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Nation's ER's Report: Abuse of Anti-Anxiety Drugs Up

drug treatment center pills addiction drug rehabThe number of drug-abuse related visits to hospital emergency rooms (ERs) involving benzodiazepine medications exceeded 100,000 in 2002, a 41 percent increase since 1995, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration's Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN). Nearly half of the emergency department (ED) visits involving benzodiazapines -- which include such psychotherapeutic sedatives as Valium, Xanax, Klonopin, and Ativan -- were connected with suicidal ideation, gestures or attempts.

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Prescription Drug Abuse in The Military

drug treatment center pills addiction drug rehabToday, some of the most pressing substance-abuse concerns in the U.S. military involve prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medications. Some health officials contend that too many troops are being authorized to take antidepressants and sleeping pills, while others are worried about the illicit sharing of prescription drugs and the overuse of OTC meds by men and women in uniform.

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For Many, Stress Leads to the Use and Abuse of Drugs, Alcohol and Tobacco...

drug treatment center pills addiction drug rehabSome of the Basic Facts
Stressful events can have a direct affect on the use of alcohol or other drugs. Stress is a major contributor to the initiation and continuation of drug addiction and alcohol abuse, as well as to relapse or a return to drug use after periods of abstinence.

Stress is one of the major factors known to cause relapse to smoking, even after prolonged periods of abstinence.

Children exposed to severe stress may be more vulnerable to drug use. A number of clinical and epidemiological studies show a strong association between psychosocial stressors early in life (e.g., parental loss, child abuse) and an increased risk for depression, anxiety, impulsive behavior, and substance abuse in adulthood.

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Nation's ER's Report: Abuse of Anti-Anxiety Drugs Up

The number of drug-abuse related visits to hospital emergency rooms (ERs) involving benzodiazepine medications exceeded 100,000 in 2002, a 41 percent increase since 1995, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration’s Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN).  Nearly half of the emergency department (ED) visits involving benzodiazapines -- which include such psychotherapeutic sedatives as Valium, Xanax, Klonopin, and Ativan -- were connected with suicidal ideation, gestures or attempts.

A new DAWN report “Demographic Characteristics of Benzodiazepine-Involved ED Visits,” released today, shows that in 2002 the highest rates of benzodiazepines-involved visits to emergency rooms were among adults age 26-44.  Between 1995 and 2002, the rates of drug-abuse related hospital emergency department visits involving benzodiazapines rose for young adults and adults age 45 and older.  The most dramatic jump in abuse came among 18-19 year olds, where the rate tripled: from under 20 per 100,000 population to nearly 60.  In comparison, patients ages 20-25 experienced a 21 percent increase from 1995 to 2002.   Those aged 45-54 also showed a marked increase in abuse, from just over 30 per 100,000 population to 55 per 100,000 population.

“The abuse of anti-anxiety medications is a serious and growing public health problem,” SAMHSA Administrator Charles Curie noted.  “Benzodiazepines are some of our most useful and most widely prescribed medications, and are wonders of modern medicine for patients with anxiety, insomnia, or seizures, who are under the care of physicians.  But as these medicines become more sophisticated and more widely present in the nation’s medicine cabinets, the danger of abuse has increased.  SAMHSA is working to provide treatment services for those who abuse benzodiazepines, and prevention activities that will educate the public about the dangers of abusing prescription medications.”

Men are now as likely as women to go to emergency rooms because of drug abuse involving benzodiazepines.  While suicide-related ER visits involving benzodiazepines remained stable between 1995 – 2002, visits attributed to drug dependence and drug-taking for psychic effects increased.  Most drug-abuse related ER visits involving benzodiazepines resulted in hospital admission, DAWN found.

DAWN measures mentions of specific illicit, prescription and over-the-counter drugs that are linked to drug abuse in visits to hospital emergency departments.  The report is available on line at www.oas.SAMHSA.gov.

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Source: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

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