8M New Yorkers, 1M Oxycodone Prescriptions

Staten Island leads the way
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 16, 2011 1:01 PM CDT
Updated Mar 20, 2011 6:23 AM CDT
A file photo of the prescription medicine OxyContin.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – New York City's special narcotics prosecutor unveiled some eye-popping numbers about prescription drugs in the Big Apple, according to the Wall Street Journal:

  • One million prescriptions for the pain reliever oxycodone—the generic name for Oxycontin—were filled in 2010. That's enough for 1 in 8 residents of the five boroughs, or 13% of the population.
  • The percentage is 28% in Staten Island. Add in Vicodin, and it's 33%.
  • The 1 million figure has doubled since 2007.

"The public flat out needs to be better informed about how widespread the problem is and how dangerously addictive these substances are," said the prosecutor. "It's pure opium. And that's an addictive drug. It's nothing to be played with." Arrests related to prescription drugs made up 15% of her office's caseload last year, up from 6% in 2007. (Read more OxyContin stories.)

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