Death by medicine is a 21st-century epidemic, and America's "war on drugs" is clearly directed at the wrong enemy!
Prescription drugs are now killing far more people than illegal drugs, and while most major causes of preventable deaths are declining, those from prescription drug use are increasing, an analysis of recently released data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) by the Los Angeles Timesrevealed.
The Times analysis of 2009 death statistics, the most recent available, showed:
- For the first time ever in the US, more people were killed by drugs than motor vehicle accidents
- 37,485 people died from drugs, a rate fueled by overdoses on prescription pain and anxiety medications, versus 36,284 from traffic accidents
- Drug fatalities more than doubled among teens and young adults between 2000 and 2008, and more than tripled among people aged 50 to 69
Again, these drug-induced fatalities are not being driven by illegal street drugs; the analysis found that the most commonly abused prescription drugs like OxyContin, Vicodin, Xanax and Soma now cause more deaths than heroin and cocaine combined.