Emergency departments see increased visits involving the nonmedical use of sedative alprazolam
The number of emergency department visits involving non-medical use of the sedative alprazolam doubled from 57,419 to 124,902 during the years 2005 to 2010, and then remained stable at 123,744 in 2011, according to a new report issued today by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
In 2011, there were over 1,200,000 emergency department visits overall related to the nonmedical use of prescription drugs.
Alprazolam, otherwise known as Xanax, Xanax XR, and Niravam, was the 13th most commonly sold medication in 2012, and was the psychiatric medication most commonly prescribed in 2011.
“When used as directed, alprazolam is safe and effective, but misuse can result in serious health consequences,” said SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde. “This report highlights the need to educate people about the dangers of misusing or sharing prescription medications and the importance of properly disposing of unused medication.”
The report entitled, Emergency Department Visits Involving Nonmedical Use of the Anti-anxiety Medication Alprazolam, is based on data from SAMHSA’s 2011 Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) – a public health surveillance system that monitors drug-related emergency department visits in the United States.