Findings published in the July 28 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine show that the death rate due to FMEs climbed over 360%. Breaking the data down further, the study found:
There has been a sharp increase in the number of fatal drug overdoses ... occurring in the home.
- At-home deaths from overdoses from a combination of prescription drugs and alcohol or illicit drugs increased by over 3100%.
- FMEs occurring away from home but in combination with alcohol and/or drugs climbed by 555%.
- FMEs not occurring at home and not in combination with alcohol and/or street drugs increased just 5%, so such deaths rarely occur in a hospital or clinic setting.
- Even without concurrent drug and/or alcohol use, FMEs from prescription drug use rose 564% over the period studied.
Unfortunately, few clinical studies examine the combined effects of medications with illicit drug use, so precise data is scarce. The only sure preventive is patient education regarding the risks of combined drug use, particularly in combination with illegal drugs.