The journal Archives of Internal Medicine (July 28,2008) has published a comprehensive study on the misuse of prescription or over-the-counter medications. The study has indictated that over the last 20 years deaths from mixing medications and alcohol or street drugs has increased over 3200 percent. This study is lead by University of California sociologist David Philips.
Philips has suggested that health providers must take more responsibility to warn and advise patients about the dangers of mixing medications with alcohol and street drugs. This is especially true given the dramatic shift from inpatient treament to outpatient procedures. Because more and more patients are recovering at home, the burden of properly administering medications has more often landed directly in the patients hands. A high profile case noted by Philips is Heath Ledger who accidentally died from the misuse of a number of drugs taken together including sleeping pills and painkillers.
This study clearly indicates that patients are prone to making far more mistakes than anyone had thought. Even for deaths relating to drug misuse where alcohol and/or street drugs were not involved increased dramatically. This category of deaths rose 564 percent.
If either you or someone you know has a drug related problem, you can find help at the www.resistaddiction.com or many other such sites on the web.
You can read more about this article at: http://archinte.ama-assn.org/