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Drug overdose deaths only getting worse

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According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, drug overdose deaths have only gotten worse.

Deaths have risen for the 11th straight year. In 2010, there were 38,329 drug overdose deaths in the U.S.

Most of them were by accident and they involved painkillers.

Cynthia Kidd with Austin Recovery says since most people assume they are safe, they can easily lose control.

"I talk to a lot of clients that come in here. They tend to give me a big range. Not like, 'Well I was taking three a day' but 'Oh sometimes I take two, sometimes I take 15!' and I just think they think it's safe," Kidd said.

Kidd says many people do have a legitimate need for the medications in the beginning but they start taking more than they should.

"It's also very easy to get off the street as well as from friends and family members that may get prescribed it after surgery and have some left over and it's 'Oh hey, you're hurt? Here have one,'" Kidd said.

And she says it's not always the patient's fault. There are some un-ethical doctors who prescribe way more than they need to. "Pill mills" as they're called.

"It's such a market out there. You can make so much money prescribing these because you can charge a person $100 for a 15-minute visit, 'Ok what hurts?' and I'm writing you a prescription. So it's a great money-maker for people who just don't really care about practicing medicine ethically and just want to make a fast buck," Kidd said.

We also spoke with Dr. Hans Bengston with Austin Regional.

He's researched this subject for some time and he says surprisingly, this trend doesn't skew younger.

He's found those that have these issues are in their mid-40's to mid-50's.


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