Prescription Drugs Now Kill More People In The US Than Heroin And Cocaine Combined

Michael Kelley

Prescription opioid painkillers are responsible for more fatal overdoses in the U.S. than heroin and cocaine combined, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC).
Opioid painkillers include prescription narcotics such as like Vicodin (hydrocodone), OxyContin (oxycodone), Opana (oxymorphone) and methodone.
“An epidemic of prescription drug abuse is devastating American families and draining state and federal time, money and manpower,” Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.), chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, said in a press release.

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The authors recommended that prescription drug monitoring programs “shift from a reactive to a proactive approach” by actions such as collecting prescribing data for all controlled substances, sending alerts about possible abuse to physicians and pharmacists, analyzing trend data to help law enforcement agencies identify “pill mills” that illicitly distribute prescription painkillers.
Below is a presentation from the Pew Health Group that lays out the extent of the problem:

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DEA, 2010

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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

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Source:  Business Insider

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