March 27, 2012

Study: Doctors primed for pivotal role in substance abuse education

A recent study found that climbing hospitalization rates for both drug and alcohol overdoses in young adults suggests doctors can be a major player in educating the public about the dangers of the substances.

According to The Partnership at Drugfree.org, the study found hospitalization rates for both drug and alcohol overdoses increased 76 percent in those 18 to 24 years old from 1999 to 2008. If looking at simply alcohol overdoses in the same time period, it also increased 25 percent; drug overdoses increased 55 percent.

Narcotic pain medication poisonings increased 122 percent, according to the study.

Study author Aaron White, Ph.D., Health Scientist Administrator at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism told The Partnership at Drugfree.org that doctors are a perfectly primed to help lower those statistics because they can educate the public on dangerous drug combinations and other dangers.

“Doctors are in a perfect position to educate patients about the medications they are receiving and how they might interact with alcohol,” White says. “Prescription bottles may warn people not to take the drugs with alcohol, but they don’t explain why it’s dangerous or how dangerous it might be.

“And alcohol labels don’t warn you not to drink and take drugs together. Most people don’t realize that if they consume alcohol even at moderate levels, they could end up with toxic side effects if they combine it with the wrong medication.”

The entire study was published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.

To read the full article on White’s study, click here.

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