Fatal Drug ODs Rise 11th Straight Year
Prescription medications at core of problem
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 20, 2013 3:03 AM CST
Updated Feb 20, 2013 3:35 AM CST
OxyContin pills are arranged for a photo at a pharmacy in Montpelier, Vt. on Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013.   (Toby Talbot)

(Newser) – Fatal drug overdoses rose for the 11th straight year, federal data show, and most of them were accidents involving addictive painkillers despite growing attention to their risks. "The big picture is that this is a big problem that has gotten much worse quickly," said Dr. Thomas Frieden, head of the CDC. In 2010, the CDC reported, there were 38,329 drug overdose deaths nationwide. Medicines, mostly prescription drugs, were involved in nearly 60% of overdose deaths that year, overshadowing deaths from illicit narcotics.

As in previous recent years, opioid drugs—which include OxyContin and Vicodin—were the biggest problem, contributing to three of four medication overdose deaths. Frieden said many doctors and patients don't realize how addictive these drugs can be, and that they're too often prescribed for pain that can be managed with less risky drugs. They're useful for cancer, "but if you've got terrible back pain or terrible migraines," using these addictive drugs can be dangerous, he said. Anti-anxiety drugs including Valium were among common causes of medication-related deaths, involved in almost 30% of them.

Copyright 2016 Newser, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. AP contributed to this report.

More From Newser
My Take on This Story
To report an error on this story,
notify our editors.
Fatal Drug ODs Rise 11th Straight Year is...
Show results without voting
You Might Like
Showing 3 of 48 comments
Feb 25, 2013 7:23 AM CST
People need to wake the f*** up!! This IS a huge problem here in the USA. 80% of the worlds narcotic pain killers are consumed by the USA. EIGHTY PERCENT!! They are prescribing OxyContin for period cramps under the false pretense that its "less addicting than Percocet" which is completely untrue! I know several people over the last 10 yrs that have overdosed on oxy and Xanax. Both together and separately. These were good people who did not intentionally misuse or abuse the medication they were prescribed. I know several others who like I said were given such a powerfully addictive opiate pain killer such as OxyContin for things such as period cramps and were addicted before they knew what hit them. As bad as they may be for whatever the medical reason the long term effects of this medication is far worse than the reason for taking them to begin with. The pharmaceutical companies have their grubby hands so far up the Feds ass that this problem may never be rectified. Greedy pharma companies ARE the cause of this. They offer cushy perks for dr's who prescribe the deadly drug. IE trips to the Caribbean for "conventions" you unknowingly get physically addicted and then find out that the only way to get off of them is to go on another dangerous life altering drug such as suboxone or methadone. The money they are making off of this is sick. they profit on so many different levels. This is a huge problem and america needs to open its eyes and minds and get cracking to try to stop this!! Those of you who are joking and making derogatory comments are just plain ignorant and ill informed. Being ill informed is another issue plaguing the USA.....
Feb 24, 2013 1:57 PM CST
Do more people die from Alcohol abuse or Pain Pills?
Feb 24, 2013 1:52 PM CST
But Xanax is safe right?