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Prescription Drug Overdoses Number One Reason for ER Visits in Los Angeles County

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Prescription drug overdoses are the number one reason for emergency room visits in Los Angeles County, according to public health officials.

A new report finds the number of people who checked into publicly funded drug rehabilitation programs for prescription pain reliever abuse doubled from 2005 to 2010, NBC Los Angeles reports. More than 60 percent of drug-related deaths in 2011 were due to prescription drugs in Los Angeles County.

The report found 11 percent of 9th graders and 14 percent of 11th graders said they had misused prescription drugs at least once.

“Prescription drug abuse has become a growing public health concern in Los Angeles County. Many people are not aware that the misuse or abuse of prescription drugs can be as dangerous as illegal drugs, and can lead to unintended injury, addiction, and even death,” Jonathan E. Fielding, MD, MPH, Director of Public Health and Health Officer, said in a news release. “We need to ensure that we are addressing this growing concern by engaging and collaborating with our partners in the public and private sectors to reduce and prevent prescription drug abuse.”

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