Emergency Department Visits and Overdose Deaths From Combined Use of Opioids and Benzodiazepines.Am J Prev Med. 2015 Oct; 49(4):493-501.AJ
Opioid analgesics and benzodiazepines are the prescription drugs most commonly associated with drug overdose deaths. This study was conducted to assess trends in nonmedical use-related emergency department (ED) visits and drug overdose deaths that involved both opioid analgesics and benzodiazepines in the U.S. from 2004 to 2011.
Opioid analgesic and benzodiazepine nonmedical use-related ED visits from the Drug Abuse Warning Network and drug overdose deaths from the National Vital Statistics System were analyzed for 2004-2011 to determine trends and demographic-specific rates. Data were analyzed from March 2014 to June 2014.
From 2004 to 2011, the rate of nonmedical use-related ED visits involving both opioid analgesics and benzodiazepines increased from 11.0 to 34.2 per 100,000 population (p-trend<0.0001). During the same period, drug overdose deaths involving both drugs increased from 0.6 to 1.7 per 100,000 (p-trend<0.0001). Statistically significant increases in ED visits occurred among males and females, non-Hispanic whites, non-Hispanic blacks, and Hispanics, and all age groups except 12- to 17-year-olds. For overdose deaths, statistically significant increases were seen in males and females, all three race/ethnicity groups, and all age groups except 12- to 17-year-olds. Benzodiazepine involvement in opioid analgesic overdose deaths increased each year, increasing from 18% of opioid analgesic overdose deaths in 2004 to 31% in 2011 (p-trend<0.0001).
ED visits and drug overdose deaths involving both opioid analgesics and benzodiazepines increased significantly between 2004 and 2011. Interventions to improve the appropriate prescribing and use of these medications are needed.