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A recent report filed by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) notes that forty percent of the 119,000 mentions of narcotic pain medications in emergency rooms around the country involved either oxycodone or hydrocodone. These drugs are commonly marketed under a number of brand names, including Vicodin, OxyContin, and Percocet and are readily prescribed for acute pain.|
According to the statistics outline in this report, 47,594 mentions of these two narcotic pain medications in 42,808 emergency room visits related to drug abuse of these widely-used drugs. Alarmingly, about three-quarters of those visits also involved abuse of another drug.
Doctors and public health officials indicate that the rise in abuse of these medications has been consistently evident since 1994.
The abuse of narcotic pain relievers is a serious and growing public health problem," SAMHSA Administrator Charles Curie noted. "Narcotic pain medications are wonders of modern medicine for patients with serious pain who are under the care of physicians. When diverted from their legitimate use, however, they are highly addictive narcotics that the body perceives exactly as if the person were taking heroin."
Abusers are also adding alcohol to the mix, producing a combination that’s highly dangerous. Of the 42,808 drug-abuse related visits to emergency rooms involving either oxycodone or hydrocodone, 3,000 involved the use of both drugs simultaneously and alcohol was present in 33 percent of emergency room visits involving oxycodone and 31 percent of visits involving hydrocodone. Cocaine and marijuana entered the picture in about 7 to14 percent of the visits. Other individuals were abusing anti-anxiety medications along with the painkillers.
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