Poisoning is now the leading cause of death from injuries in the United States

 nearly 9 out of 10 poisoning deaths are caused by drugs.

Over the last 10 years, the percentage of Americans who took at least one prescription drug in the past month increased from 44% to 48%. The use of two or more drugs increased from 25% to 31%. The use of five or more drugs increased from 6% to 11%.

These statistics are good to keep in mind next time the media starts fanning the flames about an adverse reaction to a nutritional supplement. With well over half the U.S. population reporting usage of one or more nutritional supplements, only 275 adverse events were reported in 2006, and most of those involved caffeine.

It’s not surprising to see the latest statistics on poisoning deaths in an overly medicated and often drugged out U.S. consumer population.  The good news is that many of the prescriptions being written are for life style diseases that we already know how to treat by eating the right foods and getting the correct nutrition.

8 November 2013  Elsevier

Investigators Look at the Link Between Geographic Patterns and Death Rates in the New Issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine

San Diego, CA, November 12, 2013 – A new study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine gives new Age Adusted Death Rates from Posioning in U.S.insight into the geographic variation in drug poisoning mortality, with both urban centers and rural areas showing a large increase in death rates. While previous studies have looked at drug poisoning related deaths in broad strokes, this is the first study to examine them on the county level across the entire U.S.

Drug poisoning is now the leading cause of injury

death in the U.S. and has increased by more than 300 Predicted Age Adjusted Death Rates in U.S. percent over the last three decades. Almost 90 percent of poisoning deaths can be attributed to illicit or licit drugs, with prescription drugs accounting for the majority of drug overdose deaths.

According to reports from the National Survey of Drug Use and Health, about 2.1 percent of Americans—or roughly 5 million people—have used prescription painkillers non-medically in the past month. The rise in drug-related deaths correlates to the increase in the non-medical use of prescription drugs, especially opioid analgesics.

While there have been some reports that suggest the rise in deaths has been sharper in rural areas than in urban centers, data to support the claim had never been fully substantiated. In this new study, investigators used small area estimation techniques to produce stable estimates of drug-related poisoning deaths at a county level, which revealed more information about how geography plays a role in death rates.

Using data obtained from the National Vital Statistics Multiple Cause of Death Files, investigators found that in 1999 only 3 percent of counties had annual drug poisoning age adjusted death rates (AADRs) over ten per 100,000, but found that the rate rose to 54 percent of counties by 2008. Additionally, while drug poisoning AADRs increased across all geographic areas both large and small, there was a greater percentage increase for rural areas (394 percent) compared to large metropolitan counties (297 percent).

“The interaction suggests that both central metropolitan and rural areas experienced similar absolute rates of increase in drug-poisoning AADRs from 1999 to 2009 and that these rates were more rapid than those seen in fringe or small metropolitan or micropolitan areas,” explains lead investigator Lauren M. Rossen, PhD, MS. “However, since the AADRs in rural areas were substantially lower in 1999 as compared to central cities, the percentage increase was larger for rural areas over time.”

The study also reveals regional trends in drug poisoning related deaths. “Maps of drug-poisoning mortality over time illustrated that AADRs greater than 29 per 100,000 per year were largely concentrated in Appalachian counties in 1999-2000; by 2008-2009, counties across the entire U.S. displayed AADRs of more than 29 per 100,000 per year,” said Rossen. “These high rates could be seen in Alaska, Hawaii, the entire Pacific region, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Appalachia, the southern coasts of Louisiana and Mississippi, Florida, and across New England.”

“Mapping death rates associated with drug poisoning at the county level may help elucidate geographic patterns, highlight areas where drug-related poisoning deaths are higher than expected, and inform policies and programs designed to address the increase in drug-poisoning mortality and morbidity,” added Rossen.

 

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