Doctors wrote 259 million prescriptions for opioid painkillers in 2012, enough for every single adult in America to have a bottle of pills, according to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Opioid pain killers include drugs like Vicodin, OxyContin, Opana and methadone.
Head of the CDC, Dr. Tom Frieden says that is too many, and where you live seems to make a difference.
Frieden says doctors in the south write the most prescriptions for painkillers. Alabama, Tennessee and West Virginia prescribe the most pain pills per person according to the CDC.
“Many of the states with high rates are ones that have the most serious problems with opium overdoses,” he comments.
Over the past ten years we have seen a dramatic increase in the use of painkillers. It's being called an epidemic.
"If we’re not careful the treatment can quickly become the problem', says Frieden.
Higher prescribing of painkillers is a serious problem because it's associated with more overdose deaths. The CDC says about 46 people die each day from overdosing on painkillers.