Painkiller Overdose ‘Epidemic’ Hits United States

pillsBig Pharma is rendering the street-corner drug pushers of our childhoods obsolete. AFP reports:

The United States is facing an epidemic of lethal overdoses from prescription painkillers, which have tripled in the past decade and now account for more deaths than heroin and cocaine combined.

The quantity of painkillers on the market is so high that it would be enough for every American to swallow a standard dose of Vicodin every four hours for one full month, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“The unfortunate and in fact shocking news is that we are in the midst of an epidemic of prescription drug overdose in this country. It is an epidemic but it can be stopped,” said CDC chief Thomas Frieden. “Now the burden of dangerous drugs is being created more by a few irresponsible doctors than by drug pushers on street corners.”

The CDC Vital Signs report focused on opioid pain relievers, including oxycodone, methadone and hydrocodone, better known as Vicodin, which have quadrupled in sales to pharmacies, hospitals and doctors’ offices since 1999.

Last year, 12 million Americans reported taking prescription painkillers for recreational uses, not because of a medical condition.

The epidemic is at its height among middle-aged white men, age 35-54, and American Indians or Alaska natives, the CDC said.

Rural and poor areas tend to have the highest prescription drug overdose death rates, and the severity of the problem varies widely from state to state. The drugs are highly addictive and people can build up tolerance quickly.

26 Comments on "Painkiller Overdose ‘Epidemic’ Hits United States"

  1. Anonymous | Nov 2, 2011 at 3:57 pm |

    IT’S AN EPIDEMIC

    WE NEED A PAINKILLER VACCINE

  2. Anonymous | Nov 2, 2011 at 3:57 pm |

    IT’S AN EPIDEMIC

    WE NEED A PAINKILLER VACCINE

  3. JoiquimCouteau | Nov 2, 2011 at 11:57 am |

    IT’S AN EPIDEMIC

    WE NEED A PAINKILLER VACCINE

  4. DeepCough | Nov 2, 2011 at 5:21 pm |

    Hey, so what if there’s an epidemic? This creates jobs by necessitating the need for useless drug counselors who will keep people in a perpetual cycle of rehab/relapse–this is Capitalism at its finest.

  5. DeepCough | Nov 2, 2011 at 1:21 pm |

    Hey, so what if there’s an epidemic? This creates jobs by necessitating the need for useless drug counselors who will keep people in a perpetual cycle of rehab/relapse–this is Capitalism at its finest.

    • Anarchy Pony | Nov 2, 2011 at 3:02 pm |

      Creating huge cycles of unnecessary co dependence on artificial problems and their solutions is the capitalist way.

  6. Mr Willow | Nov 2, 2011 at 6:31 pm |

    It appears the pain of life is becoming unbearable. . . 

  7. Mr Willow | Nov 2, 2011 at 2:31 pm |

    It appears the pain of life is becoming unbearable. . . 

  8. justagirl | Nov 2, 2011 at 6:58 pm |

    pleeze.  i am having a pain killer underdose because of these idiots.

  9. justagirl | Nov 2, 2011 at 2:58 pm |

    pleeze.  i am having a pain killer underdose because of these idiots.

    • tadsagendorf | Nov 3, 2011 at 4:32 pm |

      I agree. It’s very frustrating how difficult it has become to manage real injury pain because of these abusers. Seriously, I feel like a criminal every time I go to the pharmacy with all the ID checks and whatnot. Next will I have to carry a folder full of MRIs?

  10. Anti-Citizen1 | Nov 2, 2011 at 7:02 pm |

    Creating huge cycles of unnecessary co dependence on artificial problems and their solutions is the capitalist way.

  11. Cerebralsubversion | Nov 2, 2011 at 7:55 pm |

    Clearly it’s time to up the fight against medicinal marijuana. Clearly.

  12. Cerebralsubversion | Nov 2, 2011 at 3:55 pm |

    Clearly it’s time to up the fight against medicinal marijuana. Clearly.

    • Clearly it’s pretty obvious now why there is the big fight against medical marijuana. Legalised and taxed at 100% it would likely cost less than a couple of hundred dollars a year and that’s with full time use.
      Want to save money, you can easily grow your own, now that’s a huge threat to pharmaceutical profits, it appears Uncle Tom Obama as his focus on corporate profits and the other 99% can just suffer.
      Next time a politician brags about how good corporate profits are, just remember those profits are coming out of your pocket and that burner’s on double extra high as your earning less and paying more, woohoo, let’s see that next psychopath brag about how they a screwing over 99% of the voters to fund campaign contributions from the 1%.

  13. seriously .. wtf .. you pitched this as “BIG PHARMA” but its irresponsible prescribing by physicians .. check yourselfs DisInfo .. 

  14. seriously .. wtf .. you pitched this as “BIG PHARMA” but its irresponsible prescribing by physicians .. check yourselfs DisInfo .. 

  15. something different | Nov 3, 2011 at 6:35 am |

    umm companies pay doctors off bro. 

  16. something different | Nov 3, 2011 at 6:35 am |

    I got a pain killer overdose… In my pants 

  17. something different | Nov 3, 2011 at 2:35 am |

    I got a pain killer overdose… In my pants 

  18. I agree. It’s very frustrating how difficult it has become to manage real injury pain because of these abusers. Seriously, I feel like a criminal every time I go to the pharmacy with all the ID checks and whatnot. Next will I have to carry a folder full of MRIs?

  19. I agree. It’s very frustrating how difficult it has become to manage real injury pain because of these abusers. Seriously, I feel like a criminal every time I go to the pharmacy with all the ID checks and whatnot. Next will I have to carry a folder full of MRIs?

  20. Anonymous | Nov 4, 2011 at 5:56 am |

    Clearly it’s pretty obvious now why there is the big fight against medical marijuana. Legalised and taxed at 100% it would likely cost less than a couple of hundred dollars a year and that’s with full time use.
    Want to save money, you can easily grow your own, now that’s a huge threat to pharmaceutical profits, it appears Uncle Tom Obama as his focus on corporate profits and the other 99% can just suffer.
    Next time a politician brags about how good corporate profits are, just remember those profits are coming out of your pocket and that burner’s on double extra high as your earning less and paying more, woohoo, let’s see that next psychopath brag about how they a screwing over 99% of the voters to fund campaign contributions from the 1%.

  21. Where I live now (Massachusetts) 70-80% of the kids (being 16-29) in my neighborhood are doing OC (Oxycodone) as a recreational drug. I know about 30% of them already have or are going to try heroin. 

    It’s really really sad. 🙁

  22. Where I live now (Massachusetts) 70-80% of the kids (being 16-29) in my neighborhood are doing OC (Oxycodone) as a recreational drug. I know about 30% of them already have or are going to try heroin. 

    It’s really really sad. 🙁

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