Disabilities and Heavy-Duty Painkillers (USA Today)

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USA Today logoResearchers at The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy & Clinical Practice (TDI) have found that millions of Americans too disabled to work have been prescribed heavy-duty painkillers such as OxyContin and Vicodin, reports USA Today.

TDI researchers examined prescription records of more than 9 million Americans receiving Medicare benefits for muscle and joint pain and other ailments that keep them from working, USA Today writes.

“Almost half—over 40 percent—filled a prescription for opiates in a year, and one in five was filling six or more prescriptions per year,” says Ellen Meara, an economist and associate professor at TDI who helped lead the research.

And many of them, writes USA Today, take extremely high doses of the opiates. “The risks of dying are much higher when you start to exceed 100 mg of opioids a day,” Meara tells the newspaper.

Read the full story, published 8/15/14 by USA Today.