Fueled by misperceptions about prescription drug safety, opioid abuse is reaching epidemic proportions, and prescription drugs are misused and abused more often than any other drug, except marijuana and alcohol. Prescription drug abuse-related emergency department visits and treatment admissions have risen significantly in recent years. Other negative outcomes that may result from prescription drug misuse and abuse include overdose and death, falls and fractures in older adults, and, for some, initiating injection drug use with resulting risk for infections such as hepatitis C and HIV.
The following resources are provided to help you understand this issues and cope with the epidemic.
ENA Position Statement: Patients with Substance Use Disorders and Addiction in the Emergency Care Setting (2016)
Substance use disorders contributing to abuse, addiction, and their related consequences pose a significant and escalating public health problem that impacts the emergency care setting. In its most recent published report, the Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) estimated that 5.1 million drug-related emergency department (ED) visits occurred nationwide in 2011.