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Format: 04/19/2014
Format: 04/19/2014


KDKA-TV: Americans Poisoning Themselves With Painkillers

Wednesday, April 7th, 2010

Are Americans poisoning themselves with prescription painkillers?

Researchers say there's an alarming trend growing across the U.S.

"Every day in the emergency department here, we see a patient who has taken too many Percocet or Oxycodone or one of their painkillers or one of their sedatives, like Ativan or Valium, or combined those medications and comes in unresponsive," Dr. Fred Harchelroad, an ER doctor at Allegheny General Hospital, said.

This is increasingly the pattern. Sometimes it's intentional, but mostly it's unintentional poisoning with painkillers and sedatives.

"They just inadvertently will take both of them at the same time, or take another one too soon after the first dose, and those effects will hit them all at once," Harchelroad said.

In the American Journal of Preventative Medicine, researchers at WVU say city-living middle-aged women are especially at risk.

"People really want some control over their own lives, control the pain they're having, the symptoms they're having, so they're going to utilize these medications," Harchelroad explained.

To read more, visit the KDKA website.

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