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Health Agencies Update
October 26, 2011

Overdoses on the Rise

JAMA. 2011;306(16):1750. doi:10.1001/jama.2011.1539

Rates of hospitalization of young adults for overdose involving alcohol, other drugs, or a combination of the 2 have increased in the past decade, according to a study funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

An analysis of the Nationwide Inpatient Sample, a nationally representative sample of US hospitalizations, revealed that 29 412 hospitalizations for alcohol overdoses occurred in 2008, a 25% increase compared with 1999, resulting in health care costs estimated at about $266 million (White AM et al. J Stud Alcohol Drugs. 2011;72[5]:774-786). The analysis also found that 113 907 hospitalizations for drug overdoses occurred in 2008, a 55% increase over the same period, with an estimated $737 million in associated health costs. Overdoses involving both alcohol and other drugs increased the most over the decade, with 75% more such incidents (29 202 cases) in 2008, resulting in an estimated $198 million in health care costs.

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