World’s worst medical tradeoff
The use and misuse of pain-killing opiate drugs in the United States may have reached epidemic levels. Since the beginning of this century the domestic sales of such medications have tripled, with a record 254 million prescriptions for opioids having been filled in 2010 alone, an amount sufficient to medicate every adult in America 24 hours a day for thirty days. Particularly striking is the fact that production of one of the most abused pain medications, Oxycodone, has skyrocketed from 8.3 tons in 1997 to 105 tons in 2011, an increase of 1200 percent. Deaths due to overdose from prescription painkillers have more than tripled in the past ten years and now total about 15,000 per year. The data was compiled by advocates of medicinal marijuana as a safe, alternative pain medication.