More painkiller deaths than heroin, cocaine ODs

Painkiller addiction is an epidemic in the United States, and recent research from McGill University paints some startling numbers: painkiller overdose deaths are more prevalent than heroin and cocaine overdoses combined.

For the first time, researchers performed a systematic review of existing research on the topic. The review comprised only scientific literature with quantitative evidence. The death rate from opioids has risen dramatically over the past two decades. Some of the contributing reasons behind this that researchers found include increased opioid prescriptions, stronger and longer-acting opioids, combined use of opioids and other substances, and social and demographic factors.

Contrary to media reports, the researchers found little evidence that online sales and doctor errors contributed a large part of the problem. Instead, they note it’s a complex system of the health care system, patients, doctors, and society that all work together in developing these ripe conditions for prescription abuse and addiction.

Researchers hope this information will bring more awareness to the epidemic and how best to tackle the problem.

NEXT: First kidney transplant: June 17, 1950

Sourced from:, Death by prescription painkiller?