“Pain Killers May Make Things Worse”
Americans are hooked. Americans consume 80% of the world’s pain pills. Narcotic overdose deaths now surpass deaths from murders and fatal car accidents. OxyContin has become the most widely prescribed, abused, and profitable narcotic in history, raking in more than $31 billion from OxyContin sales. The FDA has approved the narcotic painkiller OxyContin for pediatric use, saying it is safe for children as young as eleven. According to the NIH, approximately 2.1 million Americans are struggling with an addiction to prescription painkillers. Purdue, OxyContin’s manufacturer, tried to convince physicians that OxyContin was the new “miracle pill” and in 2007, Purdue pled guilty to deceptive marketing and was fined $600 million. Yet, in 2013, the FDA allowed the release of a new version of the drug. OxyContin has proved to be a gateway drug to heroin and leads millions down the tragic path of heroin addiction, methadone dependence, overdose and death. In 2013, about 23,000 Americans died from overdosing on prescription drugs (especially the elderly), and painkillers accounted for about 16,000 of those deaths. In Alabama, which has the highest opioid prescription rate in the U.S., 143 prescriptions are written for every 100 people.