Prescription Drug Alert

Records are showing that fatal medication errors are dramatically on the rise.

An in-depth analysis finds that deaths from medications taken at home -- like the death of actor Heath Ledger -- have increased rapidly over the last two decades. The study finds deaths from such errors jumped about 700 percent between 1983 and 2004.

The study's authors blame the soaring home use of prescription painkillers and other potent drugs, which were given mainly inside hospitals 25 years ago.

The finding comes after an analysis of nearly 50 million U.S. death certificates. Of those, more than 224,000 deaths involved fatal medication errors, including mixing prescription drugs with alcohol or street drugs.

Researchers found the increase in such deaths was highest among
people in their 40s and 50s. As one scientist put it, "We're sort of drug happy."

The study is published in Archives of Internal Medicine.

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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by CNA Location: NC on Jul 30, 2008 at 07:55 AM
    Don't "save" meds. If you don't take all of the prescription, throw it away!
  • by Chris Location: Greenville on Jul 30, 2008 at 04:18 AM
    Why do you want to take drugs anyway. They make you sicker than you already are.They are the downfall off western medicine.
  • by Ted Location: Greenville on Jul 29, 2008 at 06:13 PM
    I once read a study that said you were more 9 times more likely to be killed by a Dr.'s or Pharmacists mistake than with a handgun. I wish I still had a copy so I could cite the source.
  • by kathy Location: williamston on Jul 29, 2008 at 06:22 AM
    it all starts with is either poor or nonexistant. People need to read, or if they can't, consult someone who can. Is this society a bunch of babies that lacks self-sufficiency so badly that they can't read enough to understand how to medicate themselves? Reports can be made to look any way the researchers wantthem to...statistics are very easily manipulated, especially to reflect a desired outcome. I wish people would get a grip and recognize the need for self accountability. The idiocy of some (jerk) is going to ruin it for the rest of us...Officials & legislators already tamper with our freedoms enough as it is...keep it up, and we'll lose our ability to get meds.

    Slight Edit


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