New Study Outlines Cost of Prescription Drug Abuse

By Staff Writer

With prescription drug addiction becoming a more common issue, a new study published in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine found that the problem is costing hospitals and healthcare providers staggering amounts of money each year.

A team of investigators from the Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital examined data from a 2007 survey of hospital emergency rooms from across the country. The findings showed that overdoses of prescription medications in that one year resulted in 700,000 hospital visits and cost $1.4 billion.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse now ranks prescription medications as the second most commonly abused drug behind only marijuana. The researchers said that, combined with these findings, this underscores the need for large-scale public health initiatives aimed at reducing the number of people who intentionally misuse prescription drugs.

Such efforts could help more individuals avoid becoming dependant on these highly addictive drugs and needing drug rehab treatment. The researchers said that, unlike heroin and cocaine, prescription drug addiction has the potential to affect anyone, even children.