Study Finds Increasing Amount of Deaths Due to Sedative ODs

The study’s authors encouraged parents to keep the drugs out of the reach of their children.

While painkiller abuse is getting more national attention, deaths from sedatives are similarly rising at an alarming rate.

A new study found that sedative drugs like Xanax, Valium and Ativan were responsible for more than 30 percent of overdose deaths from prescription drugs in 2013, according to CBS News.

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The study, which used the results of a Medical Expenditure Panel survey and data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, found that the 2013 overdose rate for sedatives in the U.S. was more than four times the 1996 rate.

The sedative overdose numbers are in part a reflection of the increased percentage of people being prescribed these drugs. The study found that five percent of American adults filled sedative prescriptions in 2013.

“Benzodiazepines [or sedatives] are commonly prescribed agents and should be used judiciously,” said Dr. Scott Krakower, the assistant unit chief of psychiatry at Zucker Hillside Hospital in New Hyde Park, N.Y.

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The researchers said the rate of overdoses is rising particularly quickly among people 65 or older and among blacks and Hispanics.

The study was first published in the American Journal of Public Health on Feb. 18.

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