As of May 2012, Americans consume 80% of the world’s painkillers.
Abuse of these painkillers now kill more U.S. citizens than heroine and cocaine combined.
These two facts alone suggest that the war on conventional drugs is misguided.
And there’s much more evidence that painkiller abuse is now an full-blown epidemic in America.
If that doesn’t do it, here are some facts from a September 2012 Pew study that drew from data from the centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
Check out some of these facts from a Pew study last year that drew from data from the DEA and CDC:
- Sales of prescription painkillers to pharmacies and health crate providers have increased by more than 300% since 1999.
- In 2009, the number of people killed by drug poisoning — driven by large increases in painkiller abuse, surpassed motor vehicle fatalities for the first time.
- In 2010, more people aged 12 and older abused or were dependent on prescription painkillers than cocaine, heroin, stimulants, and sedatives combined.
- Deaths from prescription painkiller overdose in the U.S. have more than tripled between 1999 and 2008.
- In 2009, there were nearly 500,000 emergency room visits spurred by abuse of prescription painkillers.
- The annual cost to health insurers derived from the non medical use of prescription painkillers is $72.5 billion.
- In 2010, 1 in every 20 people in the U.S. age 12 and older reported using prescription painkillers nonmedically (i.e. 12 million, or more than the population of Ohio).
- “Overdoses involving prescription painkillers are at epidemic levels and now kill more Americans than heroin and cocaine combined.” – CDC Director Thomas Frieden, M.D., M.P.H.
Here are a couple of maps that break it down by state:
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