Africa are committed by owners ILLEGAL GUNS. Killings by legal private gun owners barely make it into the statistics as most killings with legally possessed guns are committed by SA Police officers, including the Marikana massacre and other killings.
Please bear in mind that in 2010 deaths due to drugs were 13.1 per 100,000 of the U.S. population, most of which were unintentional / accidental and most of which were caused by prescription drugs.
The standard approach to solving the problem of gun related deaths is to ban guns. By this reasoning it means that solution to the greater problem of prescription drug related deaths should then also be to ban prescription drugs. In the case of guns, the killing object, the gun, is blamed, while in the case of prescription drugs, the user / patient is blamed and not the source, the prescribing doctor, the pharmaceutical manufacturer or the killing object, being the drug itself.
From the above it should be quite obvious that in the case of prescription drug related deaths, the prescribers, the drug warnings, the scheduling and not appropriately informing the patients, are the problems. In the case of gun related deaths, illegal possession of guns is the main, primary, number one problem.
Killings by the police cannot be considered a problem, as it is part of their job to protect the public and to defend themselves, however warranted the circumstances may be. Static totals on gun related deaths, everywhere, always include Police killings, which occurs in their act of duty, and which involve criminals with illegal guns! In all cases, statistics on gun related deaths also include killings by carriers of guns in the various armed forces, which include family killings, partner killings, suicides and random killings committed by them. Statistics also include police officers killed in the line of duty by illegal gun-carrying criminals.
Anti-gun lobbyists always focus all their attention on private gun ownership, never on illegal guns, never on the criminals, which they can do nothing about. They also never focus on private off-duty killings committed by members of the armed forces, like the police.
In the case of the much more dangerous problem of drugs, both prescription and illegal drugs, which kill more people than guns, the focus is always on the potential abuser, the addict, the trusting, ignorant patient and very seldom, if ever, on the supply chain, the doctor, the drug itself; its scheduling, research fraud, related warnings and access to it.
In the case of deaths generally gun lobbyists and activists seldom, if ever, even mention that FACT that the weapons of choice, especially in South Africa, remain knives (the okapi, which is a lock, back or slip joint knife), pangas, axes, spades, hammers, rocks or any sharp object, to stab and injure or kill their victims with, all of which outnumber the use of guns by far. Both South Africa & The states have far higher incidents of death by knives & blunt objects than assault rifles.
Ultimately both guns and prescription drugs are dangerous, while guns are viewed as dangerous and drugs are not, while legal gun owners are viewed as criminals and drug manufacturers are not, but the most dangerous of all are people, especially criminally minded people, worst of all those criminals carrying knives and other sharp objects, and criminals carrying illegal guns.....
If you have any doubt about the lethality of a blow to the head with a fist, please google “the knockout game”. Then go read these two blog posts:
Policy Impact: Prescription Painkiller Overdoses
Prescription Drug Abuse: Strategies to Stop the Epidemic
The truth about prescription drug abuse
Drug-Induced Deaths — United States, 1999–2010
Policy Impact: Prescription Drug Overdose State Rates (2010)
Overdose deaths from prescription drug abuse skyrocketing in southwestern Pennsylvania
Physicians are a leading source of prescription opioids for the highest-risk
Prescription Drug Abuse And Addiction
Prescription Drug Abuse
U.S. Has More Guns – And Gun Deaths – Than Any Other Country, Study Finds
Facebook post says the U.S. is No. 1 in gun violence. Is it?
List of countries by firearm-related death rate
Number of Deaths Due to Injury by Firearms per 100,000 Population
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - Assault or Homicide
Khayelitsha's kid gangsters
We need more gun owners in South Africa, not less