Accidental Drug Deaths

In the last 20 years, prescription medication abuse has become the silent epidemic in the addiction world.

When Sober Living by the Sea started treating drug addiction and alcoholism in 1986, the main substances that we found our clients needed treatment for were alcohol and cocaine. Throughout the nineties, we witnessed the sinister rise of amphetamine abuse and became experts in meth addiction treatment by adjusting our treatment facilities and programs to cope with the special needs that meth addicts bring to our treatment facility. Now, in recent years we have seen an overwhelming spike in the abuse of prescription drugs including narcotic painkillers, sedatives, tranquilizers, and stimulants.

The death of actor Heath Ledger has brought to the forefront of the public’s consciousness the dangers of prescription drugs being abused and leading to accidental deaths. This is most common with downer type medications including vicodin, oxycontin, oxycodone, percodan, percocet, ambien, zolpidem, xanax, alprazolam, ativan, lorazepam, valium, and morphine/hydromorphine derivatives. The danger is escalated when the person who is addicted to or abusing prescription medications combines their medication intake with alcoholic beverages.

A recent study of death certificates published in Monday’s Archives of Internal Medicine have shown that home deaths from drug errors are up dramatically in the last 20 years.

Deaths from medication mistakes at home increased from 1,132 deaths in 1983 to 12,426 in 2004. Adjusted for population growth, that amounts to an increase of more than 700 percent during that time.

The lead author of the study David P. Phillips of the University of California, San Diego stated that “The amount of medical supervision is going down and the amount of responsibility put on the patient’s shoulders is going up.”

The treatment programs at Sober Living by the Sea are equipped to handle the treatment of addiction to prescription painkillers like vicodin and oxycontin.

If you contact the Sober Living by the Sea administrative staff in your area, they will be able to help you assess your situation answer your questions about the process of entering treatment for you or a loved one.