A new report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) shows that 32 percent of hospital emergency department visits involving benzodiazepines resulted in serious medical outcomes such as hospitalization (or in rare cases death).
In emergency department visits involving the use of benzodiazepines in combination with opioid pain relievers the risk of a serious outcome rose to 44 percent. Similarly, 44 percent of emergency department visits associated with the combined use of benzodiazepines and alcohol resulted in serious medical outcomes. Serious health results occurred in 50 percent of hospital emergency visits involving the combined use of benzodiazepines, opioid pain relievers and alcohol. This report only analyzed emergency department visits involving benzodiazepines alcohol and opioids.
The report entitled, Benzodiazepines in Combination with Opioid Pain Relievers or Alcohol: Greater Risk of More Serious Emergency Department Visit Outcomes is based on findings from the 2005 to 2011 Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) reports. DAWN is a public health surveillance system that monitored drug-related morbidity and mortality through reports from a network of hospitals across the nation. In 2011 DAWN reported that there were approximately 5 million substance-related visits to hospital emergency departments.
Source: Substance Abuse Mental Health Service Administration – December 18, 2014