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Americans concerned about prescription painkiller addiction

Staff writer |
Most Americans are concerned about the abuse of narcotic painkillers, despite widespread use of these legal medications, new research suggests.

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About one in four Americans reported taking a prescription painkiller - such as hydrocodone (Vicodin) or oxycodone (Percocet, Oxycontin) - within the past year, the study said.

Around 70 percent of Americans said they've been prescribed narcotic painkillers at some point in their life. And almost 20 percent admit they've taken painkillers prescribed for someone else, the study revealed.

At the same time, however, the researchers found that almost 60 percent of Americans believe abuse of these medications is a significant public health concern. That's similar to Americans' views on other public health concerns such as gun violence and tobacco use, the researchers said.

In 2012, drug overdoses, primarily involving prescription painkillers, surpassed car crashes to become the leading cause of injury death, the researchers said. In addition, costs related to abuse of these drugs is estimated to be around $50 billion a year.

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