The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism report that between 1999 and 2008 hospital visits for either alcohol or drug overdoses have increased at alarming rates for 18-24 year olds. The study led by Aaron M. White, Ph.D proves that there has been a 25% increase in hospital overdoses related to alcohol abuse, a 56% increase for drug overdoses and a 76% increase for a combination of drugs and alcohol. This research is proof that there is drastic increase in people who are combining drugs and alcohol.
Part of the reason this number has increased so much is due to the prescription drug abuse epidemic occurring throughout the country. Consequently stronger efforts are being put in place to educate the general public as well as medical practitioners about the dangers of alcohol abuse, prescription drug abuse or the combination of the two.
Mixing alcohol with prescription drugs is especially dangerous because both will negatively affect the part of a person’s brain that regulates breathing and other vital functions.
To help curb the alarming increase of hospital visits for alcohol and prescription drug overdoses medical professionals are starting to perform screenings in an attempt to identify patients who are likely to abuse alcohol and mix alcohol with prescription drugs. Dr. White states, “Clinicians should use brief intervention techniques to help young adults evaluate their relationship with alcohol and other drugs and make wise choices regarding future use.”
While education is likely the key to teaching and preventing individuals from falling into the traps of addiction for those who are already struggling with addiction to alcohol, drugs or both it may be necessary to get help through the course of addiction treatment.
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