War on painkillers: Oxycodone now is deadliest US drug-abuse problem 

WHAT: The federal government has set the first nationwide strategy to combat abuse of oxycodone and related opioids. These highly addictive prescription painkillers kill more people than heroin and cocaine combined — topping 1.2 million emergency room overdose treatments in 2009.

WHERE: Illegal “pill mill” clinics in Florida prescribe 85 percent of all oxycodone pills in the nation. Many of those end up along the East Coast and in Appalachia, where people take buses dubbed the “OxyContin Express” to Florida just to get pills.

HOW: Abusers crush the painkillers and sniff or inject them, producing a euphoric heroin-like high. Overdose deaths from painkillers have nearly tripled — from fewer than 4,000 in 2000 to more than 11,000 in 2007, the most recent statistics available.

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Staff Report

Staff Report

A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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