Doctors call for rethink after large study finds prescribed pills could be associated with up to 0.5m extra deaths a year in US
The study was carried out in the US, where up to 10% of the adult population took sleeping pills in 2010. The authors estimate that sleeping pills may have been associated with 320,000 to 507,000 extra deaths in the US that year.
And that\’s two a lots. Lots of people and lots of deaths. However, there\’s a little problem as far as I can see.
Deaths and Mortality
(Data are for the U.S. and are final 2009 data; For the most recent preliminary data see Deaths: Preliminary Data for 2010 Adobe PDF file [PDF - 724 KB])
* Number of deaths: 2,437,163
Perhaps there\’s something I\’m missing here but I just can\’t see how something that 10% of the population does accounts for 20% of all deaths.
It\’s certainly possible if it\’s something new: 10% of the population could get some lurgy that kills them outright immediately and that could be 20% of deaths in that year. But I\’m not sure that I can see that something ongoing, something that\’s been happening for decades, can, if only 10% of the population do it lead to 20% of the deaths.
Help me out here. What is it that I\’m missing?