Report identifies 75% spike in painkiller abuse since 2002

Addiction to prescription painkillers increased by nearly 75 percent between 2002 and 2010, particularly among men ages 18 to 49, according to a new report.

The report found that annually, 4.6 million people take painkillers for more than 30 days and almost 1 million use the drugs for nonmedical reasons for more than 200 days.

The finding implies that each of the 257 million opioid prescriptions dispensed in the United States annually contributes on average to more than two days of nonmedical use, according to the report.

Prescription painkillers are responsible for around 15,000 deaths and 475,000 emergency room visits a year, killing more people than car accidents, according to a separate report by the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

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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