Backstory: Prescription Painkiller Addiction
Thursday, May 26, 2011
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there has been a tenfold increase in prescriptions for opioids like OxyContin in the U.S. since 1990, and during that time the number of accidental deaths from drug overdose have nearly quintupled. In a growing number of states, unintentional overdoses replaced motor-vehicle incidents as the leading cause of accidental death. New York Times reporter Sabrina Tavernise discusses the factors behind prescription painkiller abuse, how these controlled substances are readily accessible to so many, new legislation aimed at curbing the problem, and why prescription pill abuse is so prevalent in Appalachia.