Tenn. residents take most drugs in U.S.

According to a new study by BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, the state's citizens use more prescription drugs per person than any other in the U.S. Tennesseans average 17.3 prescriptions per citizen, fueling the state's $7 billion prescription bill in 2005. The national average is 11.3 prescriptions per person, an astonishing figure in and of itself, but one dwarfed by Tennessee's usage.

The prescription figure might suggest, at a quick glance, that the average Tennessee resident takes 17.3 prescriptions daily. However, a possible flaw in the data is that the figure includes everything from severely ill people taking dozens of drugs a day to individuals who refill a single prescription each month (and are counted as having 12 prescriptions in a given year).

Still, it seems that Tennessee residents aren't healthy as compared with other U.S. states, ranking 47th nationwide on the health of its residents. Residents also rank very high on rates of such ills as drug-resistant infections and accidental drug overdoses. What's more, the state isn't doing enough to track prescription trends and intervene when doctors are over-prescribing.

For more data on Tennessee drug use:
- read this article from The Tennessean

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