Last week, Anna Nicole Smith’s autopsy report came out and ruled her death an “accidental” overdose. Anna Nicole had nine presciption drugs in her body at the time of her death, according to the report. All of the drugs were at normal prescribed levels, but the combination turned out to be deadly. The About Alcoholism & Substance Abuse blog has more on the specific drugs found.
While it is unknown, and not for us to speculate, how Anna Nicole obtained her prescriptions (i.e., from one doctor, from multiple pharmacies, etc.), most of these drugs have specific warnings not to combine with certain other drugs. If a doctor or pharmacist is unaware of other existing prescriptions or if a patient does not read the directions and warnings on her prescriptions, it is difficult to prevent situations like Anna Nicole’s tragic death.
Here are some interesting findings* about girls, women and prescription drugs:
- Women are up to 48 percent more likely than men to be prescribed a narcotic, antianxiety, or other potentially abusable drug.
- Women who use sedatives, antianxiety drugs or hypnotics are almost twice as likely as men to become addicted to these drugs.
- More than 7.5 million girls and women a year misuse or abuse prescription drugs.
- Teenage girls are more likely than teenage boys to use prescription drugs for non-medical reasons.
*These stats were taken from Women Under the Influence by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University.