Legal and Illegal: Emergency Room Visits for Various Drugs

Comments (6)

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  1. Brian says:

    I’m not at all surprised that pain medications and anti-anxiety drugs are on the list. Many people are using or overusing those drugs that probably shouldn’t.

    On the other hand, Marijuana shouldn’t put anyone in the emergency room…..many of them probably end up so paranoid that they think there is something wrong with them when they’re just high.

    And the Heroin number is quite alarming when considering how few people actually use it (think ER visits per user).

  2. Devon Herrick says:

    This is consistant with other research that found prescription pain killers and sleeping aids are responsible for more emergency room visits than illegal drugs.

  3. Linda Gorman says:

    There’s a lively black market in prescription pain killers and, of course, this chart doesn’t bother to distinguish between ED visits for legal use and ED visits for abuse.

    Ginning up a frenzy about this would be a nice way to generate support legislative proposals to require biometric identifiers in order to get prescription meds. Abuse increases health care costs and, therefore, must be fought even if it means making ordinary people put their lives into a database in order to get their meds.

    Never mind that voting without ID is treated as some sort of civil right.

  4. Brian says:

    Linda, I disagree. I think you’re putting cost-saving above individual privacy rights – I understand that saving $$$ on healthcare is important (it is), but does it really rise to the level of importance that we are going to monitor the population’s prescription purchasing on the whole?

    Such a policy would be just plain creepy and invasive.
    You see, they are not just going to try to monitor how many antidepressants, painkillers, etc. people are buying. They will start with that, and later they will want to monitor everything else. Unacceptable, either way. Not in my free republic. Fiscal conservatism doesn’t outweigh the right to not live in a surveillance state.

    Finally, people will get their drugs one way or another and there will always be plenty of overdoses and cases of misuse. They’ll lie to doctors, organize fraud rings,……it’s what people do.

    At the end of the day, the biometric-identifier-monitoring policy will fail to stop or significantly reduce the ER visits and people will lose a little bit more freedom.

  5. Linda Gorman says:

    Brian, I agree completely. Was just stating the other side’s arguments.

    I am a fairly vocal opponent of the biometric ID push going on in my state. People should not have to give up privacy in exchange for getting medical care. It’s also too high a price to pay for preventing drug abuse (even assuming it would work, which, as we all know, isn’t particularly sensible).

  6. Brian says:

    My apologies, I misunderstood you, Linda. Good to hear that you are a vocal opponent of those things. There’s no telling how far these things are going to go.