Prescription Drug Abuse Deaths Increasing

It’s easy to believe that prescription drug abuse is strictly a celebrity problem.

Every day, news anchors report another celebrity has entered rehab, failed their court-ordered drug test or even died.

But the problem reaches far beyond the hills of Hollywood.

Indeed, the number of deaths from overdosing on prescription painkillers such as hydrocodone, methadone, oxycodone and oxymorphone has more than tripled in the last 10 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

More than 40 people die every day from overdoses that involve narcotic pain relievers, the CDC analysis shows.

“Overdoses involving prescription painkillers are at epidemic levels and now kill more Americans than heroin and cocaine combined,” said CDC Director Thomas Friedman in a news release. “States, health insurers, health care providers and individuals have critical roles to play in the national effort to stop this epidemic of overdoses while we protect patients who need prescriptions to control pain.”

To combat prescription drug abuse, federal health authorities are urging health care providers to educate their patients on the risks of taking these drugs.

“Prescription drug abuse is a silent epidemic that is stealing thousands of lives and tearing apart communities and families across America,” said Gil Kerlikowske, director of National Drug Control Policy.

Parents and grandparents should dispose of any expired medications or unneeded painkillers, Kerlikowske said. They should also make sure their children know the dangers of misusing and abusing prescription drugs.

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