Fatal drug overdose: Not all fatalities are caused by drugs

Because there are no definitive causes of drug overdose experts estimate that as many as 1. 7 million Americans a year are dying from drug overdose. Drug overdose is the third leading cause of death among U. S. military personnel. A common side effect is acute respiratory distress syndrome or ARDS from excessive nystagmus or coughing and often regarded as the most severe form of the condition. The main treatment is supportive care but one study examined the potential benefit of most trials.

Assessing the effectiveness of supportive care.

Patients who died from drug overdose had more extensive oncological and psychosocial injuries lower odds of surviving for more than 6 months following a single dose and shorter hospital stays than patients who died from a drug overdose with no treatment said Marine C. Pescetier Ph. D. an OBGYN at Memorial Sloan Kettering and co-corresponding author of the research.

Care alone isnt the option.

Drug overdose is an obvious cause of death so we asked if we could improve drug overdose deaths by adding to and bolting the drug overdose treatment onto supportive care such as attending a rehabilitation center or a drug-assisted rehab program said Dr. Pescetier.

Such a program would provide patients access to community-based therapy and mental health services and would give them a safe place to seek care for addiction.

The study used 2010 guidelines from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American College of Surgeons for the analysis of more than 1. 1 million drug overdose deaths. Among the 5. 3 million drug overdose deaths almost 1. 2 million occurred with no treatment such as insufflation therapy. This compares with 1. 4 million deaths without treatment and treatment with only supportive care. For drug overdose with no treatment but with supportive care 33 percent were in the hospital and 22. 2 percent were in the community. For drug overdose with no treatment but with supportive care the rate rose to 26 percent but did not reach 28 percent.

For ARDS with no treatment the rates were 28. 2 percent and 27. 4 percent. For ARDS with no treatment and treatment only ARDS reached 28. 4 percent but did not reach 28. 3 percent.

Considering the need for prevention Dr. Pescetier said a major reason many drug overdose deaths occur is the lack of rapid access to addiction recovery. The last thing many people want when they die is to think I survived because of my friends who saved my life and my family who supported me he said.

One solution to this problem would be to reduce the health care cost so that it does not take the drug industry or the medical system time and money to establish and maintain a drug overdose treatment. The cost of addressing an overdose is just too high Dr. Pescetier said.