Prescription drugs involved in 82% of overdose deaths, Victoria (Australia) coroner says
Benzodiazepines were most commonly implicated in toxic deaths.23 Mar 2015
The number of deaths associated with prescription drugs used to treat stress, anxiety and insomnia are increasing at a “frightening” rate, a coroner has told attendees at a medical conference in Melbourne.
Prescription drugs were involved in 82% of the 384 overdose deaths investigated by the Victorian coroner’s court in 2014, Audrey Jamieson told the International Medicine in Addiction conference on Saturday.
This was 6% higher than the rate of deaths involving prescription drugs in 2011, she said, and almost double the number of deaths in which illicit drugs were involved.
Benzodiazepines were most commonly implicated in toxic deaths, Jamieson said, a class of drugs which includes the medicine more commonly known as Xanax, Serepax and Valium, prescribed for anxiety, panic and sleep disorders.
The drugs were involved in 55% of overdose deaths investigated by the court last year, compared with 49.7% four years ago.
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