Painkiller overdose deaths reach 15,000 a year in U.S.

Nearly 40 Americans die per day from overdoses of prescription painkillers like OxyContin and Vicodin, according to a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The number of deaths represents a three-fold increase over the past decade, and opioid pain relievers now account for more overdose deaths than heroin and cocaine combined, the report found. In addition, in 2010 alone, there were enough painkillers prescribed to supply every American with a one-month supply, the agency says.

Click here for a CDC podcast on prescription painkiller overdoses in the U.S., here for a CDC fact sheet on prescription drug abuse, or here for a CDC policy brief on the issue.

About Erin Marie Daly

I’m a freelance journalist based in San Francisco. My book on prescription drug and heroin addiction was published in August 2014 by Counterpoint Press.
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