Deaths from commonly-prescribed pharmaceuticals outnumber those from heroin and cocaine combined, a new study has discovered. Prescription drugs cause around 16,000 deaths a year in the US alone-and that's only the ones that get reported.
The number of deaths from prescription medication is increasing every year, and researchers from McGill University wanted to find out why.
The usual reason of overdosing was only one cause, they found. More worryingly, it was just simply down to the fact that more prescriptions are being written, which suggests the deadly nature of some drugs, and especially long-acting opioids like Oxycontin. In short, it's a complicated epidemic of too much prescribing, and it's a warning to other nations not to follow America down a similar path of excessive prescription drug use, they say.
(Source: American Journal of Public Health, 2014; e1; doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2014.301966)