US policy on prescription drug abuse: tackling an unique and significant problem

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The fact that drug overdoses are the second largest cause of premature death from unintentional injuries in the US (for example, in 2010 there was 38,329 drug overdose deaths) is not a surprising statistic. What may surprise readers is that of these deaths 22,134 were attributed to prescription drugs. Indeed, almost one and a half [read the full story...]

Psychiatric drugs make up a bigger proportion of all prescription costs than they did a decade ago

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There continues to be a considerable amount of debate about the amount of psychiatric medication that is prescribed and how much it costs. Statistics from a number of countries have shown that many classes of drugs are being prescribed more and more, including antidepressants, antipsychotics and stimulants. Of course, as populations grow, people live longer [read the full story...]

Psychiatric drugs are as effective as other drugs, says new review of meta-analyses

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There’s an interesting review in the British Journal of Psychiatry this week, which compares the effectiveness of psychiatric drugs with those used to treat physical health problems. The headline from the review is that ‘psychiatric drugs are as effective as other drugs’. Professor Stefan Leucht who led the review team claims that: There is a [read the full story...]

Moving towards evidence-based drug policy: new paper in the Lancet

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Evidence-based drug policy is a phrase you don’t read that often. Many searches for this phrase return articles that explore why we don’t have evidence-based policies for illicit drugs and why the evidence base is weak in this area. A group of international researchers and policy makers (including two UK-based professionals) are trying to buck [read the full story...]

Long term dependence on benzodiazepines is addressed by two new reports

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A Department of Health press release published today highlights two new reports on addiction to prescription and over-the-counter drugs. People can become dependent on tranquilisers, sleeping pills and opiate based painkillers, such as codeine, particularly if taken at high doses for prolonged periods. Long-term dependence on substances such as benzodiazepines has been identified as a particular [read the full story...]