Without extreme caution, prescription medication can be very dangerous. High-tech pill packaging, such as Rx Timer Cap, were introduced in order to reduce patient error when consuming medication at home. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to have worked.
Between 2000 and 2012, medication errors have doubled nationwide. 67,000 incidents have occurred, resulting in 414 accidental deaths, based on a Poison Control Center study (NPR.org, 12 July 2017). Sadly, a great deal of these deaths could have easily been avoided, and even the non-fatal accidents are often quite serious. “We know that a third of the cases in this study resulted in hospital admissions, so these aren’t minor errors,” according to lead author Nichole Hodges, a research scientist at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. It should be noted that many cases go unreported: “Since we’re only including … errors that are reported to poison control centers, it’s an underestimate of the true number.”
The reported findings are particularly worrisome given the country’s opioid-addiction crisis. In fact, young white adults are dying as a result of drug overdose at rates not seen since the AIDS epidemic. In fact, 12% of medication errors occur with painkillers, this is second only to those caused by cardiovascular drugs (21%). Taken together, both were the culprits of two-thirds of the reported deaths.