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This Common Drug Combo Raises Your Risk of Lethal Overdose Fivefold

combination of opioids and benzos

Story at-a-glance -

  • Drug overdoses are the leading cause of death among Americans under the age of 50. Opioids are responsible for nearly two-thirds of these deaths, but benzodiazepine (“benzos”) overdoses are also on the rise
  • Benzo prescriptions tripled from 1996 to 2013, but this doesn't fully account for the uptick in overdoses, which quadrupled during that time
  • A number of studies have highlighted the deadly risks you take when combining opioids with benzos. During the first 90 days of concurrent use, your risk of a deadly overdose rises fivefold, compared to taking an opioid alone
  • The combination of opioids and benzos is the most common drug combination in cases where an overdose death involved two or more drugs; more than 30 percent of opioid overdoses also involve benzos
  • The ratio of patients using opioids and benzos concurrently rose from 9 percent in 2001 to 17 percent in 2013; concurrent use for at least one day doubled the odds of an opioid overdose compared to taking opioids alone

By Dr. Mercola

Drug overdoses are now the leading cause of death among Americans under the age of 50. Preliminary data for 2016 reveals the death toll may be as high as 65,000 — a 19 percent increase in a single year. Opioids, narcotic pain killers, are responsible for nearly two-thirds, about 42,000, of these deaths. Between 2002 and 2015, more than 202,600 Americans died from opioid overdoses.4


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