Think twice before writing that prescription for a pain-relieving opioid. That's the clear, strong message from the CDC in its attempt to curb the growing "epidemic" of pain killer abuse and opioid-related deaths.
According to CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., sales of opioids such as Vicodin, Oxycontin, and Percocet have quadrupled since 1999, accounting for 165,000 fatal overdoses during this time period, and now the cause of 40 deaths per day.
In an NBC news interview, Frieden said he was "stunned" to learn that "one out of every 32 patients given the highest doses of opiate drugs would die within two and a half years." More than 70 percent of patients who die from opioid-related deaths became addicted while being treated for chronic pain.