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April 20th, 2011
11:45 AM ET

Addiction to prescription pain killers a growing trend in the U.S.

Drug overdoses between 1999 and 2006 have more than doubled, from 11,000 to 26,000. The heightened numbers are reportedly linked to prescription pain killers.

Dr. Kent Robertshaw of Columbia University talks to Kiran Chetry about the growing trend of prescription pain killer addiction in the U.S.


Filed under: Health • U.S.
soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. bonnie stonehouse

    thank you michelle brewster for your very relevant comment. i would like to add what about those of us(myself included)who suffer from intractable pain and without these narcotic pain medications have no quality of life-i do not like the fact that i depend on pain medicine but i am not ashamed of it=my doctor gave me back function and quality of life-chronic pain is severely under treated in a lot of cases; especially women; due to all the bad press-not everyone who takes these meds are out of control addicts! i resent chronic pain patients having to take the brunt of all of this.

    May 2, 2011 at 6:06 am |
  2. Michelle C. Brewster

    Hello. I am a physician from South Florida and do not fully agree with Dr. Kent Robertshaw who blames physicians for Americans being addicted to pain killers. He doesn't take into account, especially in South Florida, unfunded patients who do not have the funds to participate in other therapies that might help with pain and depend on these narcotics to function. Addtionally, Florida is a very litigious state and patients are demanding and sometimes will not leave the Emergency Room unless given narcotics and make threats of lawsuits. As well, most hospitals depend on funds from the Press-Ganey patient satisfactions scores which are hard to keep up if patients feel like their physicians are being "stingy" with the narcotics. I do agree that there needs to be better monitoring of narcotics being dispensed to patients but it is unfair to put the full blame on physicians for americans being addicted to narcotics.

    April 20, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  3. Tom Tucker

    My wife recently had a procedure done on her feet,She left the hospitol with a prescription for 30 Lortab 10. She had a follow up appointment with the doctor one week post op. She only took 3 of the pain pills so she had 27 that were wasted. My point is, the Doctor should have given her enough to make it to the follow up appointment and then evaluate her pain to determine if she needed more pain medication and why.

    April 20, 2011 at 5:07 pm |
  4. Double4Milwaukee

    Painkiller abuse is becoming an epidemic in Miwaukee. Most of my friends started out using them recreationally but eventually became addicted, myself included. It's surpassed weed as the drug of choice. In my case and many others, it's viewed as safe because it's prescribed by a doctor as medicine. But, the fact is it's legal heroin. It's so easy to get prescriptions to use or sell. And the way the price of pills purchased illegally keeps increasing, most addicts now view heroin as a cheaper, more effective alternative. I'm proud to say I quit cold turkey and am one year clean. Take it from an addict, withdrawals suck. If you're determined to use drugs, just stick to weed.

    April 20, 2011 at 3:24 pm |