TIME Addiction

America Has a Painkiller Problem, CDC Says

A new CDC report shows some states prescribe more painkillers than others

In the United States, 46 people die from an overdose of prescription painkillers every day, according to a recent report from the CDC.

The report, which looked at opioid prescriptions in the U.S. found that physicians wrote 259 million prescriptions for painkillers in 2012, which is enough for every adult in the U.S. to have a bottle of pills. The states with the highest number of painkiller prescriptions are in the South. The CDC reports that in 2012, health care providers in the states with the highest number of painkiller prescriptions wrote nearly three times as many prescriptions per person as the state with the lowest number.

The number of prescriptions are very alarming, considering that the high prescriptions is linked to more deaths from overdose.

CDCIMS, National Prescription Audit (NPATM), 2012
CDCSOURCES: NY, TN: PDMP Center of Excellence at Brandeis University, 2014. FL: Vital Signs Mortality and Morbidity Weekly Report, July 1, 2014.

The CDC says states should increase use of prescription drug monitoring programs that track painkiller prescriptions by state. ProPublica has created a database that shows the doctors and providers who prescribe the most painkillers.

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