Pubdate: Tue, 22 Jun 2010
Source: New York Times (NY)
Page: D6
Copyright: 2010 The New York Times Company
Author: Roni Caryn Rabin
Referenced: The report


Emergency room visits for nonmedical use of prescription and
over-the-counter drugs doubled during a recent five-year-period, the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are reporting.

The increase, reported last week in the agency's Morbidity and
Mortality Weekly Report, puts the number of medical emergencies for
abusing legal drugs on a par with those for illegal drugs.

The most emergency visits were for reactions to the opioid painkillers
oxycodone, hydrocodone and methadone: 305,900 visits in 2008, up from
144,600 in 2004. The anti-anxiety drugs called benzodiazepines
accounted for 271,700 visits in 2008, up from 143,500 in 2004.

"Physicians need to be really clear with their patients," said an
author of the study, Peter Delany, director of applied studies at the
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. "These are
very heavy-duty drugs that need to be taken in concert with a
physician, and when you're done with them, you need to dispose of them
properly and not have them lying around." 
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