Deaths Tied to Painkillers Continue To Rise

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
March 30 2013 2:36 PM

Deaths Tied to Painkillers Continue To Rise

678211
Prescription painkillers such as OxyContin were largely responsible for an increase in drug-related deaths

Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images

In what amounts to a major disappointment for public health officials, deaths tied to abuse of prescription drugs continues to increase in the United States. The latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate that total drug fatalities increased 3 percent in 2010, reports the Los Angeles Times, noting that preliminary data from 2011 shows the trend has continued. Although the number reflects all drug-related deaths, the increase was in large part driven by prescription painkillers, such as OxyContin and Vicodin, which, accounted for 43 percent of all fatal overdoses in 2010.  

"While most things are getting better in the health world, this isn't," CDC director Tom Frieden said in an interview. "It's a big problem, and it's getting worse."

Advertisement

The new data comes at a time when the Food and Drug Administration is considering implementing new measures to decrease the use of painkillers for non-cancer patients.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.

TODAY IN SLATE

Jurisprudence

Scalia’s Liberal Streak

The conservative justice’s most brilliant—and surprisingly progressive—moments on the bench.

Colorado Is Ground Zero for the Fight Over Female Voters

There’s a Way to Keep Ex-Cons Out of Prison That Pays for Itself. Why Don’t More States Use It?

The NFL Explains How It Sees “the Role of the Female”

The Music Industry Is Ignoring Some of the Best Black Women Singing R&B

Culturebox

Theo’s Joint and Vanessa’s Whiskey

No sitcom did the “Very Special Episode” as well as The Cosby Show.

Television

The Other Huxtable Effect

Thirty years ago, The Cosby Show gave us one of TV’s great feminists.

Cliff Huxtable Explains the World: Five Lessons From TV’s Greatest Dad

Why Television Needs a New Cosby Show Right Now

  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 18 2014 8:20 PM A Clever Attempt at Explaining Away a Vote Against the Farm Bill
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 18 2014 6:02 PM A Chinese Company Just Announced the Biggest IPO in U.S. History
  Life
The Slate Quiz
Sept. 18 2014 11:44 PM Play the Slate News Quiz With Jeopardy! superchampion Ken Jennings.
  Double X
Doublex
Sept. 18 2014 8:07 PM Crying Rape False rape accusations exist, and they are a serious problem.
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 18 2014 1:23 PM “It’s Not Every Day That You Can Beat the World Champion” An exclusive interview with chess grandmaster Fabiano Caruana.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 18 2014 4:33 PM The Top 5 Dadsplaining Moments From The Cosby Show
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 18 2014 6:48 PM By 2100 the World's Population Could Be 11 Billion
  Health & Science
Science
Sept. 18 2014 3:35 PM Do People Still Die of Rabies? And how do you know if an animal is rabid?
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.