Painkiller Deaths Drop for First Time since 1999

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On October 15, 2014, USA Today featured an article that highlights the decrease in prescription painkiller deaths according to new CDC data. ONDCP Acting Director Michael Botticelli cited the data as “encouraging news after many years of really grim news.”

In 2012, the latest year available, deaths from prescription painkillers dropped 5% to 16,007, according to CDC data made public Wednesday by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. Deaths from all categories of prescription drugs dropped 3%, the data shows.

The new data show promising signs on reducing prescription drug deaths, but there is still more work to do. Drug poisoning deaths involving heroin in 2012 increased 35 percent to 5,927 from 4,397 in 2011.

The 2011 Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Plan expanded upon the Administration’s National Drug Control Strategy and included action in four major areas to reduce prescription drug abuse. ONDCP Acting Director Botticelli encourages all to “continue efforts to prevent prescription drug and heroin overdoses through timely access to evidence-based treatment, physician education, prescription drug monitoring, proper medication disposal and effective enforcement.”

Please visit USA Today to read the full article.