Non-Opioid Prescription Drugs Now Surging in Overdose Statistics
The majority of concern levied on prescription drugs has been levied against pharmaceutical, opioid pain reliever drugs, and understandably so. Pharmaceutical drugs are without a doubt the most prevalent and the riskiest of the drugs that are abused in society today.
But we should not get so focused on pharmaceutical opioids that we take our attention off of the other pharmaceutical drugs that are killing Americans left and right. In the last five years, fatal overdoses from sedatives like Valium and Xanax have also been on the rise.
Overdose Risks Abounding
In 2013, thirty-one percent of prescription drug overdoses resulted from benzodiazepine use. Of twenty-three total prescription drug overdose deaths that year, that’s more than seven thousand deaths from prescription benzodiazepines, drugs that are supposed to be helpful, not a hindrance.
According to study author Dr. Joanna Starrels, who works as an associate professor of medicine at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City:
“As more benzodiazepines were prescribed, more people have died from overdoses involving these drugs. In 2013, more than 5 percent of American adults filled prescriptions for benzodiazepines. And the overdose death rate increased more than four times from 1996 to 2013.”
According to Dr. Starrels and her colleagues, overdose deaths from benzodiazepines are growing rapidly, particularly amongst young people.
Serious Risk for Young People
With drug and alcohol abuse being a greater risk for young people than it perhaps ever was before, parents have more to be concerned about now. In the face of the United States’ current substance abuse epidemic, an epidemic declared a “National Public Health Emergency” by President Trump himself, parents must take additional precautions to ensure that their teen and young adult sons and daughters are staying safe.
When it comes to drug abuse, there are a virtual plethora of signs and indications of substance abuse to watch out for. These manifestations break down into physical signs, psychological signs, and behavioral signs. Parents should learn these so they can be more equipped to respond if they fear their kids are abusing drugs and alcohol.
When kids abuse sedative drugs, they usually got them from a friend who had a legitimate prescription for them, and they usually have no idea what they are getting themselves into. Not only do parents need to watch out for substance abuse in kids, but parents also need to simply talk to their kids about the risks present with all types of drugs.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, when parents talk to their kids about drugs, their kids are four times less likely to abuse drugs and alcohol than if they do not get to have these conversations with their parents. Unfortunately, only about thirty percent of parents actually discuss drug and alcohol abuse with their kids.
Curbing the Death Toll
We need to address all forms of prescription drug abuse, not just opioid pain reliever addiction. Prescription drugs now carry the majority of overdose deaths in the nation, which is truly upsetting considering these substances are supposed to help us, not hinder us. But the brutal truth of the matter is that people are just as likely to become addicted to the pharmaceutical drugs they are prescribed as they are to be “helped” by them.
We need to raise awareness of this problem while also helping those who are already addicted. And most of all, we need to make sure that young people are educated about prescription drugs and protected from them, as those young people will soon be the adults in charge of this country.