A new study has found that 52% of respondents believe doctors should face limits in prescribing potentially addictive pain medications. The survey, conducted by advocacy coalition Research!America, identified widespread anxiety about prescription pain medications, with 85% of respondents expressing concerns that the drugs can be misused. In addition, nearly 50% described prescription drug addiction as a major U.S. health problem, while 63% said they know someone who has taken prescription medication to cope with severe pain, the study found.
Drug fatalities increased 3% in 2010, driven largely by prescription painkillers such as OxyContin and Vicodin. The latest numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that overdose deaths involving prescription painkillers rose to 16,651 in 2010, comprising 43% of all fatal overdoses.