Emergency Rooms Report that in a Year, 92,000 Opioid Overdoses Prescribed By Doctors Occurred
92,000 drug overdoses in a year, that sounds like a low amount, that is until you hear the details. The 92,000 Opioid Overdoses were from doctor prescribed drugs. Opioid drugs are powerful painkillers that have, forms of morphine, methadone, oxycodone and hydrocodone. The most commonly known opioids are OxyContin and Vicodin. Patients who are in an extreme level of pain are given these drugs as a short term relief. Patients that take these types of opioids for an extended period, they can develop a tolerance for them, which then requires the patient to take higher and higher doses of the drugs. This is a recipe for an overdose. Patients who have taken too much of these drugs, will have an overload in their systems may lose consciousness or even stop breathing.
Not only is it easy to become tolerant to these drugs, it is also easy to become addicted to these powerful painkillers. This leads to patients taking the opioids for a longer period of time and also makes it difficult to stop taking them. The addictive nature of these prescription drugs is alarming. A study conducted back in 2010, showed that 68% or emergency patients who overdosed on opioids were prescribed by doctors.
While the fact that we had 92,000 opioid overdoses in a year is alarming, the cost that this epidemic puts on the country is outrageous. The cost of treating just the people who overdose on prescribed drugs is around $1.4 billion each year. This number does not include overdoses due to illegal drugs or the people stealing prescription drugs. Among the patients that became hospitalized, the average stay was 3.8 days. The average cost came to $29,497 for 3.8 days. For patients who were released without being admitted, the average cost was around $3,640. Altogether, the cost of treating both groups tallied up to a significant amount of money. In 2011, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention declared these alarming amount of overdoses an epidemic. With this epidemic on hand, researchers found that deaths from prescribed opioid overdoses surpassed deaths due to car accidents.
Doctors are now using a system to monitor if their patients are seeking additional prescriptions elsewhere, but that has not stopped some patients from abusing their prescriptions. Dr. Cesar Aristeiguieta, who maintains an emergency room in Houston, stated that doctors prescribed more painkillers out of a desire to relieve their patientsâ€™ suffering and also in response to pressure from medical boards and health policymakers. Dr. Aristeiguieta stated, â€œNow we are seeing people can obtain narcotics easier than street drugs,â€ he continued, â€œand for free or low cost with insurance.â€ His statement is very true, as he concludes, â€œItâ€™s no wonder weâ€™re in the situation weâ€™re in.â€ With this epidemic spiraling out of control, it is going to take multiple companies, hospitals, doctors, and law enforcements to diminish this difficult situation.