Retrospective case series analysis of characteristics and trends in unintentional pharmaceutical drug poisoning by methadone, opioid analgesics, antidepressants and benzodiazepines in Clark County, NV 2009-13.J Public Health (Oxf). 2017 06 01; 39(2):304-311.JP
Poisoning has become the leading cause of injury death in the USA-with opioid analgesic involved in more fatal poisonings than any other drug, including cocaine and heroin. The epidemic of prescription drug poisonings is a public health concern. This study aimed to define potential high-risk groups for unintentional prescription drug poisoning by methadone, opioid analgesics, antidepressants or benzodiazepines.
A hospital-based retrospective case series analysis of admissions related to prescription drug poisonings associated with methadone, opioid analgesics, antidepressants or benzodiazepines for hospitals in Clark County, Nevada between 2009 and 2013 was employed.
There were 7414 admissions with a primary diagnosis of an unintentional poisoning due to methadone, opioid analgesics, antidepressants or benzodiazepines. Women had the highest rate of admissions particularly in the 45-54 age group. Higher rates of admissions were also found among non-Hispanic whites, single and uninsured populations. There were concerning increases in admissions among 65+ and Native American/Alaskan Native subgroups in 2013. Benzodiazepines and opioid analgesics were the most prevalent drug categories for prescription drug poisoning admissions.
Public health professionals can utilize hospital data to identify populations at risk and in need of targeted interventions.