Prescription Drugs Now Kill More People In The US Than Heroin And Cocaine Combined

50 Oxycodone pills

Photo: Flickr/Be.Futureproof

Prescription opioid painkillers are responsible for more fatal overdoses in the U.S. than heroin and cocaine combined, according to a new study out of Brandeis University.Opioid painkillers include prescription narcotics such as like Vicodin (hydrocodone), OxyContin (oxycodone), Opana (oxymorphone) and methodone.

“An epidemic of prescription drug abuse is devastating American families and draining state and federal time, money and manpower,” Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.), chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, said in a press release.

The authors recommended that prescription drug monitoring programs “shift from a reactive to a proactive approach” by actions such as collecting prescribing data for all controlled substances, sending alerts about possible abuse to physicians and pharmacists, analysing trend data to help law enforcement agencies identify “pill mills” that illicitly distribute prescription painkillers.

Below is a presentation from the Pew Health Group (which funded the study) that lays out the extent of the problem:

pew

Photo: DEA, 2010

pew

Photo: centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

pew

Photo: CDC

pew

Photo: CDC

pew

Photo: CDC

pew

Photo: CDC

pew

Photo: CDC

pew

Photo: CDC

pew

Photo: CDC

pew

Photo: CDC

pew

Photo: CDC

SEE ALSO: Maps Of Illegal Drug Use Around The World >

NOW WATCH: Briefing videos

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.