© Hotshot Images by AKVNEWS/Paul R. Lowes/Staff Photographer 12:04 am
WESTMORELAND COUNTY, Pa. – The Westmoreland County Office of the Coroner has released the fatal drug overdose statistics for the first six months of 2014 for Westmoreland County. Coroner Ken Bacha reports there were 41 fatal drug overdoses confirmed and there are eight additional suspected overdoses that are pending toxicology based upon scene investigation.
Of those forty one confirmed fatal drug overdoses, 19 are heroin, 21 prescription, and 1 cocaine. Total overdoses for the year 2013 were 86.
According to the Centers for Disease and Control (CDC), deaths from drug overdose have been rising steadily over the past two decades and have become the leading cause of injury death in the United States. Every day in the United States, 113 people die as a result of drug overdose, and another 6,748 are treated in emergency departments (ED) for the misuse or abuse of drugs.2 Nearly 9 out of 10 poisoning deaths are caused by drugs.
•Drug overdose was the leading cause of injury death in 2011. Among people 25 to 64 years old, drug overdose caused more deaths than motor vehicle traffic crashes.
•Drug overdose death rates have been rising steadily since 1992 with a 118% increase from 1999 to 2011 alone.
•In 2011, 33,071 (80%) of the 41,340 drug overdose deaths in the United States were unintentional, 5,298 (12.8%) were of suicidal intent, 80 (0.2%) were homicides, and 2,891 (7%) were of undetermined intent.
•In 2011, drug misuse and abuse caused about 2.5 million emergency department (ED) visits. Of these, more than 1.4 million ED visits were related to pharmaceuticals.
•Between 2004 and 2005, an estimated 71,000 children (18 or younger) were seen in EDs each year because of medication overdose (excluding self-harm, abuse and recreational drug use).
•Among children under age 6, pharmaceuticals account for about 40% of all exposures reported to poison centers.
Most Common Drugs involved in Overdoses
•In 2011, of the 41,340 drug overdose deaths in the United States, 22,810 (55%) were related to pharmaceuticals.
•Of the 22,810 deaths relating to pharmaceutical overdose in 2011, 16,917 (74%) involved opioid analgesics (also called opioid pain relievers or prescription painkillers), and 6,872 (30%) involved benzodiazepines.1 (Some deaths include more than one type of drug.)
•In 2011, about 1.4 million ED visits involved the nonmedical use of pharmaceuticals. Among those ED visits, 501,207 visits were related to anti-anxiety and insomnia medications, and 420,040 visits were related to opioid analgesics.
•Benzodiazepines are frequently found among people treated in EDs for misusing or abusing drugs.2 People who died of drug overdoses often had a combination of benzodiazepines and opioid analgesics in their bodies.