Understanding Drug Dependence
Prescription Drug Addiction Statistics Put Xanax in Fourth Place in Florida Overdoses
Although Xanax isn’t all over the news like OxyContin, 456 Floridians overdosed on Xanax in 2006, according to a report from the Florida Medical Examiners Commission. Xanax, also known as Alprazolam, is prescribed for anxiety. It affects the brain and central nervous system. Drowsiness, coordination difficulties and dizziness are the most common side effects, although there is a host of others - more serious. Xanax overdose statistics are just behind those of OxyContin, giving us even more reason to take prescription drug addiction and abuse seriously.
In addition to the common side effects listed above, Xanax can cause vision difficulties, seizures, mental confusion, depression, irritability, nervousness, sleep problems, stupor, nausea, muscle spasms, palpitations, tachycardia, incontinence, rashes, and unstable blood sugar levels. And that’s the short list.
Why in the world anyone would want to take this drug to relieve anxiety is beyond me – just knowing the potential side effects is enough to bring on a panic attack. And to make matters worse, you could become one of the prescription drug addiction statistics we’re all hearing about in the news.
Nevertheless, Xanax is the fifth-most commonly prescribed drug in America, according IMS Health. In the last five years, the number of prescriptions filled has gone from 29.9 million to 37.5 million. And in Florida, it’s number four on the overdose list – the top three being cocaine, methadone and oxycodone-type drugs such as OxyContin.
Despite the increase in Xanax prescriptions, it’s not because anxiety levels have increased says Dr. Bruce Goldberger, a toxicologist and director of forensic medicine at the University of Florida College of Medicine, "People aren't any more anxious. But patients are being prescribed more and more medication in the past decade."
Recent news articles have focused on Xanax and DUI. The Pinellas-Pasco Medical Examiners Office reported that Xanax was found in 177 drivers suspected of driving under the influence. And that’s just in Pinellas County. Nine years ago, there were only four such incidents. The reason, say the experts, is that doctors just weren’t writing as many prescriptions back then.
If you want to do something about prescription drug addiction and abuse in your family or among your friends, contact a medical drug detox center and get help. If enough people do that, maybe next year the death toll will be lower.