On the Today Show this morning: The rate of baby-boomers checking themselves into detox units has doubled.
• admissions for heroin addiction: doubled from 1992 to 2008
• admissions for cocaine: quadrupled
• admissions for prescription drug abuse: quintupled
From the Today Show’s resident physician, Nancy Snyderman: “Patients want to go to their doctors and say, ‘Give me something, I can’t sleep. Give me something, I’m anxious.’ Doctors don’t want the pressure and say, ‘Sure, here’s your prescription, but I’m only giving it to you for two times.’ Then patients go doctor-shopping. And we are all complicit.”
Then she brings up Heath Ledger. Which is interesting, because so did the Time article we talked about yesterday. Heath Ledger died in 2008 aged 28 from an overdose of oxycodone, hydrocodone, Valium, Xanax, and a couple other drugs, according to the New York City medical examiner’s office. Said Snyderman:
Everyone should think about Heath Ledger. That was an accidental overdose that a lot of people who have affluence and means and a couple extra dollars can be a pill combination away from. If women think, “Oh, this can’t happen to me”—remember the last time you blew $60 on some fancy face lotion? If you’ll do that, you’ll spend $60 on a prescription medication. So we can’t all say it’s people we don’t know—it’s your next-door neighbor.