Data Shows 38% of the 280,000 People Hospitalized Annually in the U.S. for Drug Poisoning Have Taken Overdoses of Psychiatric Medications

The U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) reports that more than 280,000 Americans were admitted to hospitals in the U.S. for medication-related poisoning in 2003. 

Slightly over half of those cases (51%), about 143,000, were either suicides or attempted suicides.

Of those patients poisoned by medications, about 106,000 (37%) were psychiatric drug poisonings and 63 % of those (over 67,000) were suicides or suicide attempts.

Of the 176,000 poisonings with non-psychiatric medicines, 38% (about 66,000), were suicides or suicide attempts.

The national cost for treating patients for drug poisoning, including hospital stays, was nearly $3.7 billion in 2003.

These statistics are from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample part of AHRQ’s Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP).

HCUP comprises a group of databases and related software tools developed through a federal-state-industry partnership sponsored by AHRQ.  It includes the largest set of publicly available databases on hospital inpatients in the United States, regardless of type of insurance or whether the patients had insurance.

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