Fatal medication errors have spiked sharply

When researchers at the University of California, San Diego, examined nearly 50 million U.S. death certificates, they found a 700 percent increase in the number of medication mistakes at home between 1983 and 2004.

In a report published last year in the Archives of Internal Medicine, the UCSD team noted that unintentional overdoses and mixing prescription drugs with alcohol or street drugs accounted for the largest proportion of fatal medication errors – especially among people in their 40s and 50s.

Homicides, suicides, and deaths due to side effects were not included in the study.

Dr. J. Lyle Bootman, dean of the University of Arizona pharmacy program, told the Associated Press that more people are sharing prescription drugs these days. In one recent study, nearly 30 percent said they had borrowed a prescription drug from someone.

And Dr. Bootman nailed the crux of the problem, calling our society “drug happy.” He added: “We have this general attitude that drugs can fix everything.”

Gee…I wonder where everyone got THAT idea?

Source:
“Study: Rapid Rise Seen in Fatal Medication Errors at Home” Carla K. Johnson, The Associated Press, 7/28/08, ap.org