4 Ways to Prevent Medical Mistakes
“Prescription pain medications kill twice as many people as cocaine [and] five times as many people as heroin every single year,” E.R. physician Dr. Travis Stork says.
“Someone dies every 19 minutes from some sort of misuse of prescription drugs,” CNN’s chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, adds.
Osteopathic physician Dr. Lisa Tseng has been charged with three counts of second-degree murder after three of her patients, including a college senior named Joey Rovero, allegedly died from prescription drug overdoses. Dr. Tseng is currently awaiting trial for the charges against her.
• Learn about April's fight to end prescription drug abuse by supporting the National Coalition Against Prescription Drug Abuse (NCAPDA).
• Pediatrician Dr. Jim Sears' tips for preventing an accidental drug poisoning.
Dr. Gupta has been on the frontlines of the investigation into painkillers being overprescribed across the United States.
“What we found, as part of this investigation, is that if you just took [the prescribed] pain medications alone, forgetting all the anti-anxiety medications or other pills, and you looked at the number of prescriptions, it could give everyone in this country enough pain medications to take every four hours for a month,” Dr. Gupta explains.
“Most people have no idea how dangerous this is," Dr. Gupta adds. "We talk about celebrities [and] we talk about addicts. [Prescription drug overdoses are] happening to real people who are neither one of those things. Addicts, in some ways, have more tolerance to these medications," Dr. Gupta continues.
“It is the people who take these [medicines] for the first time and combine it, thinking [since] a doctor gave this to me, it's fine. I don't need to worry about it," Dr. Gupta says. "And they do."