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Prescription drug overdoses; an American epidemic
  • Published Date:
    February 17, 2011
Filetype[PDF-21.90 MB]

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Prescription drug overdoses; an American epidemic
  • Corporate Authors:
    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (U.S.), Office of the Associate Director for Communication. ; National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (U.S.), Division of Unintentional Injury Prevention. ;
  • Description:
    Prescription drug overdoses : an American epidemic [streaming video] -- Why are drug overdoses a public health problem? [PDF version of the PowerPoint presentation by Grant Baldwin] -- Rationale for prevention strategies [PDF version of the PowerPoint presentation by Len Paulozzi] -- Washington state opioid guidelines and regulations [PDF version of the PowerPoint presentation by Gary Franklin] -- National policy approaches to the problem [PDF version of the PowerPoint presentation by Gil Kerlikowske]

    The United States is in the grip of an epidemic of prescription drug overdoses. Over 27,000 people died from overdoses in 2007, a number that has risen five-fold since 1990 and has never been higher. Prescription drugs are now involved in more overdose deaths than heroin and cocaine combined. This disturbing mortality trend parallels a ten-fold increase in the medical use of opioid painkillers like oxycodone and hydrocodone. The increased availability of such powerful drugs has led to widespread abuse - according to the 2009 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, more than 5 million Americans misused opioid painkillers in the past month. In addition to the threat of overdose, these people face an elevated risk of injury, crime-related violence, and suicide. For health professionals, policymakers and legislators, addressing this problem is complicated--while they push for education, prevention, and enforcement to reverse this epidemic, they must also ensure that patients with a legitimate need for these medications still have access to them. This important session of Public Health Grand Rounds addressed these challenges and explored the innovative state and federal policies and interventions that are showing promise in reducing injury and death from this epidemic.

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