Opioids implicated in polypharmacy deaths

Data for 11 years to the end of 2010 showed prescription opioid painkillers have driven the year-by-year steady rise in drug overdose deaths.

In 30% of fatalities, patients overdosing with opioid analgesics were also taking benzodiazepines, the study showed.

In addition, opioids were present in 65.5% of deaths involving anti-epileptic and anti-parkinsonism medication, in 58% of deaths involving antipsychotic and neuroleptic medication and in 57% of deaths involving antidepressants.