Prevention News ( by Markham Heid

October 2, 2014

A class of powerful prescription painkillers called opioids—which includes name-brand drugs like Vicodin and OxyContin—comes with more risks than benefits, argues a new position paper in the journal Neurology.

In fact, the author of the paper refers to the rise in opioid use as “a national epidemic and public health emergency.”

A look at the statistics surrounding opioid use explains why experts are throwing around such alarming language: More people between the ages of 35 and 54 die each year from opioid poisoning or overdose than from firearm or motor vehicle accidents, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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