The National Safety Council has released a report entitles “Prescription Nation: Addressing America’s Prescription Drug Abuse Epidemic” in it the NSC details how 47 out of 50 states must improve upon their current standards if they want to do their part in reducing the number of prescription drug overdose deaths. The NSC is asking these states to take immediate action to improve prescribing, monitoring and treatments involving opioids. The image to the left can be viewed in great detail at nsc.org/rxnation.
Prescription drug abuse is a growing epidemic in all facets of healthcare, but is growing at a rapid pace in workers compensation. People are injured at work and immediately the first thing that is done is an opioid is prescribed to treat the pain that they are experiencing. Forty-five people die everyday from prescription drug overdose, this accounts for more deaths than heroin and cocaine combined. That is a staggering fact to see on paper, many of these deaths are ruled accidental either people get hooked and continually need higher and higher doses or people get better and miss the high they used to get and take their old dose and its is just way too much for their body to handle. In 2010 there were enough pain medications prescribed to medicate every American adult around the clock for 1 month.
John Ulczycki – VP of Strategic Initiatives at NSC is quoted saying “For the first time since WWII, something other than motor vehicle crashes is the leading cause of unintentional injury deaths for Americans ages 25-64.” We hear everyday in commercials and on the radio and news about car accidents taking the lives of people, you hardly hear about the everyday worker who accidentally overdosed on his pain meds. Maybe we need to make this more of a public issues and have the media begin addressing it more so people can see just how many Americans and families this is affecting.
There were only three states that met the NSC’s standards, they were: Kentucky, Vermont, and Washington.
Of the states that failed to meet expectations they were: Arizona, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Wyoming.
The full report can be viewed at nsc.org/rxreport.