Al Jazeera: Fatal overdoses from painkillers have reached epidemic levels, exceeding heroin and cocaine overdoses combined.
High-income nations, such as the United States, United Kingdom and Australia, had the highest rates of abuse, 20 times greater than in the least impacted countries, according to The Lancet study.
Dr. Andrew Kolodny, president of Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing, told Al Jazeera that the United States is facing a dangerous epidemic of overdoses and addictions related to painkillers. "According to the CDC, this is the worst drug epidemic in U.S. history," he said. "CDC has data demonstrating that around the same time doctors began aggressively prescribing these medications in the late 1990s, there have been parallel increases in rates of addiction."