NATIONAL SAFETY MONTH WEEK 4 – Dangers of Prescription Drug Overdoses

While safety is a topic that requires attention and focus every day and every second, National Safety Month in June is an ideal time to rally employees around a theme. By holding safety meetings with every member of your organization, you are placing emphasis on the importance of on and off the job safety.

The theme this week is Impairment. No level of impairment is safe for the road or the workplace. Here is an article about prescription drug overdoses.

Dangers of Prescription Drug Overdoses

Prescription drug overdoses are one of the fastest growing causes of injury deaths. According to CDC, more than 15,000 people die annually from overdoses of prescription medicines. Prescription pain relievers contribute to more deaths than all illegal drugs like heroin and cocaine.

Most fatal drug overdoses result from pain relief medications also known as opioid analgesics. Opioids include: oxycodone, methadone, hydrocodone, fentanyl and buprenorphine. Mixing prescription pain medication with alcohol and/or over-the-counter pain medications increases the risk of a fatal overdose.

  • Among people 35 to 54 years old, unintentional drug overdoses cause more deaths than motor vehicle crashes.
  • More than 70 percent of people who abused prescription pain relievers report getting them from friends or relatives.
  • In 2010, more than 400,000 emergency room visits were made related to prescription pain relievers.
  • Non-medical use of prescription painkillers costs health insurers up to $72.5 billion annually in direct health care costs.


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