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Painkiller Overdose Deaths on the Rise in the United States

Prescription painkillers are now responsible for more drug overdose deaths than any other type of drug, according to a recent report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The surge in drug overdose deaths in the U.S. has garnered a great deal of media attention as more and more public officials and experts recognize the scope of the problem. In fact, Chuck Rosenberg, the acting administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), issued a statement in which he declared that “overdose deaths, particularly from prescription drugs and heroin, have reached epidemic levels.”

The reports revealed that, in 2014, the overall number of painkiller-related overdose deaths rose by nearly 10 percent, a trend that CDC Director Tom Frieden finds “alarming.” Whether it’s the use of oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine or some other kind of narcotic pain medication, the effects can be devastating when painkiller use turns into drug abuse.

While prescription drug overdose deaths are trending in the wrong direction, there has been a decline among prescription drug abusers in the United States. The total number of individuals who continue to abuse prescription drugs, however, remains incredibly high. Moreover, any minor decrease in the number of prescription drug users has corresponded with a resulting increase in the number of people who use heroin.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse compiled the results of three recent studies and found that “nearly half” of young people who end up using heroin reported that they first became hooked on drugs by using prescription opioids. One of the reasons for the smooth transition from prescription drug abuse to heroin abuse is that heroin is often cheaper and far easier to obtain than many prescription opioids. On average, heroin costs one-fifth as much as prescription opioids, according to another report issued by the CDC.

When prescription drug use leads to heroin use, the results can be deadly. Nearly one-quarter of all people who use heroin eventually become dependent on the illegal drug, according to surveys conducted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Illegal possession of prescription drugs is a very serious drug crime that carries stiff penalties in New Jersey. Even if you are caught with just a single painkiller not prescribed to you, you could be looking at serious prison time. That’s why it is imperative that you have a qualified attorney on your side before you say anything to law enforcement.

For more information about the scary trend in painkiller overdose deaths, read the article, “One Type of Legal Drug is Killing Far More People than Heroin – and Deaths Just Hit Record Numbers.”


If you were arrested for prescription drug possession, heroin possession, simple possession of marijuana or any other drug crime in New Jersey, you need to contact a skilled criminal defense lawyer immediately. The knowledgeable criminal defense attorneys at Bramnick, Rodriguez, Grabas, Arnold & Mangan, LLC can help you beat your charges and stay out of jail. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation about your case.

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