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Prescription Drug Abuse Sends More People to the Hospital

Emergency room visits related to the misuse or abuse of prescription drugs have nearly doubled in the last five years. There were roughly 1.2 million such visits to emergency rooms in 2009, compared to just 627,000 in 2004.

Emergency room visits caused by prescription drugs have actually exceeded those caused by illicit drugs for three consecutive years.

The New York Times reports:

"... [T]he number of people seeking treatment for addiction to painkillers jumped 400 percent from 1998 to 2008. And in a growing number of states, deaths from prescription drugs now exceed those from motor vehicle accidents, with opiate painkillers like Vicodin, Percocet and OxyContin playing a leading role."

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