"RECENTLY I MET a man in Phoenix who told me that being diagnosed with cancer had made him happy. “How could this be?” I asked him. He told me having cancer meant he would likely need surgery, which in turn meant more prescriptions for the pain pills to which he had become addicted. He had started using prescription painkillers when he was young. Over the years, addiction hijacked his brain, compromising his health, altering his reasoning, and leaving broken relationships and deferred dreams in its wake.
Nearly 2 million people in America are addicted to prescription painkillers, also known as opioids. Every day, 41 people die from a prescription opioid overdose — a four-fold increase since 1999. In the same time period, the amount of prescription opioids sold in the United States has also quadrupled, with no improvement in the overall pain Americans report. Prescription opioid addiction is now contributing to increased heroin use and the spread of HIV and hepatitis C."
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