Opiate Drug Abuse, Deaths Soar Along with Drug Company Profits

The number of people suffering, and all too often dying, from prescription drug abuse is staggering. And the epidemic is growing exponentially, fueled by the prevalence of opiate painkillers. Here's an overview on cause and prevention.

In April, musician and icon Prince died in his home from an accidental overdose of the prescription opioid fentanyl. In September, U.S. soccer superstar Abby Wambach revealed her long struggle with substance abuse and prescription drug addiction after an arrest for driving under the influence.

High-profile stories like these are waking up all Americans to an exploding public health crisis. Overdose deaths from prescription opiates have quadrupled since 1999, claiming the lives of an estimated 165,000 people. At the same time, sales of these prescription drugs have also quadrupled, generating record profits for drug companies.

Wading through the dangers of addiction while also dealing with serious pain can be an overwhelming challenge. You should know how to protect yourself and your loved ones from those who may have profits – not your well-being – as their top priority.