Painkiller Sales Exploding in New Parts of US

Pharmacies sold equivalent of 69 tons of pure oxycodone in 2010
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 5, 2012 1:10 PM CDT
Painkiller Sales Exploding in New Parts of US
Map shows an AP analysis of Drug Enforcement Administration data highlighting the increased use of the addictive pain killer oxycodone across the US from 2000 to 2010.   (AP)

Prescription painkiller addiction is a problem that's only getting uglier, reports the AP after analyzing a slew of DEA and pharmaceutical figures. The report focuses on sales of America's leading two prescription painkillers: oxycodone (the key ingredient in OxyContin, Percocet, and Percodan) and hydrocodone (Vicodin, Norco, and Lortab). Among its more stunning findings:

  • Addiction, long rooted in Appalachia and tony suburbs, has begun to spread well beyond those two centers; hydrocodone sales are specifically increasing in the Midwest

  • Between 2000 and 2010, oxycodone sales have jumped sixteenfold in some areas
  • There were 14,800 overdose deaths from opioid painkillers (that includes oxycodone and hydrocodone) in 2008; the CDC expects the toll to keep rising
  • In 2010, pharmacies doled out the equivalent of 69 tons of pure oxycodone and 42 tons of pure hydrocodone
  • Put another way: That's enough to give 40 5-mg Percocets and 24 5-mg Vicodins to every single US resident
(More Oxycodone stories.)

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