Prescription Painkillers More Lethal Than Illegal Drugs

It's not surprising to learn opioid prescription painkillers -- think morphine, methadone and hydrocodone -- are more deadly than heroin or cocaine when abused, but the source of the study is: The CDC. In fact, as sales of opioids have increased, so have the number of deaths.

The numbers paint a stark picture of the problem:

  • Unintentional drug poisonings more than tripled between 1990-2002 to 18 percent versus 5 percent during the previous dozen years.
  • Deaths blamed on abusing opioid drugs between 1999-2002 exploded by 91 percent.
  • Opioid deaths dwarfed that of heroin (12 percent) and cocaine (22 percent).

Although accompanying comments by other researchers caution patients against being overly concerned about these numbers, fact is, prescription and over-the-counter drugs kill more people every year than those who die from illegal drug use combined. And, deaths blamed on prescription drugs tend to rise at the beginning of each month by as much as 25 percent.

If you want to treat your pain and your body safely, I urge you to review a recent article I posted about the array of options at your disposal.

Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety July 24, 2006

Yahoo News July 24, 2006

Science Daily July 24, 2006

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