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Painkiller Sales Exploding in New Parts of US

Pharmacies sold equivalent of 69 tons of pure oxycodone in 2010
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 5, 2012 1:10 PM CDT

(Newser) – Prescription painkiller addiction is a problem that's only getting uglier, reports the AP after analyzing a slew of DEA and pharmaceutical figures. The report focuses on sales of America's leading two prescription painkillers: oxycodone (the key ingredient in OxyContin, Percocet, and Percodan) and hydrocodone (Vicodin, Norco, and Lortab). Among its more stunning findings:

  • Addiction, long rooted in Appalachia and tony suburbs, has begun to spread well beyond those two centers; hydrocodone sales are specifically increasing in the Midwest

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  • Between 2000 and 2010, oxycodone sales have jumped sixteenfold in some areas
  • There were 14,800 overdose deaths from opioid painkillers (that includes oxycodone and hydrocodone) in 2008; the CDC expects the toll to keep rising
  • In 2010, pharmacies doled out the equivalent of 69 tons of pure oxycodone and 42 tons of pure hydrocodone
  • Put another way: That's enough to give 40 5-mg Percocets and 24 5-mg Vicodins to every single US resident
(Read more Oxycodone stories.)

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