According to the CDC, drug over-doses have continued to rise for the 11th straight year, with 22,134 out of 38,329 such deaths attributed to prescribed medications such as valium (involved in almost 30% of them) in 2010 alone. It was also reported that only 17% of the medication related deaths were attributed to suicide.
Other medications involved in the most fatalities are opiod drugs such as Vicodin and OxyContin.
“Many doctors and patients don’t fully understand how addictive these drugs can be, and they are often prescribed for pain that can be managed with less risky medication,” noted Dr. Thomas Frieden, head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which gathered data from death certificates.
“They are useful for cancer, but if you have terrible back pain or migraines, using these can be dangerous.”
"The big picture is that this is a big problem that has gotten much worse quickly, and shows a need for more prescription drug monitoring programs at the state level, and more laws shutting down "pill mills" - doctor offices and pharmacies that over-prescribe addictive medicines." he added.