We already knew that opiate painkillers like OxyContin, Vicodin and hydrocodone are responsible for killing more Americans than cocaine or heroin, and that prescription drug abuse kills more people under the age of 34 every year than car crashes. Now, research shows that prescription opiates also kill more people than skin cancer, alcoholic liver disease and HIV, according to a new study published in the British Medical Journal. The number of deaths associated with opioid analgesics tripled between 1999 and 2007, increasing from 4,041 to 14,459, the authors of the study found.
It’s interesting to note how long it takes a trend to be defined as an epidemic. But with these kinds of statistics, it’s pretty hard to ignore the toll prescription drugs are taking on our society.