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Pain Medicine Doctors Reducing Prescription Opioid Deaths

Reducing Prescription Opioid Deaths

The prescription drug addiction problem in the United States has become an epidemic, and deaths connected to overdoses from prescription painkillers are getting scrutiny from pain medicine physicians across the country. According to the Food and Drug Administration, in 2002, 29 million Americans abused opioids including oxycodone, morphine and methadone. While many people genuinely need opioids to control their chronic pain, it is a class of drugs that is highly addictive. The number of Americans abusing opioids increased in 2007 to more than 33 million people. It is estimated that in 2006, almost 50,000 visits to the hospital emergency room were connected to the abuse of prescription painkillers. “Preventing unnecessary deaths from opioid therapy should be a central focus for everyone working in the field of pain medicine,” said Dr. Lynn R. Webster, an officer for the American Academy of Pain Medicine. “Our primary objective is to increase understanding of the major risk factors associated with opioid-related deaths and exploring methods that mitigate the adverse effects involved in treating patients with analgesics that are potentially lethal.”

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