April 6, 2010 -- More people are landing in the hospital because of
poisoning from prescription tranquilizers, sedatives, and opioids, a new study
Hospitalizations for such poisonings increased 65% between 1999 and 2006.
That’s double the increase in hospitalizations for poisoning by other drugs and
substances, researchers say. The study appears in the April issue of the
American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
Opioids can produce a feeling of euphoria, leading to their recreational
use. Tranquilizers and sedatives reduce tension and anxiety and can induce
“Deaths and hospitalizations associated with prescription drug misuse have
reached epidemic proportions,” study author Jeffrey H. Coben, MD, of West
Virginia University School of Medicine, says in a news release. Prescription
drugs, he says, "are just as powerful and dangerous as other notorious
street drugs, and we need to ensure people are aware of these dangers and that
treatment services are available for those with substance abuse problems.”
Coben says the largest increase in the number of hospitalized cases over the
seven-year period involved poisonings by benzodiazepines, and the largest
percentage increase was observed for methadone, at 400%, the authors write.