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Drug makers’ role in rising pain killer addiction

January 2, 2013

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December 31, 2012 An epidemic of addiction to prescription pain killers that’s more widespread than cocaine or heroin addiction has left nearly two million people in its grip, according to the Washington Post. “It turns out that the doctors didn’t know what they were talking about,” said a woman, whose daughter, a home-care nurse, died of an overdose of prescription pain killers. She began taking the pain killers after knee surgery. “[The daughter] trusted the doctors. We thought the doctors knew what was best. But they didn’t. We--and lots of the other victims--had no warning.” The official word on OxyContin, Vicodin, and Percocet used to be that they rarely posed problems of addiction. The label on these drugs said that the risks of addiction were “reported to be small.” The New England Journal of Medicine informed readers that studies indicated that such pain killers pose “a minimal risk of addiction.” Another important journal study, which the manufacturer of OxyContin reprinted 10,000 times, indicated that in a trial of arthritis patients, only a handful showed withdrawal symptoms. For years, doctors had been cautious about prescribing these pain killers to anyone except patients with cancer or acute pain, but a recent massive effort by pharmaceutical companies helped to reshape medical opinion and practice. If you or someone you love suffered a drug injury, the Ohio personal injury lawyers at Nurenberg, Paris, Heller & McCarthy may be able to help.

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