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Friday, April 6, 2012

More Prescription Painkiller Prescriptions Than Ever

Sadly, the number of painkillers being prescribed across the country is on the rise due to an aging population with pain problems as well as the rise of people addicted to prescription opiates, according to an analysis by the Associated Press. Rural areas are some of the hardest hit which is the result of a lack of street drugs like heroin being available.

There has been a large increase in the distribution of oxycodone between 2000 and 2010 in many areas. Hydrocodone use is rising in Appalachia and in the Midwest, the AP found, after analyzing data from the Drug Enforcement Administration.

The increase in prescription painkiller has resulted in more overdoses and pharmacy robberies, the article notes. In the past ten years, prescription opiate overdoses more than tripled, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

An estimated 14,800 people died in the United States from painkiller overdoses in 2008, more than a threefold jump from the 4,000 deaths recorded in 1999, the CDC said in a report released last November. The need for a national prescription drug monitoring system is great, 48 states have prescription drug monitoring programs, but few are linked together; according to the AP.

More people now die from painkillers than from heroin and cocaine combined.

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