Death by painkiller overdose isn’t just the plight of celebrities; it’s a widespread epidemic, according to a new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The report shows that 40 people die per day from overdosing on prescription narcotics like hydrocodone (Vicodin), methadone, oxycodone (OxyContin), and oxymorphone (Opana). That’s more than the total death toll from heroin and cocaine combined.
Among the study’s most shocking stats are:
- In the U.S., 40 people die per day from prescription painkiller overdose.
- The highest state death rate from overdoses 27 deaths per 100,000 people in New Mexico.
- 1 in 12 people aged 12 and older reported non-medical use of prescription painkillers in Oklahoma (the state with the highest rate); the lowest rate was 1 in 30 in Nebraska.
Gil Kerlikowske, Director of National Drug Control Policy, says:
Prescription drug abuse is a silent epidemic that is stealing thousands of lives and tearing apart communities and families across America.
Health care providers and patients should be educated on the risks of prescription painkillers. And parents and grandparents can take time today to properly dispose of any unneeded or expired medications from the home and to talk to their kids about the misuse and abuse of prescription drugs.